Tag Archives: ocean

Day 8: New Years Eve (Morning)

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 1451510843177 (1280x813)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 DSC_2250 (1280x720)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 toDSC_2252 (1280x720) 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.

 

(Craig) Allans beach

IMG_20160508_114038 (480x640)Whenever people ask me what I like about Dunedin it always comes back to the fact that there is still so much so see an explore all around the area. Every weekend I try and get out and see a new sight, maybe a beach or a walk somewhere but always somewhere new and the great thing is I still have hundreds left to do.

It has gotten to a point that we no longer even plan where we are going to go as there are just to many hikes to do. Now we just pick a direction and drive until we find something interesting.

On this occasion we hadn’t even really planed to go in the first place so it was super last minute, yet we seemed to end at yet another awesome beach, in this case Allans Beach. Before we got there we didnt even know it existed, we just picked a road and eventually ended up at a car park that then lead to the beach.

20160508_111337 (1280x960)We made our way onto the rocks at the far end of the beach and probably spent about 15 mins just watching the water flow in and out of a small inlet as the waves came in. The seaweed in the inlet became almost hypnotising as it swayed with the movement of the ocean in the light blue, clear water.

After a bit more rock climbing and a look into the crystal clear water Craig climbed up on top of a rocky outcrop and suddenly got the urge to jump. Being that he is due to go home in a few weeks and this beach shares a name with him it seemed the perfect time and place to do it.

20160508_105624 (1280x960)Stripping down to his boxers and shoes (we know how he likes to go in the sea with those!) he dove in, making a pretty awesome slowmo video. In fact he liked it so much he did it twice!

Take a look 🙂 https://goo.gl/photos/ntodZA2hN7TsfimaA

Another day another adventure.

 

Day 6: Aladdins Carpet

I awoke in my tent to the sound of a groan. It was the noise of an old man attempting to rise after a rough nights sleep on hard, cold ground. At first I thought it was Craig until I realised that the noise was emanating from my own body. Everything ached. Everything was sore. It turns out that when you are not accustom to sleeping in a tent much then going “back to basics” can be a little harder than expected. Our foam rolls (henceforth on our travels known as “Aladdins Fucking Carpet!”) were far too thin and constantly rolled up at the ends. Craigs had the added benefit of having some silver foil on it which I suppose would help if we needed to cook a chicken in an emergency but mainly did bugger all for us.

It was at this point that we remembered our wild and manly claims that night before that jumping into a large body of water was going to be our new road trip ritual. Yesterday the lake water had turned out to be far more inviting that we ever could have imagined, however the large waves of the Southern Pacific seemed to leave a little more to be desired. The key thing is thought that we are both men of our word and a deal had been struck. It was time to suck it up and dive into the ocean.

Much can be said for the energy giving properties of caffeine to do a good job at waking up in a morning. Its warm, taste and slowly brings you around to have a focus for the day. Dunking yourself under the crashing waves of the sea on the other hand has an affect 20 times stronger in a fraction of a second and makes you feel alive like nothing else can. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t jump under the waves and think “Wow, I am so happy to be alive right now”, what actually happened is I jumped in, scream “HOLY FUCK CRAIG, WHAT THE FUCK ARE WE DOING??!?” and ran back out again. Sometimes I guess we feel alive against our will too. In hindsight I am glad I did it. It isn’t something that used to be on my list of daily activities and was certainly outside of my comfort zone but that is what adventure should about. Doing the things you are not sure about doing just because you can. In the moment though I was freezing cold, regretting life decisions and well in need of the traditional wakeup coffee!

DSC01975 (1024x768)Over the course of the trip so far most of the days drives have been relativly short but quite tiring. Every day involved some driving and some adventuring but we realised that we had not really travelled that far, yet we had quite a long way to go. With this in mind we made the decision to use the day to make as much progress as we could and do a long drive up the coast and across to the Able Tasman national park all in one shot. This meant about 5 hours worth of driving for the day but would then put us into the area we wanted to be in for us to relax and chill out a bit more for the next few days. The things about New Zealand though is that just going on a big drive can be part of the adventure. Around every corner the scenery changes and we spot more and more natural wonders and amazing sights. These sights are not advertised tourist locations, but rather just little added bonuses on the trip. They are the type of things that would attract a crowd in the UK but over here they are just yet another amazing outcrop of islands or cliffs or gorge or river.

As we headed north there was one attraction that we did want to stop off at which was the Punakaki Pancake Rocks further up the west cost. The pancake rocks formed over 30 million years ago under the sea and then over time the seismic activity has lifted them out of the water for the elements to then cut away at the rocks and leave these strange and amazing pieces of natural scenery. Due to the way the tide comes up into some of the caves below there are also blow holes that water sprays up and out of at certain times of the day. Unfortunately we were not there are the right time for this, but just watching the DSC01969waves crash against the cliffs was enough to get a decent enough idea of just how powerful the water was and how crazy it would be to be caught inside one of those caves. The ocean is such a powerful beast and moments like this make you realise it and respect it for that.

As we were exiting the little loop track of the Pancake rocks we looked over and spotted a familiar face. Hundreds of miles from home and we bump into another person that we know! This time it was my flatmates friend Amy with her Son Mekalo who were on an adventure of their own up the west coast. It was such crazy timing as if our timing was off by just a minute we wouldn’t have been in the same place at the same time and would never have even noticed each other. Its so weird how that happens here, yet also quite comforting in a way. No matter where you are there always seems to be a friendly face if you really need one.

We hit the road again and headed across the country, taking our way to Takaka on the North coast around Golden Bay. Even thought the drive took hours the miles just slipped by as the scenery forever changed before us.

Eventually we hit Motueka on the coast, only a small hop over some hills from our final destination for the night. In our mind we only had about 30 mins to go as it seemed pretty close on a map but we hadnt bothered to zoom in on the map and see just how windy the road was that lead across the pass. On closer inspection the entire road was switchbacks and hairpin turns stretching for miles and slowing our progress right down. It would have been fine if we were the only ones on the road but we somehow managed to get ourselves stuck behind the slowest cars in the whole of NZ who slowly struggled to get up the steep hills. Every few mins we would say “just a little further” before taking a turn and seeing even more road stretched out in front of us.

When we finally made it to Takaka the place was packed.DSC01983 It seemed like everyone had had the same idea as us and gone there for their holidays. The streets were lined with people and cars and we knew we could possible find any accommodation there so we went into search mode to try find somewhere to find a bed for the night.

We eventually found a place at a campsite just down the road, at which point we realised that camping in New Zealand is serious business over the Christmas break. There must have been a thousand people on this massive site, most of them Kiwi families having their Christmas breaks away. Most of the tents were more like temporary encampments then the sort of thing I was used to seeing. Many of them having shelving, tables and whole kitchens set up inside of them. Outside sat the truck with bikes in the back, kayaks on top, towing a boat along for the ride. This was not an uncommon occurance and it seems to me like the Kiwi dream involves staying in a tent to afford all the toys to have fun all day. To be fair enough the place was a hive of activity with good facilities which is more than we could ask for.

We ended up getting one of the last available places that happened to be next to a British and American couple that were travelling together. They had been in a car accident the day before that had written off one of their cars and had then all piled into one car before continuing. They came around a corner to find another driver on the wrong side of the road and had to swerve into the ditch to avoid a head on collision. Luckily no one was hurt but it did make us much more aware of the dangers that could be lurking around any corner as we continue our trip.

The 6 of us chatted away all night as the sun began to set. I would love to tell you what we talked about for hours on end, however a combination of a long day, time passing and lots of ciders means that I cant really remember much.

What I can remember is that we ended up taking a wonder out onto the beach before heading to bed to sit and watch the stars. Out there with nothing much around the sky was so bright and the stars some of the most amazing I have ever seen. Yet another day of adventuring down and another amazing day spent with great people.

One last consolation was that after the fun nights sleep on Aladdins carpet I ended up going into a store and buying an air bed. BEST PURCHASE EVER! Should have done it days ago!

 

I’m on my way home… Kinda!

Although the title of this post is completely factual it is maybe a little misleading so let me explain. At the moment I am in the City of Dunedin which is the furthest point away from the UK that I can get while on land.

Today I took a walk with one of my new room mates to get our bearings and try and find the beach. After about 45 mins of walking we finally found it and spent a while chilled out there on the beach chatting and contemplating life. That beach is technically the furthest point from home I will Best office everever get and so it was a quite profound moment to realise that every step further towards the sea we took was the furthest we had ever been and would also be the furthest we would ever go.

As I stood at the waters edge with the freezing water of the Southern Ocean hitting my feet I accomplished one of my goals for life. I have finally been as far as I can possibly get, something that I didn’t really thing I would ever get around to accomplishing when I was back at home, dreaming of travelling. What this means now is that every step I take is another step closer to home, no matter were I really go. I cant guarantee when I will be home or what route I will take to get there but what I can say is that I am now slowly on my way, no matter how long it takes.

DSC_0839 (1024x576)Yesterday I also randomly ended up taking a look around a Chinese garden located in Dunedin to commemorate all of the Chinese immigrants that came over to help with the gold mining. It was quite strange to randomly find it, however it was quite pretty so worth taking a few pics of it.

Tomorrow I plan to spend the day in the library and treat it like a working day to try and get a handle on what I am doing, where I am heading and what I want to see and do along the way. Sounds like a dull thing to do while on holiday, however as Padd rightly points out “the real world catches you eventually!”

…In other news I also found a new rock….

balancing Dunedin