Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The End Of Our Journey

On the water at dawn for the final leg of our journey to Jackson Bay. It was another perfect day to complete our trip. After 3 hours we kayaked onto Neils Beach to take a quick snack with our support crew. On the beach at Jackson Bay were Paul Caffyn, Kay, Belinda & Margaret who greeted us with pavlova & champagne. It was great to have their company to celebrate the completion of our circumnavigation of the South Island. It had taken us 71 paddling days to complete approximately 3,100 kms of what many consider to be the most demanding & spectacular coastline in the World. We have seen some amazing sights and are indebted to the people we have befriended along the way.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Penultimate Day

Perfect conditions once again saw us making great progress to the Haast River. We kept well clear of the large breaking waves at the entrance to the river, but still had a good view of the very long Haast bridge. A quick stop at Haast Beach for lunch before carrying on to Mussel Point. A short day to-day to enable us to catch up on our blog and send a few e-mails in preparation for what we hope will be our last day to complete our circumnavigation of the South Island.

Dolphins at Knights Point

Monday 17th May
An easy start with a smooth entry from the river to the sea, saw us paddling around Tititira Point on our way to Knights Point. This was a very rugged coastline which we treated with respect, before kayaking into Whakapohai Bay to meet up with the girls for lunch. This is where the local fisherman used to launch his boat by a cable stretched across the Bay. Near Knights Pt. we were surprised by two dolphins leaping from the sea in front of our kayaks. On reaching Ship Creek, Margaret & Belinda helped load our kayaks onto the car for a quick trip to the local motel where we spent the night.

Gillespies Beach to Ohinemaka River

Sunday 16th May
After a difficult launching off Gillespies Beach we made good progress to Hunt Beach and met with Paul Wilson & Family. After a quick snack we continued on to Bruce Bay where we caught up with our support crew, Margaret & Belinda.
Then continued on to the Ohinemaka River to make camp. Here we scored the use of a whitebaiter's hut with a great view of the bay & surrounding coastline.

Clear Sky and a Calm Sea

Saturday 15th May
A good send off from the local community of Okarito and Melz & I kayaked out of the lagoon and into a moderate surf before continuing our journey towards Gillespies Beach, our planned stop for the night. Conditions were near perfect and as the sun rose into the sky, the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps created a magificant picture against the clear blue sky. Stopped for lunch at Galway Beach before heading around Gillespies Pt. into the rougher sea breaking onto Gillespies Beach. A difficult landing with both of us having to perform an eskimo roll in the surf before riding our bows up the beach. For this final part of our trip we were fortunate enough to have my wife Margaret & Belinda Mulvany, who had driven up from Invercargill, supporting us along the way. We all spent an enjoyable night camped under the stars at the DOC camp site.

Under Way Again

Friday 14th May
What a way to celebrate Melanie's birthday, travelling to Okarito to attempt to finish our trip. Off the ferry at 6.45am and straight up to Stuart & Jenny Hart's home at Waikawa Bay for bacon & eggs for breakfast. Then on down to Okarito to repack our kayaks in preparation for an early start the following day. Our thanks to Paula & Swade for having the stove going for us to walk into a nice warm house.