Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kayak Chaos

4/19/11     Nelson
The third day of our South Island journey.  For the second day in a row we rose before 6:30.  This time the plan for the day was a kayak trip through Abel Tasman National Park.  We were picked up shortly after 7am.  The first thing the driver, Reagan, said to us was, “Do you want the good news or the bad news?  The good news is that we’re going kayaking today.  The bad news is that the heating in the bus?”  And then he just shook his head.  This was terrible news because it was quite cold out and we were all dressed for kayaking.
So we sat on the cold bus for over an hour, huddling close to stay warm.  When we arrived at Kaiteriteri kayaking, we split into groups.  Six of us (poor Kristen was placed in the other group), along with two Brits, Matt and Jenna, were introduced to Emily, our guide for the day.  We then participated in a brief clothing dress up and a procedure run down.  After that we loaded our kayaks onto the trailer and headed down to the beach.
Before we knew it we were on the water.  We were all in two person kayaks with rudders.  Kaleb was my partner.  He sat in the back and was supposed to man the rudder.  It took him a bit to get used to it.  Even then his multitasking skills were nonexistent (sorry Kaleb).

Our trip started out pretty chill.  We paddled out to where Emily told us.  On the way we watched a gannet divebomb a fish only a couple of meters in front of us.  Pretty cool.  We then paddled over to some caves since it was high tide.  This is when Kaleb and I discovered our talent for rowing backwards.  We were pretty freakin good at it.  We then paddled across some open water to an island.  As we were crossing I told Kaleb I really wanted to see some seals.  My wish came true.  There were seals all over the coast of this island.  So extremely cool.
From there we paddled some more and made landfall to eat lunch.  Our lunch consisted of two sandwiches, a muffin, a cookie, hot chocolate, and apple juice.  Not what we were expecting out of a provided lunch, but totally delicious.  The second group caught up not too long after.  Emily had our group share some ‘talents.’
When everyone was done eating, we cleaned up and repacked our kayaks.  Before continuing our journey we all took a quick trek up one of the paths to see an awesome view of the bay we were in.

After disembarking once more, Emily called us in and Reagan’s group joined ours.  We were assigned a task… stand in the kayaks.  Gratefully we managed without any capsizing.

The rest of our trip went somewhat like this: row between rocks, almost bottom out, see more seals, share knowledge on starfish, throw a rugby ball at each other, paddle backwards, join together once more for more tasks.  There tasks were varied but involved running on the kayaks, switching kayaks, and doing headstands.  It was just loads of fun.

We then made landfall, cleaned out our boats, and jumped on an aqua taxi to ride back to where we started, about 10 km (straight line) from where we ended.  Overall it was an amazingly fun trip.
The day ended with another delicious dinner at the Fern Lodge, followed by a rousing game of darts between Kaleb and myself with Travis scoring.  Travis, the silly boy, almost got a dart in his hand more than once while pointing something out while we were throwing. 

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