Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Able Tasman National Park (4 Geeks and a Gal go for a walk/kayak)

Right well seeing I've now got most if not all the photo's from the tramp I thought I better make a post about it. On a quick note photo's in the post are from either Alethea (A's) or Matt P (M's) seeing I didn't take a camera with me.

Any way we left Christchurch about 1pm on Sunday 13th of November and headed rapidly (well as rapidly as Matt's van is capable of any way) to Brightwater just out side Nelson where we spent the night at Fraser's parent's place. At this point our party consisted of my self, Andrew, Fraser, and Matt. We all headed off to bed early at least by our normal standards (11ish I think) after sorted out some of our gear and deciding what stuff we could probably do with out.
We got up very early the next morning (6:30ish I think) as we had to be at Marahau by 8:30am for Kayak training. So after finally waking every one up and grabbing breakfast we headed on to Marahau, arriving there at about 8:30am. Apon arriving there we seemed to enter a brief state of confusion while attempting to find Alethea who'd been staying at her family Bach in Tata Bay. First our driver decided that a kayaks 80m sign on the side of the road meant 80m up the driveway next to it, after that was corrected we arrived at the kayak hire place and tried to find Alethea, only to get some what confused by the fact that two different companies "Kayaks Able Tasman" and "Able Tasman Kayaks" had both decided to set up shop on what was pretty much one big section. Alethea having organised the Kayaks we were some what confused until we spotted her around behind one building. Once having met up we started the kayak training, a rather brief and some what shallow set of lessons, the most valuable of which was probably the 20 or so minutes covering the weather and where we shouldn't go. Apart from that it involved a lot of hoping into kayaks in the "correct" manner while they were sitting on the ground and practicing a number of different strokes while standing on the grass in full safety gear. Finally headed down to the beach with the kayaks, where we were "tested" ie hoping in the kayaks paddling about a bit turning around and landing them after which we were offically "trained" (and the 4 of us who trained being effectively 30 something dollars poorer each)!


After the training we headed back to Motueka for lunch then proceeded onto Alethea's Bach for the rest of the day. Getting there we sorted out the food that had been brought up from Christchurch then three of us Andrew, Alethea, and I headed down to the beach with a Kayak and two Kayak like things where we intending to make use of the things.
Apon reaching the water Andrew promptly launched him self out on the purple one proceeded about two metres out into the water and Sunk.

Before! (M's)

After! (M's)

Several photo's later and a decent bit of laughter I proceeded to launch my self on the purple thing while Matt videoed the launch in hope of a second sinking which thankfully didn't occur. It would appear that the purple thing considered it's self a Kayak for masses of 60kg of less and a submarine for masses above about 70kg. As a result Andrew ended up using the Green and purple one I'd been intending too us as it was able to stay a float with him on in.
After about an hour we returned to shore having visited the closer of the two islands. The rest of the day and evening was spent playing Settlers (Of course Matt took it!), cards and walking along the beach. We headed to bed early again only to discover that one of the next door neighbors had decided it was apparently a good night to let of some fireworks which lasted for an hour or so.


Any way we were up early again the next morning (7ish I think) added a days food to our packs and headed off with Alethea dropping us off at the start of the track at about 9.15am. After which we started walking the longest day of the tramp, as we were skipping the first hut and walking to Awaroa Hut a walk of around 19km of hills and beaches, so that we could meet up with Alethea and the Kayak the next day at Onetahuti beach.

The beginning! (A's)

The Second Ridge (M's)

Lunch, Andrew playing Andrew B's game! (M's)

Needless to say that was a rather long walk. We had lunch at Mutton cove a bit before 1pm, and finally reached Awaroa hut at about 5:45pm where we discovered that sausages are not the best food to take tramping as they're a pain to cook. The evening was spent tending our blisters and sore legs and watching the estuary that we had walked across quickly fill up, and then when the moon came out the way it played across the waters. We finally headed off to bed at about 11:30pm where I discovered to my horror that a certain person snores, and rather loudly at that when on an less than optimal sleeping surface.

One of the Beaches on the way. (M's)

The Awaroa Hut. (M's)

Moonlight. (M's)

Earlier talking with the Warden who came to check the accommodation passes we discovered a minor problem. We had apparently miss read the tides for the next day, the plan had for Alethea to catch a water taxi with the kayak to Onetahuti at 9am where we'd meet up with her at about 10am. When the tide allowed us to reach the beach. Nice plan but it really didn't work to well when we found out that we'd not be able to cross the beach till about 1pm due to the tide. With out cell phone reception it was rather annoying.

The result was the next morning I was up at 5:45am, at 6am was at the start of the next section of the track, by 7am at the top of the ridge and by about 8am I was at Onetahuti about 30mins before the tide got to high to cross the beach. Where for the next 2 hours I waited in the sun while dodging miniature flying elephants and enjoying the nice quite beach. At 9:30 all of a sudden 6 water taxis turned up and started off loading passengers, then at 10 another one turned up with Alethea, her father, and the rest of our food. We proceeded to load the Kayak with our packs and the extra food and launched. We spent the rest of the day hoping from bay to bay along the coast with frequent brief pauses for photo's to be taken.

Arches (A's)

It had originally been intended for us to head back to Onetahuti at 1pm to meet with the others for lunch but a reasonable wind at our backs and weather that was looking iffy soon put paid to that idea. Instead we headed down a couple of extra bays to Sandfly bay and up the river behind the beach for a look around. After looking around there we headed back up to Bark Bay only to discover the wind had picked up noticeably while we were in Sandfly bay, the result was a rather nasty 30 or so mins paddling directly into the face of the wind which was wiping up the sea quite effectively.

Falls River Sandfly Bay (A's)

Bark Bay Hut (A's)

Not a pleasant experience paddling into that sort of wind. Having got to Bark Bay beach some confusion over the location of the hut and the rather low tide lead to the beaching of the Kayak in a rather odd location some distance from the hut. Once the kayak was emptied we managed to dragged it further up the beach above the high tide line and we settled into the hut to wait for the other to arrive, which they did a bit latter. The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent playing cards, walking down to the beach and taking photos of dolphins and making tea. A short trip was made down to the beach later that evening to see if the moon was going to make a showing in a reasonable time, but an inconveniently placed head land meant we all headed off to bed about 10ish, where the human noise maker attempted to form a choir with a couple more of it's type.

Dolphins (M's)

Any way, up again about 7am with Alethea dashing off with her Camera to get some early morning pictures of the beach. Once every one was up and about and had breakfast we load up the kayak with the food and as much of the extra gear as we can fit and Andrew and Matt take off for the day. At about 10:30 We finally started up the track again for the 2-3h walk to Torrent Bay. Stopping now and then for photo's when the track give a decent view of something.

Falls River Swing Bridge (A's)

The track was a lot busier that day and we meet quite a lot of groups heading in the other direction. Luckily the walk wasn't not to bad and the hills aren't as step as the first day. So we made good time, arriving at torrent bay at about 1:30pm. Forty or so minutes later Andrew and Matt turned up in the kayak for lunch they'rd headed into the estuary behind torrent bay for a look. After lunch they hopped back in the Kayak and headed across the bay to the beach where the hut was. While the 3 of us took the low tide route across the estuary and over a hill to get to the beach the hut is on. It wasn't quite low tide so Fraser decided to hang back for an hour or so till the water went down even further to avoid getting his shoes wet. Alethea and I went on and got to the hut about 40mins after having started walking, covering a nice flat but rather muddy estuary and a beach with one brief low steep hill in the middle. Once we'rd unpacked in the hut Andrew decided to go for a swim and the rest of us decided to go along for a paddle in the water, being not quite so optimistic about the water temperature. Andrew eventually went in up to his shoulder (took him about 15mins) with the rest of us hanging back and looking at the starfish and crabs we could see moving about the bottom of the bay. We were then lured by a pile of rocks in the middle of the beach and a number of little streams of water running down the beach to the sea. The result of which was us Guys spending an hour or so building Dams, undermining them and redirecting water in channels to and from the dams, while Alethea wandered around taking plenty of photos of the fun.

The Big Dam(A's)

Matt the human Dam (A's)

Tea followed back at the hut before went walking over the ridge to the next bay and up to the look out point for more photo taking. Much to Alethea's apparent amusement and bemusement this walk involved several of us sprinting down hill along the track as fast as possible cutting a 10min walk to 2mins. Running/sprinting seemed to use a different set of muscles to walking and kayaking and as a result was considerably more comfortable, at least until we had to stop to recover our breath go endorphins!

Beach at Night (M's)

After getting back from that it was off to bed, for what was probably the best night for those of us sleeping in the hut. The human noise machine took a night off and with the hut fairly empty and no one replaced him. Also we'd grabbed the top bunks for a change and being next to a small open window meant that my sleeping bag temperature stayed down low enough that I was actually comfortable. The two tenting on the other hand apparently had their worst night with the camping ground being quite busy and full of a large party of people in there late teens.

The next morning it was up and off again with the walk/kayak down to Marahau where the kayak was due to be returned at 4pm. Andrew, Matt and Fraser were walking while Alethea and I were in the kayak. After loading the kayak up with as much gear as possible we launched it at about 9:30am and proceeded around the bay to the estuary behind Torrent beach for a gander. After which we proceeded out of Torrent bay and down along the coast visiting a number of the bays on the way Akersten Bay where we were supposed to met the other for lunch. Only to arrive to find they weren't there, after waiting close to an hour and attempting to send the odd txt message to find out where they were we headed back out, only to receive a txt a couple of hundred meters off shore saying they'd decided to have lunch a couple of bays further on and would we please hurry up and get there.

Shot of the Coast line (A's)

One of Many Beaches (A's)

After lunch we decided to head out to Adele Island but by then the wind had picked up and after getting half way there it was decided it would be easier to go with the wind and visit Fisherman Island instead. So we swung by that heading past it about 200m out after increasing wind and swell ruled out going round the far side of it. After that it was just heading back to Marahau unfortunately the wind and swell forced us to tack into the wind a couple of times to make sure we ended up landing at Marahau not a couple of km's further down the coast. We eventually landed the kayak next to the boat ramp at about 3:30 I headed off to get the kayak company to come and pick us up, which they promptly did along with another group who'd turned up shortly after us. Arriving back at the kayak hire place with the kayak we spotted the others just opening up the Van. A decent shower later and we headed off back to Brightwater for a BBQ tea at Frasers place stopping only for a "Real Fruit Ice Cream" on the way. The evening was spent watch Harry Potter 1 after we hired it out from the movie store.

The next day we visited Fraser's relative then had lunch at mine before spending the afternoon wandering around Nelson and wasting money in bookstores. That night we watched "Saved" which Alethea and Matt hadn't seen before and as a result we were amused by both the Movie and the expressions on their faces!
Nelson (M's)

Sunday we headed back to Christchurch arriving about 4pm.


Anaru said...

A great summary of the trip. If only I hadn't missed Andrew's 'sinking'. I really enjoyed the trip and might get around to posting something of my own over the next week. At least you don't include me as a geek. :-)

EONsim said...

I was slightly tempted to. However remebering your vigorous protests at previous attempts, and the considering that "4 Geeks and a Gal" sounded better than "5 Geeks" or "4 Geeks and a Muso".