We woke early after a night of wind and rain. We were sheltered in our camp spot, but we had to move today as we had run out of fresh water. San Josef Bay was where we were headed as it was only 5km away and there was a river there. I had spent the evening on the marine radio, listening to the weather, I also got messages from my dad in NZ. We had a small window in the morning to make the paddle before the winds and swell picked up any more! We were packed and on the water at 0830. I knew this was going to be tough but I knew we could do it and get there safely.
The winds were stronger than yesterday and it was much choppier with white caps and swell. It had picked up earlier than the forecast had predicted, when we got to the end of the bay I asked Ngaio if she was prepared for another hour of this kind of paddling or if she needed to turn back, she said she could keep going but that she was scared. I can’t really explain the feeling I got when she said that, seeing her so vulnerable and not being able to make her feel safe, even though I knew she was, it was hard.
We made our way toward the headland across the bay, the conditions were the most challenging we had faced and they were only going to get worse. After 40 minutes of tough paddling I could see Ngaio was dropping back, I could also see she was getting pushed by the wind. I decided to add my tow line to her boat to keep her on tack and hopefully give her some confidence in these crappy conditions. When I got to her I could see in her eyes she was terrified, she was trembling and panicked. I attached my tow line and paddled as hard as I could, Ngaio was doing the same. Unfortunately during the towing, I shattered my phone screen, Not the end of the world but it’s a pain in my butt!
Eventually we made it to the blissful calm of the bay. It was like heaven. There were even our favourite otters there to greet us. We paddled into San Josef Bay hungry, thirsty and tired. Our 5km paddle which should have taken an hour took us almost three! The bay was beautiful and there were small sheltered campsites dotted along the beach. We kayaked up the tidal river to find fresh water. We went up stream for about 40 minutes, met some friendly campers and were treated to some beautiful views up the river. Thick trees and bush lined the waters edge, green and lush showing no signs of autumn. We filled our water supply and headed back to the beach to set up camp. We found a sheltered camp next to some friendly Canadians who had been hiking the North Coast trail. Later that night we had two more people join the camp. It was great to meet some new people and to hear and share stories.
GPS Tracker Tips - If you are following Brando & Ngaio on their TRACKME GPS tracker, here's a tip; Once you follow the link, click on the 'Brando & Ngaio' location icon and select 'path'
(If the Brando and Ngaio Icon does not show up on the map click the menu then participant list then 'show all')
(first two images and blog via satellite phone)