It was morning in the camping shed in Motueka and I woke up from a great sleep in an actual bed. Things are looking up. As with the last few mornings it was time to find the largest body of water possible and jump in it to get clean. In this instance though there wasn’t really any located that close to where we stayed so we had to settle for using the nice hot showers instead. On one hand that does kind of takeaway from our adventuring ways but in another way it was a hot shower before a day out in weather that looked to be crap so it was probably the best idea we’ve had so far.
Our efficiency packing up our things and leaving has gotten better and better as the trip has gone on and we were that early leaving that we managed to get to Kaiteriteri in time to beat the morning rush. To be exact, we were that early that we were the morning rush! When we arrived the sea front contained us and… well… no one. Seems that if you get up a little too early for sleepy seaside towns you have to find a way to amuse yourself for a while.
After parking up and getting a breakfast of whatever was kicking about in the car at the time we headed to one of the Kayak rental places to find out what the info was on renting one for a bit. It turned out to be a really reasonable price for a few hours and even though our original plan was to go in the afternoon when the weather was better the guy at the stall convinced us to go a little later that morning. Apparently it is better to go while it is still a bit overcast rather than in the blazing sun and the guy seemed pretty confident so we went with his suggestion and mooched away to amuse ourselves for an hour before they were ready for the quick induction and to kick us out onto the water.
When it was time we headed back to the beach side shack to get out safety briefing and grab our equipment. With everything we seem to attempt our start is usually a bit of a joke and gets better as we go along, this was no exception. The girl giving us the briefing then asks us to help her drag the kayak down to the shore to get us in it and on our way with Craig helping her at the front and me at the back. When we got to the sea Craig just kept walking as she did. The difference with that scene though is that the instructor was bare foot and Craig was still wearing socks and trainers, seemingly oblivious to the ridiculousness of the situation he was key to.
Moving swiftly on before to many questions were asked about damp footwear, we headed out to sea in our kayak, destination split apple rock. We had been it as a place to go from the start of our adventure and even just starting the paddle out we could see why. The entire of Kaiteriteri is beautiful, picture perfect, postcard style scenery. It is the type of place that gets people jealous when you post a photo there… which is exactly what we made sure to do as often as possible! It took a little while for us to get into the swing of things and get our paddling in tune but as soon as we did we were an unstoppable force. At one point we even had a race against a French couple in another boat and smashed them. There may have been a possibility that they were not aware we were actually racing but I think that detracts from our victory so we will just skim over that for now. We paddle around the rock pools and out into the open ocean towards our destination out on the horizon.
I feel I should let you all now that we had not actually done that much research into our destination, and by much I mean any. We were aware it was a rock that looks like its a bit apple split in 2 and we were also aware it was in the ocean near where we started but other than that our information was limited. This is where the handy map we were given when we set off came in handy… sort of. The map wasn’t exactly accurate and didn’t really have a scale on it which lead to our second mistake of the day. On the map there were 6 beaches that we had to pass before we would get to our destination and by our calculations we had been at it for about 20 mins and so far only passed one beach. As we looked out at the open water we realised that we had quite a way to go ahead of us before we would get to our destination and since this was literally the only thing we had planned to do the whole trip it was time to get a move on. With the motivation that we needed to achieve our goal and a little team work we became an unstoppable paddling force, flowing through the waves like a majestic… thing that’s majestic… you get the idea! Minutes of silence passed as we concentrated on our stroke form and power to get to the point that currently looked like a dot in the distance. How anyone that is unfit manages to get out there and back in a few hours is completely beyond it.
It was at that point that we noticed the tour group that had left 20 mins before us in their kayaks pulling up onto a beach in a little cove back in land. Obviously the amateurs would not be able to make it all the way out like Craig and I would. Instead they had settled for stopping on a little beach by some caves and a massive sort of rock… that looked split.
“Craig…. How many rocks do you think there are out in the middle of the ocean in this exact area that look like the thing we are looking for?”
“Not sure but that cant be it as ours is miles away”
“…Are you certain because that kind of looks like a massive apple that is split in two?”
“We can check it out but I doubt it, we have miles to go yet!”
No prizes ladies and gentleman for guessing what we had stumbled across, not 25 mins from when we started. Only the exact place we were looking for. It turns out that the scale on the map is so bad that is classes the big beach that we had passed as multiple little beaches, split up where there were some rock formations. If we hadn’t spotted that tour group we would have probably ended up on some sort of missing persons list, surfacing somewhere on the north island a few weeks later!
Our next fail was bring the Kayak into shore. We were aware we needed to bring up our rudder before we hit the shallows and that we needed to power towards the beach which wasn’t an issue, the problem was that we forgot how quickly we needed to get out of the craft. And by we, I mean me. I was at the back of the kayak so when we hit the beach and slid up it all was well, for about 10 seconds. At that point the next wave came in, washed over my and soaked me. Yey for me being smart!
It was at this point, as we looked around at the other people on the secluded beach, that we realised that everyone had a picnic apart from us. Turns out the kayaks have a nice big hold in the middle where you can put things like a picnic, or your shoes, or a Frisbee…..Damn we have no Frisbee. All we did seem to have was mobile phone signal and a beautiful sight which lead to a couple of Skype calls home just to try and wind people up a bit. I think we succeeded which was at least one positive spin we could put on our failures so far, I mean apart from being in paradise of course!
Back on the kayak we realised that we had loads of time to spare so our mission now turned to trying to get into as many of the little coves as we could and dodge all the rocks long the way. We got back to the start point with loads of time to spare so decided to try attacking the more precarious shallows to see we were as good as we though. I am sure all of you are now expecting me to say how we fell in but on the contrary, we become kayak masters! Drifting in and out of the shallow pools, moving with the waves, reversing and doing 3 point turns. We had it all. Craig and Dan were an unstoppable team. We even beat the French back to the beach too so that’s 2 wins under our belt!
It was now the part of our day that we had dreaded. Attempting to find accommodation in paradise, on New Years Eve with no prior booking. Fun times ahead…
I’ve decided to split the post here as I think I keep writing things that are far too long which is the reason I never seem to get anything published that often.