Kaiteriteri, New Zealand
When we first got onto the water, our guide gave us loads of tips on how to paddle, navigate, judge if an area is safe etc. and we spent half the day with her – just so that she could check our group were ok. We got the hang of it easily and not only were we superfast, we were also confident and happy – as there were blue skies everywhere – and no wind. We stopped off at plenty of pretty bays along the way, and really didn’t expect any problems – till we encountered ‘The Mad Mile’. It was getting late in the afternoon and we had been warned about the wind picking up. The swell was about 3 metres high – and when you are sitting in the front of a double kayak and you are only about 50cm above sea level – it looks very scary. There were times when I thought we were going to capsize – and although I wasn’t too worried about getting wet, I was worried about our gear (camera, sleeping bag, food etc) getting wet. We thought about turning back – but as it seemed like we were already half way to the next beach, we just paddled hard and fast. We saw others doing the same, and once safely on land, we exchanged stories. Even experienced kayakers had been scared! We pitched our tent for the night, went for a walk, cooked our dinner and went to sleep under our blanket of bright stars!!! We woke up the next morning to find a grey sky. After a quick brush of teeth with a few sips of leftover bottled water, we got into our kayaks again. We visited a couple of tiny islands inhabited only by a permanent colony of seals. There were pups that were playing, and older ones that swam over to our kayak and had a good look at us. Some even swam under our kayak! We also visited some really tiny beaches, where the only way to reach them was by kayak. The sun came out for a bit, and with the turquoise water, the odd cave to explore and lots of time to relax, we really enjoyed our 2-day trip. When our water taxi came to collect us, we noticed that the speed boat took nearly an hour to get back to our starting point. It was then that we realised just how far we had kayaked. Back on land, there was just one thing on our minds – a hot shower. We drove to Nelson and checked into our cabin, and it was then that I suddenly remembered our drybag – it must have been left on the water taxi and it contained all our valuables – especially my camera which was a present from my last workplace, and Mikes expensive swatch watch. Even though we phoned up straight away, no-one had seen the bag. Although they were searching the boat and the beaches, it was getting dark. That night we went to bed upset and hardly slept.