Don’t be spoiled by this picture, it’s been really 3 hard days for me to paddle on the Abel Tasman coast. The weather was really bad, strong wind, rain, huge waves, we almost had to call in... And to paddle, I was way too weak compared to the other ones. :-) Just kidding of course! It was the complete opposite. A dream sea kayak trip!
After giving a couple of phone calls and even going to the i-Site center in Nelson to try to hire a solo sea-kayak to make the Abel Tasman paddling on my own to keep the expenses down I had to resign myself and went on a guided tour for 3 days for 250 euros to paddle almost all the coast. You can’t hire a sea kayak as a solo paddler in NZ anymore since they had too many deaths, it’s a law apparently. Many people own an open kayak and think they can paddle in rough weather on the sea without problem in a normal sea kayak... but that’s completely different so, even as an ex-member of the French kayak team I couldn’t get one. I tried everything... Sure I could hike instead of doing it with a kayak but it’s definitively not the same as you can’t see as much as paddling next to the shore.
So on an early morning, here I am, going on a guided trip... it’s been ages since I had a guide for an activity, with I don’t know how many persons, hoping that the guide will be enough nice to give me a single kayak (still hopping the little guy). It didn’t work since we were an even number of clients and it was much easier for her to do the safety in a single one, which I understood. So here I go with another mate in front of me in the kayak since there was no way I will sit in front and let another guy steer it. Who is it gonna be? Pretty easy since there was only 1 single guy in the group with the 2 other couples. Any kayak experience? None... I’m sitting in the back, no choice for the 1st day at least.
We started to load all the kayaks and our gears on a motor boat for the ride to the most northern point of the trip, since we will paddle only one way.
After unloading everything from the taxi boat, well, it was time to load the kayaks and of course, as the guide could guess that I will be a propeller, we got more loads than the over ones. But I’m not complaining, it wasn’t so much harder anyway.
Now, time to get onto the sea and paddle this beautiful coast with a happy mate in front of me who can enjoy paddling with his very private kayak instructor and propeller.
The paddling was easy and we could enjoy the big blue sky we had. As I hoped on y guided tour, Genna our guide, gave us the little inside stories about the different properties on the coast. The funniest one was one guy who blow up his house with dynamite when he had to return back the land to the National Park administration since he had to remove the house.
The highlights of the trip were the seals we could see from really close, George the dolphin who gave us a little show and entertained us for a long time, the beaches and the big blue sky. The best way to get a good overview of the trip is to browse the pictures (link at the end). Here are some of the nice pictures:
George, the dolphin
Sunrise at Onetahuti bay
Lunch break on a beach
Position, speed, distance with my GPS Suunto X10 watch
Oh I know, it doesn’t really look like your canteen, but you can always change of work and become a sea kayak instructor in Abel Tasman ;-)
The good thing about doing it with a sea kayak is that you can take almost anything you want we you. For the lunch and dinner we had so much food and even beers and wine! Yes beers and wine included in the price of the trip. On the second day, for the dinner’s dessert we had a fruit chocolate fondue. What did you had for dessert today? You’re not the only ones who are starving ready this, all the people passing next to our table where looking at us like poor dogs. We made some of them happy since we couldn’t even finish it and gave it away to another family camping. You should have seen their eyes when they saw the chocolate coming!
The food was delicious for each single meal, worth the price! For one breakfast we got the full English breakfast with French toasts, bacons, beans... Maaaan, I couldn’t believe it!
In the same camping we got a rainy afternoon, it wasn’t a perfect weather for 3 days but it didn’t last that long. And while I was chilling out I saw a guy putting up his tent and could resist taking a picture of this poor man who never put up a tent in his life before I guess. He didn’t stretch the edges of the tent, and started to attach the side ropes in the tree, all of this with his backpack on, and his girlfriend in the tent when the poles were in place. A lot of people are coming to New-Zealand and think they will hike and camp for their first time as it’s the place to do it. I heard a lots of funny stories from locals.
Jealous after all of this? I will only say one thing as the sea birds: baaaaahhhhh
All the pictures are at the usual place, and here is the direct link to the album of this amazing trip: http://photos.shakeyourlife.com/New-Zealand/Abel%20Tasman%20National%20Park/
A must do if you’re coming here!