Monday, 6 May 2013

DAY 1 - Mon Choisy to Roches Noires

The tour could not have possibly started off more perfectly! 

Thursday night was a full moon and by 5:30am when we were leaving the house to meet Patrick at Mon Choisy, the full moon in all it's glory was there to greet us. As we drove on, the sun began to wake up and so to did the rest of Mauritius. I hadn't even seen what the sea looked like yet and my heart raced with both excitement and nerves. Today my adventure was starting, after 2 months of training and talking about this I could hardly believe it was actually happening! I had no idea what to expect, I just knew I had to do this, no matter what would happen and what the weather threw at me, I had to complete this journey. Too many people were sponsoring me, a great dream was at stake and Patrick's respect depended on this. I did not want to disappoint and the adrenaline of adventure was what would get me through it!

We arrived at Mon Choisy at 5:50am and whilst off loading the kayaks from the van and sorting through all the gear we were joined by the most unexpected guests...
...horses were walked down from near by stables, to the sea for a morning swim. It was perfect, I was so excited and looked around trying to take it everything around me, I knew I would never forget this moment.

Then it was time, the kayaks were packed and I had all my gear on... my adventure was starting!

We were off! The sea was so flat, so perfectly calm and as we turned the corner of Pointe Canonnier
the rising sun greeted us with such radiance. The beauty was simply breathe taking... 

We continued on towards Cap Malheureux where my mum and MC (Marie Claude) would hopefully be waiting to cheer us on. Sure enough, they were. Sitting, drinking their usual morning coffee, they waved their sarongs and cheered us on. 
I still could not quite believe how lucky we were to have such a beautiful day and perfect weather to start this journey. With each stroke of the paddle I felt more excited and with each new breath I felt the thrill of adventure overwhelm me. 

My mum's cousin, Jean, then followed us for a short while on his boat. Snapping away with his camera like the paparazzi! It was so sweet that he had made such an effort to meet us. Then as we passed by Kalodyne I messaged Jean Marc that I was going to be passing by his house and his wife Josee was waiting. She shouted her good luck wishes across the bay and seemed almost as excited as I was! 
After 2 and a half hours we stopped on a little island just past Grand Gaube and much to my absolute delight Paddy had a full flask of tea stashed away in his kayak. We sat there drinking tea, eating biscuits and constantly reminding each other how magnificent the day was! We had done parts of this trip so many times in training and yet never had it been so pleasant. Usually the wind had been howling and the waves pushing against the kayak so that it never felt as though I was getting any where! 
( I think Patrick had always planned training that way, always attempting to put me off this challenge!;) 

We continued towards Ile d'Ambre a beautiful little island, completely wild with indigenous trees and hedgehogs. Paddy arranges kayak day trips there with picnics and lunches, really a perfect outing! (click here for more info) We were joined by coast guards whom I had alerted of our trip earlier in the week. Little did I know they would take it so very seriously indeed, and followed us around the entire island. I felt like royalty to say the least! 

Anyway, with such perfect conditions we were making great time. We stopped at a Pointe Lascars for lunch. Afterwards we decided to take a little detour and venture down Riviere du Rampart. As the river narrowed so the tree cover extended until eventually we were literally kayaking under the canopy of the trees. It was incredibly beautiful watching the dappled sunlight dance on the water. How I would love to have built a little house on a floating platform under those trees! 

Now that I had a greater understanding of the distance we would be covering and how each day might work I was feeling more comfortable about the rest of the trip. In fact I couldn't wait to get going again the next day. Hemraz was there to greet us at the finishing line and tonight we'd be in our own beds and then it would be camping and staying with friends along the way. I had had so much fun with Paddy, and I was relieved that we got on so well, after all we had another 6 pretty intense days of kayaking together, so it was a good thing!