Waking up feeling refreshed after yesterdays mammoth paddle was an all round bonus! Thankfully Jess stuck around and was prepared to help me suit up pre paddle as the whole sheep fat thing has made all my wetsuits pretty sticky and difficult to get in.
Yet again there was a solid southerly swell with south westerly winds, things looked to be in my favour! I could see the headland in the far north i was aiming to get to and around for the days paddle. I 100% know why Hat Head has the name it does… the headland is very much shaped like witches hat.
As i paddled closer to the headland the surf conditions began to change, the southerly angles were still very much there however the wind and swell both increased in size and strength substantially. There was a 3-4 metre swell with 25-30 knot wind gusts, putting yourself in my soggy shoes; imagine sitting in the middle of the ocean with howling winds coming from behind you strong enough to block out your hearing. Add some salt spray in your eyes, and turn your head every which way only to see walls of water surging towards you that resemble more of a mountain than a wave. This was my situation today! Apparently Tony my jet ski driver actually lost sight of me a few times amongst the giant swell lumps. Our tiny presence in the ocean caused some what of a stir, we had a whale watching boat drive past and check on us, closely followed by a fishing vessel that passed us, and turned back around to double confirm that were were ok. There is plenty of etiquette out there on the water which is beautiful and humbling!
Throughout the day i caught the swell north, most of the time i was successful and moved forwards at flying speeds while negotiating my balance on my board with the added weight of my water supplies, knife and safety devices. There were a few times i came un stuck and was thrown off my board altogether, but mostly i saved all the near spills and negotiated my way down the swell in an awkward unfashionable paddling manner.
Conditions were rough and forever challenging for the 6 hour straight paddle, yet again it was uplifting to get a visit from my giant sea bird friend as i paddled it was amazing to have him skim over me and fly around me with such grace. This continued on for some minutes and as i stopped and raised my arms towards him he simply flew right over my out stretched arms!
Tony had a fun day on the water too, he seemed to keep himself pretty busy keeping everyone on land up to date with my every outfit change and mood swing i went through! As my shoulders began to lock up later in the paddle i was lucky enough to get massages rather than simply snacks on my breaks! (such a win, but this is what enabled me to push on). As Tony and i sorted our selves to come to shore and negotiate the jet ski with the board and swell, he finally joined my exclusive club of ‘Shark Shield’ he had a shocker… quite literally he thought my shark deterrent device was off! (haha he only got a double zap unlike myself, i think I’ve maxed out with over 80 shocks to date)
There was also apparently whales… we didn’t see any, however people from the Hat Head headland said they watched a group of whales split with two swimming over to Toni and I and then passing under us!