Monday, April 16, 2007

That's it. It's over.
We did our last river trip yesturday; the Kaituna (again). Luck was kinda against us; the Wairoa wasnt running and we sold the car before we were able to get back to Taupo to run Artiritiri.

We sold our car! Im still in awe of how that happened, some holy, upper presence is the only explanation; we got $200 for it.
Let me explain: the Red Barren, although still Warrented, is hardly road-worthy: It has four holes in the roof, a boot that doesnt close, a bonnet that doesnt open, faulty electric windows, leaking doors, a dulled headlight, a stench from two guys living in the car for 3 months and, most importantly, a fluid leak that prevents the car from changing gear properly and totally disabling her ability reverse. But the torment is over. Shes gone.

Getting to Aukland without a car was pretty difficult, but thats a different story! We're here now - in a hostel until friday (when Doni leaves). Plans are just to get organised and enjoy our last few days in NZ.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A Happy Easter!

Saturday night we met up with Phil's brother Collin and Greg, both paddlers from Palmerson North. En convey, we drove north together and camped somewhere between Taupo and Rotorua. It was a really good evening, sitting around a fire with a large box of beers.

The next morning we headed to the Rangieki. We drove first to a waterfall near the bottom of the river. Its a 9m drop that Doni and I had already ran, however we got there to find levels pretty high. This meant the drop would have been very challenging; the line was far right, but at that flow the water was fiercly pushing left. So, after alot of umming and aahing we decided to give it a miss (im still wishing id gone for it).

Dry and frustrated, we drove up to the Jeff's Joy section of the river. Its a really nice run, mostly grade 3/3+ boogey water apart from the grade 4 Jeff's Joy rapids at the top. All but Greg had run the section before, but with my memory it was like a new river to me too. No horror stories to report, everyone got safely and happily down.

That evening we travelled to Rotorua (to paddle the Kaituna the next day). We went to the cinema to see ''300'', a very graphic ancient war movie - plenty of blood and guts, well recomended.

The next day we hit Rotorua's gem, the Kaituna. We ran it twice. I had forgotten just how good the river was! What a river. Man, it's perfect. Beautiful river, big drops, big boofs and playspots galour. Soo much fun ... i could stay on that river forever.

On Tuesday we scouted Artiritiri. Its massive! Steve Fisher claims it to be one of the most challenging runs he's ever made (apparently he got worked pretty hard about half-way down). Doni and I are probably going to run the bottom bit next weekend, its the easiest part of the section and has a nice pool drop at the end. (looking forward to that).

Catch Up

wow, im falling behind with this blog!

Left Abel Tasman AGES ago. Next stop was Wellington, where we spent a couple of days with Aunty Penny and the family. We had a great time just being lazy - chilling out around the house and doing very little (perfect!).

We left fed, watered and showered - totally refreshed for some more paddling. By late afternoon we reached the WhiteWater Environmental Park 10mins from Palmerson North. Described as "a river on steriods", the park was just that. It was a 400m section of river thats been modified with boulders and concrete slabs to form some awesome waves and holes. We ran it a total of 3 1/2 times before hitting the road again. It was great fun, even in SCUDs, and actually doing some playboating again was quite a novelty. One hole was particularly good, Doni threw a sick space-godzilla and i pulled off my first aerial-loop.

That night we reached Taihape and crashed at Phil's house (Bliss-sticks designer). The next day we ran the Rangitiki River, levels were low but still enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Trecking in Abel Tasman

a break from kayaking.
Doni and I left the Buller after two attempts at paddling; the first was a very low, sorry looking section of the Buller River. It was apparently a "bouncy grade 3/3+", however with a lack of rain in the area it was mainly grade 2 riffles with about three decent rapids in the whole 10kms. The next day we got as far as the put in for "The Earthquake Run" (sounds good doesnt it?), but it was too low to bother with. We did get one burst of excitement though; we ran Mauria Falls again - this was great fun, i tried a different technique this time; i decided to plug (pencil) it rather than boof (land flat) as i did before ... which hurt! It wasnt a good call, i ended up a little too close to the foam pile than intended - plus i was a little bit upside down, which always sucks (especially when lots of tourists are watching).

We travelled north to Abel Tasman National Park. It's a stunning area of the country, beautiful stretches of golden beach skirted by thick, green forest. We did a multi-day teck here (just got back). We got a boat taxi 55kms up the coast, then spent the next three days walking back. Being such a short track it was more of a trott/walk (with plenty of photo-stops and talking to randoms) rather than a hike, but never-the-less was most enjoyed. The views were amazing, wildlife, sound of pretty birds, blah blah blah. Last night we met up with 4 girls and a guy at our campsite. They were from the 'Kiwi Experience' (a pampered bus tour for the rich and dim tourists), which made great entertainment.: The scene that they greeted us when we arrived at their campsite was golden; the guy was being matcho, cutting fire wood in a very unauthodox manner and with very limited success. Three of the girls were trying to opperate a gas stove that their coach had organised for them - one was frantically going through the intruction leaflet whilst the other to just looked hopelessly lost at the stove as if it'd just landed from space. The last girl was pegging in her tent ... which, at that time, did not resemble anything that looked remotely like a tent. It was a fantastic show which had us both in (very descrete) stitches. You just can't write comedy like that! They were really cool people though, and we had a really nice evening aroud the campfire.
Today was the only day of bad weather, and my gosh, it was bad weather! It poured all day. We were totally drenched by the time we got back to the car and well in need of dry clothes, warmth and something to eat - which we've promptly seen too, so im pretty happy now.

Friday, March 23, 2007

hey hey, sorry if this is unimaginative -im short on internet-credit.

We're on the road again. Left the murky depths of Milford Sound a few days back now; say we're soft, but the weather was terrible! Rain pouring, wind lashing and temperatures a fridge would be proud of. We did get one river in though, the Tutoko - really nice continuous grade 4, similar to the Styx. The walk in was a nightmare; a jungle-treck wading down a small creek until its confluence with the main river - it was a real battle - climbing over and under trees, through thick bush and wading waist-deep in icy water - at one point having to crawl through a narrow part of the stream under a matrix of vines, fallen trees and other forest debris that had managed to accumulate there..... this going on for over 2hrs, with kayaks!

After Milford, mt Cook. Its beautiful. Did a river there - the Hooker. Started at the base of the montains, which was amazing. Similar in characteristics to the Fox, although not nearly as cold or as technical. Only the first rapid could be honestly classed as a 4 ... although a danger aspect of swimming still existed throughout (if you bail, they say you've only got about 4 minutes).

After the mountains, Queenstown - not much to report. Then (now) up to Merchison, to play around on the Buller for a few days (provided theres some water).

Friday, March 16, 2007

Hospital Flat

Climbing.......... my newest endevour ..........

My most recent job was gardening for a crazy old man. (seriously, he was most definately off his rocker; he talked to himself all the time and took far to much pleasure out of using power tools to break things). I worked with an Ice Climber who'd just returned from an expedition in Canada. cool bloke. So, for the last couple of days ive been doing a bit of climbing with him after work.
It was so nice to do some actual sport (rock) climbing rather than just gym walls. We went to the main climbing area of Wanaka, Hospital Flat (about 15mins from town). Pretty awesome stuff, we've done three climbs in total - "Big drop little drop", "Do i have too" and most recently "the Tombstone". Im not very good at the mo, but did manage too haul myself up all three, which im quite happy about. You get the coolest views from the top; being evening climbs we get to the peak to see the sun setting over the mountains of Wanaka.

Tomorow we leave. AT LAST! Im soo bored of Wanaka now, ive done it to death!
We're heading to Milford - couple of full on rivers down there including the Holyford and Auther Rivers... and, maybe a little....ahem .... sea kayaking , but we'll keep that on the low-down.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Citron Rapids

We've done this short section twice now - didnt comment on it the first time - but after running it a second time I thought it merrited a comment....

Citron is a cluster of three drops/sections making up one 600m(ish) rapid. Its situated along the Kavaroa River, just after its infamous big brother "Nevis Bluff". The gorge is tight, concidering the volume of water the river holds, making it one of the few 'big water' runs of New Zealand.
The first time we ran it as a strong team.
Doni and Tanner took the left line Scott and I took the right. Our line proved to be the most sensable (of course it did, i picked it). Doni and Tanner attempted to punch a meaty stopper - thus allowing for an easier second and third drop. Unfortunatly both got slammed into a pin wall and were held in a gnarely eddy (together!). Both worked there way out of trouble fairly promptly and cruised over the next couple of drops with no problems. Scott and I went far right - thus giving us an oppertunaty to boof our hole rather than just wrestle with it - both of us cleared the stopper and found our intended eddies - then ferried to the left and followed Doni and Tanner's lines down two and three. cool.

The second time we ran it (last sunday) it was MUCH higher - rising from 100 to 170 cumecs! This meant higher wave trains, fewer eddies (with nastier eddy lines) and monster holes!
The team consisted of Doni and I and two trainee instructors from Duneden, Rickie and Vaugon. We all decided on the right line this time - although this line had changed conciderably since the last time we had run it. The boof rock at the top was almost completely covered, demanding pin-point accuracy to avoid the monster hole below. To make matters worse a new hole had decided to form above the boof rock aswell!
We ran it in pairs - Doni would lead Rickie down, I would lead Vaugon.
Doni ran it first - he found himself slightly off-line and so ploughed into the first hole. The little German has alot of talent though, he rolled quickly and battled out of it, somehow he went on to clear the second hole (this making his line for the rest of Citron pretty straight forward). Rickie, bless him, followed Doni straight into the hole......WIPE OUT..... he ran the first drop upside down. After a few seconds he rolled up, just in time to see the second hole, open mouthed, as it totally engulfed him. The poor lad had quite the battle - had he been playboating, it would have been a spectacular display; loops, carwheels and alot of surfing. He swam the third drop where Doni was able to get him to the bank.
After watching Rickie, Vaugun decided to portage the top (and worst) section. He said he'd wait in the eddy at the bottom and then follow me down part two and three. I ran the rapid slightly harder right than Doni (hugging the bank), a risk which paid off and meant more speed and power behind the boof. Therefore a dry face for the first drop. Unfortunatly I was too busy whooping and being cocky about the whole thing to realise i had missed both eddies at the bottom, thus giving me no chance to paddle the must-make ferry to river left! (Fortunatly Vaugun got my signals and did NOT follow my line!!!). I therefore had a pretty gnarely line down rapid two and three. All i could think was "poo". On the bank Doni was frantically making gestures and mouthing that i should "paddle my ass off" and hope for the best. The line was pretty much just white. I had to punch about three/four holes in quick succession - instead of running a cruisy channel of wavetrains.... so, as you can imagine, i saw more of the river bed than the surface! -fortunatly the gods were with me, I made it through two holes, flipped on the next, but after three or four rolls i was luckily flushed through.

Great fun, everyone left happy - even Rickie was in high spirits on the way home ... it was about time he had a shower anyway.

We also ran the upper section of the Kavaroa River that day - the grade 3, "Dog Leg" - not really worth commenting on to be honest - pretty dull stuff, alot of flat water with tonnes of kayakers clogging up the eddies on every playwave.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Problems in Wanaka

hmmmmm .....

About a week ago the American boys headed back north.
Since then Doni and I have been in Wanaka (we've been trying to work). Unfortunatly things are turning a little pear-shaped: - we had a vineyard job for four days, then got totally injustly fired. Now we're desperately looking for employment although, at the moment, our efforts are in vein. Plus we havent been kayaking in absolutely AGES!!! it sucks

................... a well, scheisse passiert .................. (ask hannah)

on a happier note, i'm really getting into climbing - i bought a harness the other day, plus all the other bits and bobs - shoes, carabienas, belay thingy and chalk, its pretty cool.
We've been climbing quite alot (which is probably why i dont have much money left).
We went bouldering this morning actually, that means climbing boulders instead of cliffs. (it's free and doesnt require a climbing rope - which we dont have).

Later we're going to mess around at the town's canoe-slalom course. Its only grade 2, but we're DESPERATE!!!