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Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Day 26: Cook Strait Crossing (Makara Beach to Capt. Cook’s monument, Ship Cove) & Ship Cove to Camp Bay

Start: Makara Beach (1,623km)
Finish: Camp Bay (1,724km)
Distance for the day: 101km
Cumulative distance: 1,724km

by Mark T

Jez's whoops of delight said it all as we paddled towards the beach in the beautiful Ship Cove at Captain Cook Monument on Sunday afternoon. A small crowd of cheering onlookers had gathered to applaud Jez as his kayak glided onto the sand.

We had left Makara Beach on the North Island at 5am, just as dawn was breaking.

It had taken 9 hours to paddle the 44km.

Our departure had been delayed by an unexpected deterioration in the weather on Saturday afternoon. Jez had triumphantly run the last 29k of the North Island on Saturday morning finishing at Island Bay, south of Wellington. He immediately ran into the sea to celebrate his remarkable achievement of 1623km in 25 days!

He then cycled up to Makara Beach on the West coast fully expecting to make the Cook Strait crossing that afternoon, having been encouraged by a promising forecast. However Jez's delight rapidly turned to great disappointment when Tim Taylor, our guide for the Crossing, told us that it would not be wise to do the crossing that afternoon due to a change in the forecast to 30 knot Northerly winds. The forecast for Sunday was no better but it was decided to stay near the beach overnight, to be ready to paddle before first light, & to set off if conditions allowed.

We were back to the kayaks at 4.20am &, in view of a better forecast, we departed full of optimism & anticipation.

We got off to a flying start with a flat sea, a following wind, & a beautiful dawn to witness. However, an easy first 2 hours was followed by a rapid change in wind direction & speed, & we found ourselves paddling into a strong headwind against the tidal flow. Cape Koamaru remained tantalisingly on the horizon & did not seem to get any closer over the next 2 hours! It was a case of grinding on.

Eventually we reached Arapawa Island on the north-east tip of the South Island &, landing for a short break after nearly 6 hours & 32km of paddling, we had successfully crossed the Strait. However we were still 12km short of our final destination. At that moment Tim received a gale warning for Cook Strait & we realised how fortunate we had been, but we wondered what the last leg of our journey would bring.

After 10 minutes on the beach we were back on the water & enjoyed 'rock-hopping' our way along under the cliffs to the Cape &, at last, we were able to turn into the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound.

To our delight we were greeted by a flat calm sea & we began to relax in the warm sunshine whilst trying to make out Captain Cook's Monument in the distance. However the wind was to return as a sudden squall blew up on our beam, testing us over the final kilometres.

The landing at Ship Cove was a huge moment for Jez as the Cook Strait crossing was the most unpredictable section of the whole trip, & it's successful completion was critical to Jez's dream of completing an end-to-end of New Zealand solely by human power.

Tim Taylor of http://nzkayaker.com/ was our guide for the Cook Strait crossing. He is perhaps New Zealand's foremost sea kayaker being the only person to have completed a full circumnavigation of the North & South Islands. His skill & judgement in deciding when to make the crossing was crucial to our success & we are very grateful to Tim.

We are also grateful to Bournemouth Canoes for supplying us with our excellent Werner paddles.


The temporally calmer waters of Queen Charlotte Sound

Tim and I

Pretty chuffed to be on South Island - dry land!

Captain Cook's monument - so much history to the location

Kissing dry land!


Mike W said...

What a fantastic paddle and I take my hat off to you guys , that long in a sea kayak with an endless horizon ,well done. Sounds lucky with the weather and I am so glad that it worked so that you could do what you had set out to do.
Mike W

Sue and Antonio said...

Very happy to read of your successful crossing. Congrats to you all! Sue and Antonio

Anonymous said...

Well done Team! That's a major part of the jigsaw cracked; don't take your eye off the ball though, plenty more ground to be covered.


Thomas said...

Congrats on all you've achieved so far,great effort and sounds like lots of fun.Enjoying your blog,keep it coming!!
Good luck for next stage
Stephen and Debs

Jessica Berlanga said...

Super! what a wonderful feeling it must be to have achieved the crossing on top of everything else you've done, thank you for sharing!

Jess from sunny Mexico