1st January 2017

Brilliant start today with a great crowd of friends, family and well wishers. NBN News did a great job. Mayor David Wright, MLC Greens Dawn Walker and my mate Klaas all had great things to say about the cause and my dedication.

A small flotilla came down the river to the rescue tower and a couple of hardy souls came out into the sea for a kilometer where a gusty northerly blew me down to Evans Head. The conditions were a great confidence booster as it was a bit breezy and there were plenty of white caps. Both sides of the English Channel and Chesapeake Bay had shown me far worse.

Having left the Ramada at 1:15pm I arrived at Evans Head about 5.30pm. The bar was breaking right across but there was a way through with a dash across the middle between sets. The crowd on the wall must have been impressed because I saw a few flashes go off in the gloom. To be honest I was a bit buggered by the time I got into the river and plodded along against the outgoing tide.

Met up with Lyn and her sons Corey and Nathan at the boat ramp, loaded Old Yella onto the ute and headed for the pub to buy a beer.

Everything went well except for the radio. I logged on at the Ballina Tower but then it died. It was brand new so I need to get that sorted out. Had to use the base vehicle radio to log off with Evans Head Marine Rescue.

Back to Lyn’s at Broadwater, open a beer, and then find out Facebook has gone berserk. Thanks so much to everyone for their support. It is astounding. It really feels like we are doing something worthwhile. We are so grateful!

Tomorrow I have to get back out over that wild bar but I will be able to see the waves instead of interpret the roar behind me.

1-featherThis is why I do this and why most of us do what we do. We owe it to the kids and grandkids. Look closely and you will see Tawny placing a feather from a brahminy kite (sea eagle) into the hold to keep me safe.

2-ballina-mayor-signsMayor of Ballina, David Wright, signs the petition for Gail.

3-dawnWith Dawn Walker, new Greens MLC, doing a live Facebook video

4-corey-looking-for-cameraCorey Thomson dives for the NBN GoPro that the cameraman attached to Old Yella that I managed to flick off. Klaas looks on with Lynne and Wolfie.

5-climate-angelsClimate Angels arrive in the nick of time – Phew!

6-leaving-boat-harbourSmall flotilla escorts me out of boat harbour

7-leaving-ballinaAway I go to Evans Head

Log at Evans: 35.8km