Thursday, February 17, 2011

Where Campers Fear to Tread



Date:Feb 17th

Weather: sunny

Swell: 2meter SE

Wind: 19 -27knt SE

Distance: 12knm

Camp: Motuanua bay of islands

View Kayak Down Under NZ Journey in a larger map

Back Country Food Review

Meal: Roast Chicken

Impression: wonderful large portion, tastes wonderful, jusrt like a real roast chicken meal, with rich gravy and creamy mashed potatoes. You can make your potatoes separate or just add to the mix. One of our favorite meals so far, Simple, Real tasty, and hearty.

Stars: 10 out of 10


Feb 17th Where the campers fear to tread.


Oh boy what a start to the day this morning! As soon as we crawled out of the tent it was obvious the wind had not dropped at all. Loading the boats we could see the white caps come by, though until we paddled out around the corner, we didn’t have a clue at how much bigger the swell had got. Paddling into the nearby reef area, there was wave action everywhere, and we were funneled at a couple of triangular rocky spires with a corridor between them, that beckoned us through as it meant we wouldn’t have to paddle out around them for an extra 30 minutes. I had watched the waves pass through the passage and it seemed safe enough though a bit messy, and so I paddled through, followed closely by Dave.

I got through cleanly and turned to paddle out around a group of rocks on the other side, as I did a big set of waves reared up and started funneling into the channel. I paddled forward, as they closed in and started breaking across the rock wall on my left, I paddled up a step face, and my heart sank!

I was clear and ok, but what about Dave? Dave was behind me and would that wave break? Would Dave punch through or be driven into the wall behind him? As I crested the wave I looked back to see Dave’s pale face looking fixed on this wave coming at him. I dropped behind the wave and then next minute Dave comes busting through the white wash. I turn back, just in time to see the next big wave, this one bigger, I again crest it, I again look back, Dave again looks pale and determined and again launches through it. I again turn to meet the third monster, my heart is pounding, my arms twitching with adrenaline, can Dave keep it up? If not what do I do, where to I take the pieces? I am sorry Dave I didn’t tell you to wait and make your own choice when to go, I am sorry I didn’t warn you more……..

WE ARE THROUGH! Everything is OK, just some real pumped up nerves!

No more breakers, no more danger, no more fun…. Well no there is more fun, but we made it through that, and Dave informs me. That was my worst nightmare come true right then. We now have to face 2 Miles of messy 2 meter swell bouncing of a cliff face and then a 8 knm crossing into the bay of islands in big swell and 20knt head winds. Dave is tentative, what if it gets worse? The forecast is for improving conditions, though who knows. “I am happy to go on if you are!” I tell Dave.

Dave thinks, then “you need to tell me that it is going to be safe” Dave informs me.

“No bloody way!” I reply “you have to be comfortable making your own choices about your life and mine! I aren’t your guide, I am your partner; I am good to go, are you? If not, we turn back, if so … we go on! What is it?”

DCIM\100GOPRODave thinks again……. And then paddles on into the rolling splashing surging swell. we stop for lunch on a beach just before the opening to the bay of islands. developers watch us from above the beach to make sure we don’t set up camp on the grass, or wander to far onto there land. as soon as we pack to go the large black SUV atop the hill drives of aswell. hmm



For the rest of the day we dip, dive disappear and reappear in the big swell, Storm petrels dance with their feet on the waves as the fly across the sea looking for food in the strong winds. Shear waters and Black Petrels, swoop and soar inches above the rolling seas like fighter planes, they seem to just love the exhilaration of the gusting winds and the white crested swell. The birds often pass, mere inches from our heads, leaving us open mouthed at their boldness and beauty. Travelling in a kayak we seem to be not even noticed by them and often we drop down the same face as they fly down it beside us.

A large 5 foot shark, cruises between the swells as we push forward, it is a beautiful sight and makes us happy we are not swimming in this sea right now. Dave comments that he has now learnt to go with the wind and waves and not fight it, not rush it. We both cruise comfortably across the channel and into the islands of the bay of islands. We are greeted by no camping signs, however we are tired, and they signs give no indication as to which island we can camp on, so finding a good tree to hide the boats in and another the camp under, we set up eat and sleep well. Another well earned day, lessons learnt, more limits pushed and another beautiful sunset. Good stuff, and the boats just take it all in their stride.



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