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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Half Way Round!
Saturday, March 08, 2008

Hello from the Fox Glacier!! Barry and I are being tourists for the day and loving every minute of it! We are both feeling quite tired from lots of paddling, making the most of good weather days and fate put an offer too tempting to refuse into our hands today.

We arrived at Hunts Beach last night an hour before sun set, tired, a bit wet and cold, not looking forward to putting the tent up and cooking as it got dark. We walked up to the nearby houses and asked for some water and were whisked inside. As I filled the water bottles, we were offered 'the better water' ( the brown, fizzy kind in a bottle), and then we were told the family had some left over roast dinner and we should help ourselves to lamb, potatoes, pumpkin and other veg. We had a great evening chatting to 3 families and eating delicious fresh food. Later, their neighbour, called 'Whiskers' for obvious reasons invited us back to his house to sleep for the night, an offer we gratefully accepted. He also offered us use of his car today so we could drive up to Fox Glaicer, buy groceries, and chill out. The forecast was for a northerly picking up throughout the day so we gratefully accepted. In the end, the wind isn't very strong today and the swell is pretty low on a coastline with limited sheltered landing spots so perhaps we 'should have' paddled, but neither of us feels TOO guilty as we are not in a race or a rush and for us this trip is as much about meeting the people and experiencing the place as paddling our hearts out! Still, it's hard not to worry a bit about what tomorrow's weather will bring as it feels pretty serious paddling out here in potentially big swells, and strong winds which can pick up very quickly. But enough worrying, we're having a great time, eating lots and trying to build up our strength so we can do some more long days on the water ( to minimise the number of landings we have to do in surf and to make the most of good weather when it comes along). Plus it means we can have more days off to look around. We've now paddled over 1300km which we reckon is over half way - it certainly looks it on the map so that's a great milestone.

So much has happened since we had internet access that it's hard to know where to start. We've had some tough paddling days in very strong winds - a couple of gusts that came out of Caswell Sound were the strongest winds I've ever been in, the air went white with spray and I couldn't see 10 metres away. It was side on and I had to brace to stay upright. Fortunately, the wind was gusting so we could paddle forwards and slightly in towards the sound when it eased slightly and we made it across the bay. the headwind getting into Dusky sound was also horrible, we were moving at less than 2km / hour and were exhausted when we arrived at Anchor island in some sort of shelter.

Arriving at Anchor island, we were surprised to see a small boat anchored up, thinking what on earth were they doing out in these winds! Unsurprisingly they said something similar to us when they spotted 2 kayakers! Rob, his son Simon and friends Doug and Alastair were on a boys adventure fishing and diving in Fjordland. They were great to us for 2 days, feeding us loads of seafood and taking us fishing when Barry caught his 15kg grouper. They thrust a huge saucepan full of crayfish legs in front of us while they filleted the grouper and said 'snack food'. Later came grouper, crayfish tails, and scallops! Thank you so much to them for looking after us and feeding Barry ( and me) up! One of the many times we thanked Rob for his kindness, he said told us a story of how someone was really kind to him once when he needed it and when he said 'what do I owe you?", the guy just said 'you owe me nothing. You owe someone else a favour". So the message was that we should help someone else out when they need it. ( Just don't all come knocking on my door at once, please!)

It was disapointing in many ways to paddle right past Milford Sound. We had intended to meet Barry's schoolfriend Ian there with a resupply but he had to work in the end so we had options. We were quite low on food but still had enough for a few days and as we approached the sound entrance the weather was really really good, and the next day's forecast was for a following sea. Having been stuck for quite a while in Fjordland we couldn't resist taking advantage of the good weather and we carried on. I've been to Milford before as a tourist and Barry was satisfied with the other sounds that we kayaked through that are less visited. Another benefit of this is that when we landed in Kaipo Bay that night we spotted a yellow plane and soon met it's owners, Lisa and Max. We offered them some crayfish that some fishermen had kindly given us ( thanks to the lads on the 'Southern legend') and they said they might be able to repay us with some venison later that evening. half an hour later we heard a shot and Max came back with the main course! He cooked us up some of the best fillet meat that evening over a wood fire and gave us a whole hind leg to take with us ( fortunately he chopped it up for us and we'd have struggled to fit it in a hatch!) We're still eating the venison for lunch and dinner every night and it's lovely!!

The main disadvantage of Ian not meeting us in Milford Sound was that he had our maps for the rest of the coastline. Thanks to Ian and Paul Caffyn for sorting something out - Ian posted our stuff to Paul and Paul very kindly drove down to Jacksons Bay with it to meet us. As we were paddling from Jacksons a northerly wind picked up and slowed our progress down to 4.5km/ hour and it was really hard work. We really didn't feel like working hard for so little reward ( we'd been surfing at 8.5km/ hour the day before!) and had decided to stop at the first opportunity when we saw a man on the beach dancing around with a red flag. We didn't know Paul was coming to meet up but we began to suspect something! The mysterious figure waved more frantically and pointed to a sheltered landing behind a rock. He then took his trousers off and waded into the water as I got closer. it was of course Paul, helping us to land and he brought us all our gear! Thank you so much to him.

We hope to get paddling again tomrrow. there's a southerly forecast although it's meant to be quite strong so we're a bit worried about surf landings which is the main danger on this coast as there are few sheltered places. we shall see! IN the meantime we have a glacier to visit and 'whiskers' has promised us roast pork tonight!! We cant' complain!!

Overall we're having a good time, it feels pretty gripping and serious at times, we're very tired some mornings ( and not much better in the evenings!), but it's satisfying and we're really enjoying the time on the land meeting people.


Blogger the old folks at home said...

Congrats on reaching your halfway mark, we thought it was getting close.Following your escapades is so exciting, it's just like reading a book, a couple of paragraphs each day. But today we've read a whole chapter.
What a smashing attitude Rob has, but I agree with you, you'll be in a right mess if all the people who have helped you along the way, come knocking on your door at the same time. Take care on your surf landings.
Love from the old folk xx

4:14 pm  
Blogger timnjac said...

Hi Justine and Barry.glad to hear you are being well looked after by the locals.all that food Barry will look like a puffball.New roof goes on tomorrow.

9:25 pm  

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