Support Strokes – Kayaking Abel Tasman
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Upper Buller Gorge Scenic Reserve
We obviously had to fill in a form stating that we had lots of kayaking experience and when questioned I said “yes we know what we are doing, I have more experience but Erica has sufficient and can do all the support strokes”, that got us through and got us our own kayak for about ¼ of the cost and a full day rather than 2 hours
We headed up the coast and Erica declared that sea kayaking was basically boring and tiring. After about 30 minutes we decided to head out to sea and try and get to the outlying islands. We managed to cross but were pretty knackered by the time we got there. The island was lovely and the twitcher in the Lady soon got the trip underway properly as we saw lots of different bird species including oyster catchers and cormorants (to name but a few). As we paddled around Fishermans Island we saw lots of great rocks and lovely inlets but the lady kept complaining about getting somewhere to eat our tin of fruit we had brought for breako. By the time we crossed to the next island we were amazed to find NZ fur seals on the rocks and swimming around the kayak. Bear in mind you are not to get closer than 10m to one of these animals before they might bite and chase you we were absolutely shocked when they were jumping right in front of and next to the kayak (when I say right next to I mean within 1m)
What we saw next made the whole trip really, really special for the Lady. I saw what at first I thought was a baby seals head out of the water maybe 10m from the boat. Then it swam towards us in the most unmistakable way before popping up again, as lady E grabbed for the camera it was gone... It was a Blue Penguin that are rarely spotted in the daytime at the best of times and are not too common a sight in this area (although we found out afterwards they are here so we were not imagining things). We still hadn’t stopped for breakfast and soon were overtaken by a local guide who we paddled behind and followed to the area where the baby seals hang out. Again the seals were jumping and playing in the water all around us. The guide had three customers so we just sat in complete silence listening to his commentary like real cheap skates.
We then crossed another big old channel back to the mainland and to the point where it was considered dangerous to go beyond (Mad Mile) clues in the name
As I had to steer using the foot peddles the guy had told us Erica was responsible for navigation (obviously we already knew this) although she didn’t remove the map once, for the most part I managed to keep on paddling (as Erica needed to rest for 45 minutes out of every 60, as well as navigating and steering). Erica edit: Wow there cowboy I was trip photographer I couldn’t paddle all the time I was being creative, but I did more than you let on.
We finally rounded the bay with the wind behind us and paddled back to the beach where we started. The kite surfers were out and I’m starting to like the idea more and more. I’m sure I’ll be pretty good at that, but not perhaps as good as I am at skydiving which I was convinced I could now train to be an instructor at (it is very easy to say these kind of things sat in a kayak!)
We got back at about 15:30 after about 6 hours on the water handed over our undamaged and un-sunk kayak (well left it on a beach near a tractor) and set off for Split Apple Rock. This is a pretty cool rock as it is round but has been cracked in half somehow, a pretty mad phenomenon. The only difficulty was parking as there were only about 5 spots, (I did hit a few logs in the car park but at such a slow speed the van was not damaged at all). We then headed off feeling somewhat guilty about the fact that Erica had tried to make us steal from the lovely Christians at the campsite. I insisted we went back before leaving and pay for last night, which the woman then stated she didn’t even know we had stayed but knew we were so honest she didn’t need to worry about us (listen to that DOC wardens). She was really grateful! Erica edit: You won’t be surprised to find out that it was actually my idea to go back and pay, I couldn’t handle the wrath of god.
We then drove back through Murchison through yet more stunning landscapes. The biggest event was when we saw a black cloud coming towards the windscreen before we could say “what is that” the windscreen was covered in bees and parts of bees, Eggsy’s worst nightmare
Anyway after a few reds we were asleep and another great day had ended, perhaps amongst the two best consecutive days we have had, Sky Diving and Sea Kayaking, great exercise, and contrasts in emotions.