Right after Christmas, I packed up my kayak…and a few other essentials and hopped onto a flight to NewZealand in search of quality “winter” training and adventure!
........Actually it wasn't quite so simple. I would never have made it here without my Mom, Dad, and sister who cheerfully escorted me on the 10 hour drive to New York where I caught the only affordable flight I could book with a reasonably good chance of getting my kayak on board. With some good luck (likely due to this Kiwi dime that my dad found on the ground in the middle of Manhattan) everything went freakishly smoothly once I got to the airport. Virgin America welcomed my slalom boat on board... and I rang in 2015 peacefully in my window seat, squirming with excitement for the months ahead.
My good friend Ella, who races for the Cook Islands came and fetched me from the airport (early on that morning on New Years day... poor girl), and I spent the first couple of days with my friends Ella and Jane and their family at their "beach bach" in Pauanui, a typical Kiwi beach town on the most idyllic stretch of beach. We spent the weekend playing in the surf on boogie boards, jet skiing, and kayaking in the ocean. Another highlight was making the steep and spectacular trip up Mount Pauanui, and returning to an amazing feast of fresh snapper that Ella’s dad had caught that morning. I can’t imagine a more special way to have started off my 3 month long trip over here, or a more enjoyable way to acclimatize before jumping head first into training. Thank you so much Nicolas family!!