Friday, 24 August 2012

Kaikoura down to Banks Peninsula

Hi Everyone,

We have been pretty slack about posting lately so I thought its about time we got a wee update up.. We arrived into Christchurch about a week? ago- lets just say it was a.. long.. day, the day (or night) we arrived!! We left from Motonau beach (about 80km north of Christchurch) in 4m swells.  We soon realized that landing was not an option so we made the call to push on all the way to Sumner.  I got sea sick for most of the day and it got worse after it got dark.  The Waimakariri River mouth was by far the scariest thing we have seen this whole trip- all the rivers were in massive flood and there were huge 5m high breaking waves stretching out to about 2km offshore!! Later on we got smoked by a few smaller breakers way offshore in the dark, and Sims hat got pushed down over his eyes so he couldn't see anything but he just had to keep paddling incase there was a second breaker behind it haha. I was slow as and we didn't reach land till 12.30am.. 16hrs in a kayak is not ideal!!! i dragged my boat up onto the boat ramp and lay down on the ground for a few minutes before throwing up one last time haha.  We grabbed our tent and headed into the park in Sumner and slept in a bush.. still no freedom camping fines!
We are planning on taking a wee break from paddling for a week to refuel our energy levels and make sure that we are good to go for the next gnarly leg down from Banks Peninsula to Oamaru.  Its looking like we are going to get to claim the slowest circumnavigation- awesome! haha.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


Hi Everyone,

We've made it down to Kaikoura after a few good days on the water. Had a day off today. Getting back in to it tomorrow but its looking like it might be a wet week!

Sim and Tara

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Sunny Tasman Bay, south easterlies and a portage through French Pass

Since arriving in Picton on Sunday afternoon we are still waiting for the weather to get better for our next push south.  Our focus this week has been on eating as much as we can whilst watching the Olympics..mean! Here's a wee update on our latest adventures.. pretty boring really with no rolling, no surf landings and no more 'time apart'.

Stephen's Bay

We left from Stephens Bay on the 24th of July in drizzly conditions, aiming for Cable Bay which sits about 35km across Tasman Bay.  About an hour into our crossing a south east wind picked up and the clouds blocked all visibility of where we were heading for.  After some 'discussions' on our direction I rummaged through Sims back hatch and pulled out a compass.  We blindly paddled into the driving rain for hours, catching glimpses of the far side between the squalls.. ahh, sunny Nelson.  About 7 hours later I made a sprint finish to a small beach at the entrance to the bay, desperate to pee.. relief!

Not so sunny Tasman Bay

The next day the forecast was for 35 Knot South Easterlies.  We battled into the wind all morning, watching huge gusts picking up water and willy wars speeding around us.  The going was slow so we decided to pull up on a beach and resorted to lying in tussocks, dodging face fulls of sand for the rest of the day.  The South Easterlies were still blowing the next morning but things seemed to have died down as we gapped it towards French Pass- a small gap that separates D'urville Island from the South Island.  We camped just on the Western side of the pass, a night of frustration as weka's attempted to steal our stuff.  I woke up in the middle of the night to Sim laughing, a weka was actually dragging my jacket away that had been under the tent!

We had been warned to get the tides right for the crossing, but for some reason it always seems so uninviting to get up in the dark to pack up and put on wet gear to get going.  When we finally did get on the water we arrived at the pass only to see a huge current pouring through.  It was impossible to paddle against so we opted for dragging our boats up the side haha.  It wasn't actually as bad as it sounds and after about 5 minutes we were past the worst of it and able to paddle away.  Making our way to Alligator Head we dodged dolphins and penguins for much of the day.

Rounding Cape Jackson the next morning we cruised along with a following wind- conditions I'm sure Paul Caffyn would have described as being 'a corker of a day for kayak sailing'.  Arriving on dusk near the entrance to the Tory Channel, we dodged the Interislander and pulled up on a farm where we were lucky to met Joe and Joy- legends! They let us sleep in their woolshed and gave us a shower.. i didn't realize we smelt that bad!  It's awesome how many amazing people we have bumped into along the way.  Rarangi down near Blenheim was our next port of call, and Sims uncle Richard picked us and our boats up and took us back to their home in Picton.  Thanks heaps Kaye and Richard!

Sim racing the Interislander into Tory Channel
So hopefully we will be on the seas chasing whales near Kaikoura soon.

:) Tara & Sim