Day 39 – Caloundra to Mooloolaba
The spirits were high and the winds were up…
I was feeling all optimistic about the day ahead, i was starting to almost let myself enjoy the journey and the moments out on the water with the realisation that i was actually so close to completing my mission!
Thinking about how close i was to done gave me a weird yet pleasant feeling, however i didn’t indulge in these moments often if ever as i was concerned that thinking too far ahead would disrupt my current progress. Again another moment of mindfulness and drawing parallels with how this paddle is so much a spiritual challenge.
It was so incredible windy as we readied the jet ski and launched it into the unforgiving choppy waters. I jumped into the water fully rugged up with my only skin showing from the neck up. I almost felt a bit deterred paddling the sunshine coast so cold and covered up, but i was thankful for the winds and the weather coming from the south. These were all in my favour and with a massive low pressure system brewing i had to be grateful for what i was getting weather wise, at least the sun was out!
As i paddled off the boar ramp crossing over a rock reef i took a moment to let nature do her thing and i simply drifted out in a rip to exactly where i needed to be going, paddling ‘no arms’ was almost fun enough to get a tiny giggle out of me!
As i made my way around a few small bays and rocky points i began to see the familiar sunshine coast lifeguard towers stretch up the beach parallel with me. Things were finally coming together!
I had been in touch with a local paddler Mark who was keen to join me for the day, i was very much looking forward to the company but wasn’t getting my hopes up incase it didn’t work out as i knew he was driving to meet me from work. He was literally looking at the live tracking web page to keep tabs on my where about to know when and where to jump into the ocean with me!
A few hours in and the westerly winds were starting to get to me and i was again thinking of my right shoulder and the damage being caused. I made up my mind to stop battling the elements and instead go with them! So out to sea i paddled, anyone who sails knows my tacking technique here, however attempting to tack on a board is a much slower and highly painful task. I got so far out to sea with the wind behind me i thought it was a good idea to get back closer to shore, as paddling behind the breaking waves is probably the most protected place you can be in a westerly while attempt to paddle parallel with the shore.
I ended up jumping on the ski as the wind was gale force by this time and i was scooted in to shore, the timing could not have been more perfect. On the beach i could just make out someone walking across the sand with a paddle board, this had to be Mark!
Having the fresh company and energy was infectious, listening to his stories of big paddles (Molokai) and hearing about his family, daughters and property were all so uplifting. We stopped a few times and cheers’ed each other with a Cocos Pure coconut water which is all i really seemed interested in consuming at this stage of the paddle, my appetite was disappearing fast and i know this started to concern the crew despite them not mentioning it to me.
As Mark and i continued to paddle i could see a massive painted water tower on top of a point, this point Mark told me was pretty much Mooloolaba. I couldn’t believe it, the day had flown and we covered quite a bit of ground. As we paddled around the rocky point entrance into my destination i got a great local introduction and information talk, learning about some of the surf spots, body boarding waves that the take off is way too fast for any surfer to commit to. All points of interest i had never heard of and fascinated me!
Paddling into the bay of Mooloolaba was awesome, i felt like i was almost home, i am so familiar with that area. Paddling in i looked incredibly overdressed in my many layers of wet suit and booties but the immense feeling of happiness in knowing i had actually paddled my way here was unbeatable.
After i dried off and warmed up Sommer and Darcy some beautiful friends from the coast came to catch up with me! Seeing them and being able to talk things other than the paddle was great. Throughout the journey i have enjoyed listening to others more than talking ‘paddle’ as this has been so incredibly consuming for the past few years.
The day continued to get better when we all headed back to the accommodation for the next few nights! My old stomping ground/office Marcoola, the stunning holiday apartment ‘Atlantis Marcoola’ got on board to support myself and the crew! The luxury of staying in one place for a few nights was what i needed at this stage for sure! They have a pool, gym, games room and beach access 30 seconds away!
Standing on the veranda and overlooking the vast ocean and seeing the distance i’d covered was pretty special! I explained to Nic about the Island infront of our accommodation. Old Woman Island, the place i used to paddle to and explore on my lifeguard lunch breaks, looking around the rock pools and at the mysterious ruins of an old building made from stone.