Our Most Excellent KayakingAdventureBy K.Sven Hjelmstrom“How about spending a week touring golden sand beaches,watching baby seals swim around your kayak and relaxingwith good company in the evening ? Join us for Easter week,2010 at Abel Tasman National Park.”This invitation caught my eye on the Hamilton Canoe & Kayak website. It sounded like a good follow up to my most enjoyable trip down theWhanganui River with Pete Townend and 50 plus other Yakity Yakkers afew years back.Yes, Canoe & Kayak Hamilton was joining forces with the windyWellington C & K crew to travel to Marahau in the South Island for OURMOST EXCELLENT KAYAKING ADVENTURE.Auckland and Hamilton met the Wellington crew at their Canoe &Kayak Centre where our trip leader, the smiling Andy Blake, was securingkayaks on the trailer.The ferry trip was fine and our own personal life boats on thevehicle made it secure! After a long, long day for the Hamiltoncrew, we enjoyed a restful night at a motor camp in Picton.Thursday 1 st April, 2010. The Paddling Starts16 paddlers travelled in three vehicles from Nelson to Motueka to pickup fresh rations before hitting the water at Marahau. The Wellington crewsuddenly gave the famous one finger salute when a yellow BarracudaBeachcomer (belonging to Dr Nikki ) lost its front tie down and reachedfor the sky. Our walkie talkies alerted Andy and the convoy stopped tosecure the kayak. A big 10/4 and “roger that” soon became catch phrasesalong with good natured “rogering” comments.At Marahau we packed our Kayaks, had the obligatory briefing, weretold to “lock and load” by Andy and on an ebbing tide we paddled to ourfirst camp site at Apple Tree Bay. Abel Tasman National Park’s crystalclear blue waters, bush overflowing down steep hills to the rocky shoreline, which just begged to be rock gardened, were beautiful and majestic.“Roger that eh Harvey!”It was only a few clicks to Apple Tree Bay’s golden sand beach where wepitched tents just a few metres from the sea. Some had a quick swim. Aahhh!!A kayak, a tent, great weather, great food, great company, heaven at last!The team practise their routinefor the new Olympic sport ofSynchronised Kayak Dancing.
Friday 2 nd of AprilWe were on the water by 9:30 am andat Adele Island we saw our first seal and asmall group of baby seals. Just picture abeautiful blue sky, next to no wind, calmsea, most excellent company and you havesome notion that we were now in kayakingheaven. The only distraction was fromdistant water taxis taking passengersto camp sites, kayaks stacked aft. Wepaddled at a steady pace to match ourkayaking skills. No hassles and no stressrock gardening in beautiful scenery. Welanded at Pukatea Bay for lunch, a restand the Easter Egg Hunt. Andy Blake’sboundless energy, paddling andcooking skills were greatly impressingthe group. He was most ably assistedby Tony Barrett.The next camp site was at Bark Bay.During the afternoon we hugged thecoast, explored and rock gardened.Andy and other more experiencedkayakers completed a few rolls.Bark Bay proved to be a boomerof a camp site. It had water that couldbe drunk without boiling and yes folks, flush toilets. We evenhad a kitchen and a fire that proved to be a focus for dining. The groupof 16 now really became as ‘one’ when we let our hair down and threwcaution and inhibition to the wind. Nikki and Catherine (Wellies) burst intosong as ABBA chicks. Yours truly and Harvey (Hamilton) regretted thatwe hadn’t brought guitars to accompany the talent.Most were in bed by 10:00 pm. Another day in paradise had come toHappy campers on the Abel Tasmanan end.Hey you Auckland Clubbies, it might be a long way to go (900 km oneway) but you have just got to do this trip...Saturday 3 rd of April was another day in heaven. We locked andloaded and headed for Tonga Island, famously known as a sealDiscover the World with...THE WORLD’S QUIETEST ROOF RACKIntroducing Prorack’s Whispbar TM .The most innovative, technicallyadvanced roof rack system thatwill radically reduce drag and fuelconsumption. Now that’s brilliantKiwi ingenuity!Now available from your localCanoe and Kayak store.Visit www.prorack.co.nz to see it on your carwww.kayaknz.co.nzISSUE FIFTY Five • 2010 19
Who will blink first? By Easter the babyseals in the colony are very independentand extremely entertaining.breeding colony. There were seals everywhere. Naturally we kept arespectful distance until we found an empty pool waiting to be explored.Quickly baby seals left their mothers and came to explore us. Withina few minutes, streams of bubbles rose to the surface as the babiesglided beside and under the kayaks. Soon they were climbing on tokayaks to investigate humans. One baby seal waddled up the frontdeck of Michelle’s kayak, took the bailing sponge, dived over one sideand popped up the other. The Penguin paddler retrieved herintact sponge.The mothers first watched,then ignored us, while theirbabies played.More than fifty dolphins thenappeared and were seen at closerange by some of us.We reluctantly left this trulybeautiful scene and headed forShag Harbour where nesting andresting Shags were everywhere.Shagadelic!! On the flood tide wepaddled into a stunning inlet andmet more baby seals who wereplaying in the warm shallowwater. There were penguinsand jellyfish and the scenerywas drop dead gorgeous.Wow, what a day!Our next night was atOnetahuti Beach’s fabulouscamp site. It too had freshwater and flush toilets. Wewere tired, relaxed butvery happy after anotherbrilliant day on the water.A couple of light showersduring the night helped tocool us down.Cleopatra’s Pool is well worth the walk.Sunday 4 th April the weather report indicated that a SEswell was building. We returned to TongaIsland where the low tide put the fabulousseal nursery out of reach but we had funrock gardening in the swell. Our nextlanding was at Mosquito Bay on anotherstunning sandy beach with a beautifuloutlook towards the sea. The flood tiderose quickly over the shallow beachand while we had a drink and a bite toeat, we repeatedly pulled our kayaksto safety!Andy provided the floppy Frisbeethat he found on the roadside manymoons ago. What a weapon! It fliesso well yet is so soft to catch andso forgiving – just like its owner,pancake Chef Andy.Back in kayaks we left the comfortof mother sea and paddled up theFalls River to see the swing bridgeand the crossing that trampersuse on their overland route. Giveme the sea kayaking option any day!Bill and Phil (the flower pot men from Hamilton) wandered overrocks towards a waterfall. Oops! Here is a tip for kayakers – rememberto tie up your kayak where water levels can change. They were lucky thistime but let’s face it, they had a big back up crew!Salt of the earth Jim Walker left his kayak, clambered up a steepincline and took a group photograph from the swing bridge. He will soonbe paddling around Stewart Island with Andy Blake. With Jim back inhis kayak we returned to the rivers’ calm, hot estuary for lunch and anattempt at kayak gymnastics. Just over the sand dune behind us theSE swell was building and the wind was a steady 10-15 knots. Andy,Harvey, Jim and Tony enjoyed rolling practice before we headed for thenext camp site at Anchorage.En route we paddled up the Torrent Riveron an outgoing tide andKnow the height ofyour vehicle and load.20 ISSUE FIFTY Five • 2 0 1 0 www.kayaknz.co.nz
eached on slippery rocks with not a lotof room for our kayaks. We wanted to seeCleopatra’s Pool. A group of kayakerswho had shared a camp site with uswarned that our 500 metre stroll and visitto the pool meant we could be walkingour kayaks back over the rocks. Wemanaged to get back to the sea withjust a short portage over slipperyrocks. All good fun eh what!Whoah! Anchorage was likeheading back to civilization. Bodiesand kayaks everywhere!While at most camp sites it wasa group effort with no moans orcomplaints to haul the kayaks offthe beach, at Anchorage, therewere special racks for kayaks.As we did most nights everyonewas involved with cooking andover dinner time we shared theday’s experiences and learntwhat other people eat and cleverlycook for an evening meal. But at Anchoragewe were a crowd!Andy Blake our trip leader was the master chef. He made pikeletsor pancakes and all manner of fancy dishes. He carried so fewprovisions on the trip yet he made the most amazing, scrumptiousdishes. We have asked Andy to put some suggestions in the NewZealand Kayak Magazine. It would be good to see a ‘cook off’between Andy and our other master chef, Pete Townend.Monday 5 th April was our last day on the water.We listened to the forecast for the day, an easterly wind with swellto 2 metres, launched in the calm harbour and paddled out to thewaiting swells. The weather was still fine but we soon had a real blastpaddling south to Split Apple Rock.Jim, Rachel & Sarah posed for an action shot with Jim standingin his kayak in the middle of 3 rafted kayaks after the precursorpoo position warm up. Our fearless leader Andy, who was close by,mastered the swells to take the close up action shot. Result – anextreme close up due to the wave action. (Don’t try this at home kids.)After passing the headland, Te Katetu Point, the seas were calmerand we made for a rest stop at Akersten Bay. The beach landingcalled for an angled arrival and paddle ready for the bracing stroke ifrequired. All landed safely. Most then needed an assisted launch. Aswe passed Marahau and snuck in to view Split Apple Rock the swelldecreased and the wind abated.The Rock is impressive. More experienced kayakers had real funrock gardening in the swell and shooting the rocky gap right besidethe Split Apple. Andy did what can only be described as rock gardencaving. He found very narrow and rocky caves and often disappearedfor minutes at a time. Others (like Harvey) followed. We watched inawe.We returned to Marahau at high tide, landed and packed up.The more experienced kayakers continued rock gardening. As werounded the point sheltering Split Apple Rock an unpredicted swellcaught one experienced kayaker, left him high on a rocky outcropand tipped him out of his boat. He was quickly rescued. Well doneteam!We were tired, but blown away by the four days of excitement,adventure and great company in the Abel Tasman National Park. TheHamiltonians and lone Aucklander, who had submitted to Moo Looculture, took the long journey home in their stride.People who think sea kayaking is sedate need an introduction torock gardening. Andy Blake plays in the swell at Apple Rock.A big cheer for Elaine Vine (Wellington) who paddled the whole way withoutthe need for a tow, and for many more personal bests achieved on this mostexciting adventure.Our grateful thanks must go to both Andy Blake and Tony Barrett fororganising this MOST EXCELLENT KAYAKING ADVENTURE.CHILL-PROOF YOURWATER SPORT WITH...Even on a warm day the wind chill can quicklycool you down. Sharkskin is a revolutionarytechnical water sports garment and theproduct of choice for paddlers who enjoytheir sport all-year-round - regardless ofthe forecast!Sharkskin garments come in a largerange of sizes and styles providing theequivalent warmth of a 2.5 – 3mmneoprene wetsuit - but with betterwind chill protection.THE SCIENCESharkskin delivers many benefits to watersports enthusiasts that are unachievable with lesstechnically advanced products such as neoprene.These benefits are achieved by laminating 3 separatematerials together, all with different properties; Theouter layer is made from a durable UV resistant Lycranylon blend. The middle membrane is both windproofand waterproof. The non-chaffing inner thermal layerprovides warmth and comfort against the skin.Now also availablewith 1/2 zipFind your Authorised Sharkskin Dealer www.sharkskin.co.nzwww.kayaknz.co.nzISSUE FIFTY Five • 2010 21