Trip Start Oct 30, 2012
Trip End May 30, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , Nelson,
Sunday, March 31, 2013

All night long we listened with trepidation while rain tapped on our tents. Hopes lifting every time it pauses, and sunk when it started up again...only harder.

By morning, everything was well and truly wet and the rain wasn't even bothering to pause any more, just pour full on. Certainly not the kind of start you like on the day you're supposed to go kayaking!

Running to the kitchen shelter (worth the expensive fees now) we sat and had coffee and tried to figure out what we were going to do. The only weather report we could find showed that it was supposed to rain continually until 6pm – boo!

So we sat, and we wavered, and we tried to figure out what else we could possibly do. The weather was meant to be good the following day. Do we just kayak then? What could we do today? Winery tours was a very exciting possibility until we realized that it was Easter Sunday and they would be all closed (yes, things actually close in NZ on Easter Sunday – and Good Friday too).

Somehow we managed to dodge the worst of the raindrops and bring down the tents and still be away in time to meet at the kayak place. We'd see what they have to say about the weather forecast. As we arrived, the sky did this miraculous split, and half was the clearest blue and
the other half was dreary rain...Oh, what?

The rental office had received 2 reports: one said rain all day and the other said clearing in the morning. We glanced outside. Now of the sky was blue and the grey was quickly receding.

All packed up, at the rental office, AND the sky was getting bluer by the second. But this was the sounds and weather can change very quickly. What if? The last thing we wanted to do was pay for rentals and sit all day in the rain.

So, we went to explore some other options. Perhaps we could hike the train along the coast rather than kayak it. But hiking in the rain had even less appeal than kayaking in it...

Then the sun broke through completely and we were regretting leaving the rental place. So back we went to see if we could still get kayaks for the day and it turned out we could!!! After several hours of agonizing indecision, we were back right where we started – only later!

Soon we were out on the beautiful blue water with the sun in the sky and the clouds only the faintest line on the far horizon. Hoorah!

Two tandem kayaks exploring the shoreline and searching for seals.  (Lindsay had seen pictures of baby seals actually laying on people's kayaks!). After about an hour and a half we stopped for some lunch at a little beach, preparing to cross to some islands afterwards.

As soon as we started to prepare the food, the rain started again.  Out of thin agir, or hiding behind the hills, the grey clouds came in and filled the sound. I could barely keep my sandwich bread dry while I was eating.

No more options to explore. We were here with our kayaks, so kayak we did.

Every the optimists, Lindsay and Chucky headed out to the island to find some seals!

Now kayaking is generally a fairly wet activity to participate in.  But our upper was soaked in seconds (thank goodness for the skirt). My glasses were so covered with droplets I couldn't see a thing. The rain landing on the water turning everything to a grew mist didn't help either. But there were seals out there, somewhere.  Along the shore, I could see some black slug-like lumps moving slightly on the rocky shore. We couldn't get too close as the water was quite chopping, and we couldn't really see. But we still tried to call them out to our kayaks only to have them smile and shake their heads 'no'.

Hands so cold the sea water felt warm, we kept paddling. Soon the sky shifted again and we were bathed in sun which felt so nice on our cold skin.

With the arrival of the sun, the birds began to sing. We were passing by the island that is a bird sanctuary (Adele). The birdsong was just spectacular. Made us wonder about what kinds of place NZ was when people first arrived – before the bird species started to disappear (over 200 so far...). Reports of Captain Cook and crew sleeping out on their boats because they couldn't get any sleep otherwise – the birds were so loud.

For the rest of our kayak we were blessed with sun, but even that couldn't stop our arms and shoulders from aching. We headed in early as we needed to use some of the bright afternoon to let our tents dry out, so we headed to our camp ground which was in the middle of a sheep paddock where hippy music festivals take place. A great time of kite flying, walks, cricket, and dancing around the wooden sculptures (aided by several boxes of wine) helped us put the indecision of the day behind us.

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