Monday, February 11, 2013


Since mooring up in Lyttelton, Elenya has been very neglected as we are concentrating on land (-ish) based activities and getting out and exploring the South Island. In particular, we have been doing quite a bit of white water kayaking. Over Christmas we headed up Murchison way, first spending some days camped at Lake Rotoiti trying to remember what we were supposed to be doing after nearly 2 years without being in a kayak (and in Auckland we were more likely to take the kayaks in the surf than on a river) and being eaten by sandflies. We played around in the upper reaches of the Buller before Jim broke his paddle, which prompted us to visit the NZ kayak school for a new paddle and ended up enrolling in a 4 day course. The course was excellent and our rolls (especially) are much the better for it! Unfortunately over this period there was the odd drop of rain (luckily we didn't want to go anywhere as most of the roads home were closed!) and the Buller was in flood. Luckily the Mangles river was running and we got well aquainted with it as everything else remained too high for us to paddle.

We've since put our new improved paddling techniques to the test over three weekends; at Hanmer Springs, Hurunui and back up to Murchison. Its always interesting paddling a new river, especially without anyone who has done that section before. On the Hurunui we were merrily paddling along a grade 2 section, when Jim who was behind me noticed I had completely disappeared (for those who can't picture it, this is a bit of a giveaway that the river drops steeply in the near future). Apparently sometime in the last few years a flood uncovered a rock weir across the river. We safely ngotiated this obstacle and headed down towards the grade 3 Maori Gully section. (Rivers are graded from 1(flat), up through 4 (need to be better than us), to 6 (we're going to die) or (there is some debate about this) 7 (you need to be an expert AND nuts and you're probably still going to die).

In Maori Gully we discovered another lovely 'river wide' feature the hard (or maybe its the easy) way by going straight over without knowing what we were in for! Jim went down and over, banged his head on a rock and rolled back up and I followed bashing my sholder and knuckles and briefly wondering whther the recirculation would be a problem... All was good due to our new improved rolls (thanks to Jess our kayak school instructor) and we reached the get-out having had a great time and ready to try again the next day...all that remained was the 12km run back to pick up the car!

Jim on our second run down the river, this time having a scout before tackling this stretch of water!


Blogger cruiser said...

Hi Jim and Tory - John and Kristy from SV Raynad here. Found you !! email us john at totten dot com. Love to catch up with the news.

10:22 am  

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