The other week I attempted something I've been wanting to try for a long time. I attempted to stand up paddle from New Zealand's Great Barrier Island to the mainland. My good friend Jeremy attempted this with me, our friend John sailed along beside us, and my lovely wife came too.
It started early one Saturday morning a couple of weeks ago where we drove from Auckland to Whitianga on New Zealand's Coromandal Peninsula (about a three hour drive), where we met up with our friend John who had a sweet trimaran.
We would set up the boat, and from there would sail for about ten hours up the coast, across the Colville channel, and arrive at Great Barrier Island, arriving at about 11pm. We then had dinner and slept before the early start in the morning.
So we were up at 6am, which for me is a little early, and on the water by 6.30am. Unfortunately the weather we had been hoping for had not shown up, and in it's place was strong wind, dark sky, and rain.
Now we had been talking about doing this little venture for years and we had come a long way, and really wanted to do this, but the weather was not looking good. I was still keen to paddle anyway, and with the boat I felt safe doing so.
So we set off. The wind and the waves were such that it was hard to even stand on the board but we kept at it. We felt like we were making progress, but knew that it was going to be a long paddle across the Colville channel. Two years earlier I had crossed the channel on a boat and the water was calm and glassy. The water was not calm and glassy that day.
After about twenty minutes of paddling John and Sierra we pointing in the other direction to where we were paddling, they were almost pointing back to Great Barrier Island. We asked them what the problem was and they said that they were pointing in the direction that we were supposed to go.
Their direction felt wrong
Their direction felt wrong, and this was added to by the fact that the sky was grey which made it hard to see further than about a mile away. So we paddled in that direction anyway because who argues with the person who has the GPS. We instantly realised then that the wind we were paddling against, was pushing us back faster than we could paddle forward. John and Sierra kept pointing and we kept trying but the sinking feeling of futility had already sunk in.
They signalled for us to come over to the boat where they showed us the GPS track of our little journey, which showed a line in the wrong direction from where we were heading. We were now further from the finish than when we started, significantly further. The thing was that we had been pointing in the right direction more or less all along, but the wind and the current had other ideas.
We realised that on that day, this was impossible.
So we hopped on the boat a little humbled buy how quickly the ocean silenced our goals. What then followed was eleven hours of rough water back to our cars in Whitianga. Sierra, who has grown up on boats, got pretty sea sick and puked all the way back, poor thing. I felt a little green most of the time. And the rain came down, and down, the whole time. I don't think I ever been more wet before, and deeply chilled.
John just sailed like a trooper, happy to be out on the water, and Jeremy dropped his new iPhone 6S off the side... oops. I sat there, on the boat completely wet, cold, feeling somewhat unsuccessful, but knowing there was nothing I could do. Feeling both trapped and free, and marvelling at man's mastery over wind and water. Make no mistake it wasn't nice, it was not lovely, but it was grand.
It was for free
I found it funny that all of us were doing this for free, yet if I was to charge for it, I would charge a great deal. The free times generally get the best of me, they get my singular focus not being compromised by the incentive of money.
I was impressed by my friend John who, for free, drove his boat from Tauranga and gave up a whole weekend so that Jeremy and I could try our little adventure. I was impressed with Sierra that she came along for the epic little ride too, puking all the way home, but doing so with a smile.
I think the things that we do for free define us. I think that those who help people attempt their 'free things' for free are like Jesus, and failure like this is a great teacher. I'll probably try it again.
As you reflect on your year that has just passed, and look forward to the year that will be, perhaps ponder on what I have been thinking about for some time now; I feel that Jesus is not so concerned with our bad things, I think he cant even remember them (Hebrews chapter 8 verse 12), rather Jesus is interested in our free things the things we do for free.
Jared Diprose is a self employed Artisan and co-director of the Mosaic Workshop. He has a degree in Theology, and believes that words shape worlds. He is married to Sierra. You can see some of his work at www.facebook.com/jareddiprosecreative and you can check out The Mosaic Workshop at www.facebook.com/workshopmosaic
Jared Diprose's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jareddiprose.html