I woke up with a sense of deja vu as Nic comes bursting into my room with the daily bowl of concrete porridge and comical jokes.
Today was one of the highly logistical days amongst the 43 paddle days, while we began the day from Yamba the paddle itself started from our turn around point yesterday at Esk (Military Firing Range). As Kim and I were getting on the jet ski and attaching the board ready for the jet ski voyage to sea, the engine was fired up and I quickly looked back at Nic on shore and yelled “Where am I paddling to today?” Nic’s response was laughter followed by utter shock and amusement before yelling out “Evans Head!”
Once arrived at the starting point Kim and I had a good location debrief. Kim made me aware of the military base and pointed that out and he also said there would be eyes on us from all angles so he looked up at the base and started waving, smiling and yelling out hello which had me in tears of laughter. Kim also advised me that we were sitting on top of a reef which had me thinking about potential marine life encounters. Kim qualified my suspicions and did in fact tell me that he knew 100% that this section of ocean I was about to cross was very much alive. I wasn’t too concerned and let Kim know that I had a Shark Shield which has a guarantee and Kim retorted with “Well when the sharks doing 60kmh straight from underneath you, there’s no guarantees there!” and on that note I jumped into the water and made sure my Shark Shield was on and started paddling.
The sun was shining, with little to no wind, zero swell and the oceans surface glistened like a pool of glass. Paddling through the water felt like running my hands through fine silk and I was grateful to have left my gloves behind. After spending the previous weeks shivering everyday out on the water, the weather was finally turning and with the sun blaring down on me I found myself splashing water in a vain attempt to try and cool down before deciding to actually shed some layers! Each of my water safety crew has a famous quote and I learnt Kim’s today, these quotes are continually repeated throughout our journey, Kim’s being “Hey Jules, do you see that island up there? Well it’s not really an island, it’s part of the land. That’s where we’re going.”
With the wetsuits completely shed from the top of my body (apart from the necessary for modesty) I found myself paddling with ease, rather then fighting against the restrictions of the wetsuit and ocean conditions. Until mother nature decided to turn things up a notch and send a NW wind straight for me. The wind was moving faster then I could paddle which resulted in me getting pushed out to sea. Seeing as I couldn’t fight mother nature I decided to go with the winds and continued to chase runners directly out to sea. Kim scooted up next to me on the ski, shaking his head and laughing, pointing out the directions I should be heading with a confused “Where are you going?”
My fuse was beginning to run incredibly short and I just put my head straight back down and kept paddling out to sea! To battle the conditions I came up with my own ingenious idea, I’ve seen plenty of sailing boats tack backwards and forwards across winds so I thought I’d have a go at that which resulted in me moving further and further out to sea. Once out far enough I swung my board 180 degrees, directly facing shore and put my head down and paddled. This zig-zag technique had me feeling like I was well and truly covering the entire Pacific Ocean!
I was just absolutely exhausted and frustrated, putting out maximum effort my arms started to scream in agony and I just wasn’t making any headway with the wind. My frustration eventually boiled over and I started screaming at the top of my lung, nothing in particular just screaming… Almost on cue as I gathered myself Evans Head Marine Rescue made the effort to come out, find me (training exercise for them) and say hello. These guys helped to give me the boost I needed as they came through tooting there horn and yelling encouragement from the boat.
Marine Rescue escorted me around to Chinaman’s Beach where I paddled with dolphins and caught a few waves as a mid paddle pick me up. As I moved north from Chinaman’s beach around the rocky headland towards the Evans Head break wall I passed ocean caves which were only accessible from the sea. The break wall was looking a little hairy so I jumped aboard the Marine Rescue vessel and was taken into the river mouth.
We arrived at our accomodation for the night and I was spellbound! I’ve always had a passion for architecture and design, walking into the little bungalow was like taking a step into my dream scrapbook. Pristine white meets earthy-beach meets shabby chic with Moroccan themed tiles and polished concrete floors. I’ve decided to quit the paddle and move into this house permanently! https://www.airbnb.com.au/rooms/13008383?s=TI6Aq2RZ We settled into our little home for the night and ended up playing a very competitive game of ping pong out in the shed on our way over to the neighbours house for dinner.
Mark, Denise and Rose their daughter invited us over for a incredible feast. Mark and Denise are the owners of affordablewholefoods.com.au and are on of my major sponsors and biggest supporters on this trip. It was a great evening and it was nice to be able to relax and chat about something other then just the paddle.