It rained all night and when we woke up it was still raining. I poked my head outside the tent and could see the ocean was choppy and there were white caps as far as the eye could see. I could hear the wind whipping through the trees on our island, not the best day to be on the water. We snuggled in the tent, waiting for the rain to ease, by mid morning the showers seemed to have passed so we quickly got up and packed up camp. Thankfully we had set up the tarp above the tent last night so we had a dry tent, hurrah!
That was about the only dry thing however, we both cringed as we pulled on wet salty paddling clothes. We had the boats packed and on the water before midday, just before low tide. The wind behind us was pretty strong, about 10-15 knots, so we wouldn’t have a problem making good time!
We had been paddling for about 4 minutes when Ngaio got a wave over the front of her boat, soaking her from the chest down. The water is cold and the temperature is dropping every day, we try to stay as dry as we can but sometimes it’s out of our control. Choppy days make it almost impossible to stay dry as the water is coming over the boats all the time and soaking into our spray skirts. This is a big part of why we love flat calm days, because it means at the end of the day you will be dry!
We were about half way through the day when we spotted some particularly playful sea lions. They were up ahead of us, doing somersaults, throwing themselves sideways out of the water and zooming around play fighting and barking. As we got closer they turned their attention to us, diving right in front of the boats, swimming under us and chasing the boats. It seemed like the two playful ones were adolescent and there were two older ones who followed further back, barking occasionally. We decided they were a sea lion family who were out looking for lunch. It was a dark afternoon, thick clouds covered the sky making it feel late in the day. We both wanted to get out of the boats, we were cold and hungry and Ngaio was soaking wet. It was going to be a tricky night camping, we had to find a spot where we could land against the cliffs. It would need to have enough space for the tent and both the boats at high tide. We paddled on for another hour searching for a camp spot, I looked behind me to consider turning back when I saw we were being followed. About 20!curious seals had decided we were interesting enough and they were all silently swimming behind us. They looked so cute all with their eyes and nose poking out of the water like little hippos.
Ngaio pulled into a tiny bay and immediately beckoned me over. There was a fresh water stream trickling down from the cliffs and a big flat spot for the tent, perfect. It was just starting to get too late to be on the water, we both needed food and dry clothes.
We quickly set up camp, got dinner going and I lit a fire. It looks like we are in for another night of rain, fingers crossed the tent stays dry, and us!