pilgrimage

photo[9]On Advent Sunday I am setting out in my sea kayak from Mission Bay in Auckland to paddle to Oihi in the Bay of Islands. Oihi is the place where Samuel Marsden arrived, at the invitation of the Maori Chief, Ruatara. There he first preached the Gospel 200 years ago on Christmas Day, 1814.

The basic idea behind this journey is that it my version of a hikoi to the Marsden Cross. In the last year as I have reflected on the early history of our church in this land I have been impressed with the fact that early missionaries and bishops travelled mostly by sea. Some of them were wonderfully intrepid and brave. It is also true that many of our early churches sit on waterways because that was the way folk travelled back then.

So, rather than go for a journey by land I have decided to go by sea. The trip is about 250 km and will be testing for a number of reasons. The biggest variable is going to be the weather. If all goes well the biggest challenge is going to be water followed by food (and dare I say it, power to charge the mobile phone so I can stay in touch!). I have allowed eight days for the trip. If I don’t get there by then, well …

photo[11]A little about the one who goes down to the sea in a ship.

I have owned my kayak since 1984. My first trip was around Lake Manapouri with a wonderful man called Les Coxhead, a dentist from Dunedin. I haven’t done may big trips. Plenty of day trips. I once could handle Takapu with a degree of ease. Eskimo rolling was never quite second nature but I would pretty much come up every time even in big surf.

Not so now. As the selfie photo discloses the hair is thinning and I ain’t what I once was. My biggest handicap these days is that I only have one lung now. This makes exercise a challenge and so I don’t do as much as I once did. My days of Ironman triathlon are behind me. So, I expect that the trip will push me.

So, I am delighted that I don’t go alone. My friend John Tuke, who will no doubt turn up in a photo or two later in this blog, is coming along too. John and I go way back. (He got his first Nordcapp a year before I got mine but we had been friends through our teens. I expect that the journey will both renew and test our friendship in new ways.

photo[10]My trusty Nordcapp kayak called ‘Takapu’ for obvious reasons, the yellow like the head of the magnificent sea bird, the gannet – takapu in Maori.

If one were interested you can read about the design here:
http://www.sissonkayaks.co.nz/blog/products-page/sea-kayaks/nordkapp/

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