Monday, 1 October 2012

The Southern Scenic Route, Taieri Mouth to Bluff

Thought I'd put up a wee update on my paddle down from the Taieri to Bluff.  I was pretty excited about having more than one day off in a row but as it turned out it wasn't to be.  I only had one last day of NE before it was going to turn SW, so I dragged myself out of bed early and got back into it.  Eddy and his parents Barbara and Arthur came out to see me off.  I'm just gutted I couldn't have stayed longer.  I have met so many amazing people along the way who have in some ways all become a piece of this journey.  It's great to spend time with people with such a fresh and childish outlook on life (I mean that in a good way!!) So thanks :)
Me, Eddy, Arthur and Barbara White
Sunrise at the Taieri Mouth
I made good time down to Kaka Point, about 55km down the coast.  The 2ft high surf proved too much for me though and I took a roll!! the first roll I have taken since the West Coast, amateur!! I'm certain it was because my mum was there to meet me, the same thing happened the last time I saw her at Bruce Bay.  I must be intimidated by her stalker camera lens, nothing quite like installing her faith in my abilities haha.

The next day I paddled past Nugget Point, and for the next 12hrs pushed into a south westerly, a lovely Southland day in the rain and wind.  I arrived at Tautuku late in the day where I encountered a bunch of drunken loose units from Fonterra.. my advice is if you ever see a milk tanker, stay well clear!! It turns out Osama bin Laden is actually alive and drunk at Tautuku.. it was an entertaining evening, and I really was thankful for their hospitality.  One of the guys who they called Beagle used to commercially fish along the south coast, so he pointed out a bunch of good landing places on my maps- it's always good to get some local knowledge.  I had a hot shower and dried my paddling gear out over the fire as I listened to a couple of drunken fools having a sing along, pretty hilarious really.  They cooked a feed for dinner and it really was nice to sleep inside on a rainy night.  It was quite the experience.
A beautiful day in Southland
From Tautuku I paddled another long day and camped just past the lighthouse on Waipapa Point in view of Bluff and Stewart Island.  It was a clear night and I made a sweet fire on the beach and stayed up late, cooking some food over the fire and watching the stars.  It was a bit of a shame to blast through the Catlins but the weather was okay, and my mission was to get to Bluff before the weather turned.

Waipapa Point lighthouse in the distance
The next morning I got up late to try and get the tides right for the crossing to Bluff.  I practically straight lined it from Waipapa to Bluff, which put me way offshore for most of the day but it seemed worth it, a short cut is always good.  The hardest part of my day was getting into the harbour, there was quite a current and with so much kelp I could hardly paddle! Eventually I made it and just as I was pulling up on a beach I saw a lady running down the street waving at me.  She came down onto the beach and said "you must be Tara!" It was Meri Leask from Bluff Fisherman's Radio, the legend I had heard so much about.  I'd thought about talking to Meri before we set off on our trip but I decided it was best to wait till we had almost paddled the whole way round the island before we told her our intensions.  To the normal person, the idea of paddling a kayak up the Fiordland Coast does seem a bit daft.  But as it turned out she didn't give me a hard time at all, conveniently she had just gotten a message about a guy SWIMMING down the Fiordland Coast!! That was a few days ago and he made it as far as Sutherland Sound but got rescued today I just read on the net! haha.  I must have looked perfectly normal after this guy.  Meri really was lovely, and I left my boat at her place before heading into Invercargill with my folks.

It's looking like I'll be spending the week here as 35K Westerlys don't sound too much fun, maybe for kite flying but not for kayaking..  So from here my next stop will be Riverton, then across Te Waewae Bay to Port Craig before I shoot off round Puysegur Point into Preservation Inlet.  I'm excited about getting back into Fiordland, it's such a magical place.  At this stage I'm not real excited about finishing though, that means finding a job and living in the real world again.. so if anyones got a job for me, let me know! anywhere, UK, Canada, USA, Australia..

Will put up a post before I head off again, but at this stage its not looking nice for at least a week.. at least the days are longer now, a 6am start really doesn't seem that bad anymore!

:) Tara

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