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The Great, Great Walk Compromise

Rat Attack!

sunny 28 °C

We woke early and prepared for our kayak journey. We were driven about another twenty minutes through the national park until we got to the part of the lake where the kayaks are kept. We were lucky that all our stuff fit into the waterproof storage areas of the kayak and into my dry bag. After being given our lifejackets and waterproof skirt thing, we were shown where to do on a vague map, and sent on our way.

Kayaks are much more difficult to paddle than canoes.

Well, not more difficult, but certainly more tiring. Especially for a girl with all of one muscle in her arms. We set off at a slow pace and stayed near to the shore of the lake since the wind was making the lake rather choppy.

"The waves on the lake can get up to six feet high," we were told. I think if I saw a six foot high wave coming for me - in a small plastic water craft that I am strapped into - my own panicking heart would shake the thing enough to flip it.

We didn't get any six foot waves though. At one point we had to leave the shore to cross over a large bay through the open water. The water was so choppy, and our little kayak was being bounced around so much that I actually started to get sea sick. Despite my burning arms, we had to keep paddling, because the kayak is much more stable if you are moving than if you are still. We did eventually make it to the other shore, which we had to follow until we got to a point called "the narrows."

We were warned by another kayaker that the narrows were especially rough today, so when we came to a nice little safe docking spot right at the entrance to the narrows, we decided it was a good place for a rest and for a lunch break.

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Lunch was peanut butter and strawberry jam tortillas and granola bars. Despite the super high energy sugar rush that lunch should have provided, we opted for a nap instead. Best. Nap. Ever. Although perhaps napping on the rocks, with no shade, in the full New Zealand sun is probably not a good idea. As a result of all my recent time being spent outdoors, my hair is now so sun bleached blonde, and my skin is so dark (my tan has rendered me the same colour as my Samoan co-worker) that I look like one of those plastic girls with an unlimited fabutan account and too much peroxide. But its all natural.

After our nap, we decided to take on the narrows. Which were not that rough at all. In fact they were probably calmer than our open water crossing from earlier in the morning. After going through the narrows we began exploring the various little bays that were en route to the Korakora campground where we were meeting up with the girls.

Firstly, you should know that Lake Waikaramoana was created when a massive landslide took the top of one of the nearby mountains and blocked a massive river. As rain water collected more and more, this massive and deep lake was formed. Due to the way in which it was created, at the bottom of the lake still stands a petrified wood forest, of the trees which lived here before the landslide. When the water levels are low, you can see dozens of these trees poking out of the water.

The water was pretty high, but we could still see a few tree tops sticking out from the water. We stopped so that James could go for a swim, and he confirmed that the tree we saw went down deep into the water.

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After our rest and swim break, we continued on to search for the campground. Some DOC people in a jet boat came over and pointed us in the general direction, but even with their assistance it still took us quite a while to find the campground and its docking point. After a few wrong turns, we eventually found it. Eva, Ruth and Rebecca were already there.

The evening was spent chatting with the girls, and with the older American couple who also showed up later. After dinner, a considerable amount of time was spent rat proofing our possessions, as we saw two massive rats run around the site. Also, when my friends Bryan and Jen did this walk earlier, Jen had her rain jacket bitten through by a rat despite her diligently separating and tying up the food.

We kept all the food and rubbish in one of the waterproof holds of the kayak, so as to keep away unwelcome rat visitors. However, something was investigating our tent in the night, although I'm not sure if it was a rat, possum, or perhaps even the angry black swam who seemed to live at the camp ground.

James is afraid of rats.

Which is why when we woke up in the morning our tent was lopsided and collapsing. A result of his kicking and shaking the tent walls to scare away our visitors.

The next morning after breakfast and saying goodbye to the others, we set back off in the kayak to head back to the docks. The water was so calm and was perfectly still. We could see right to the bottom in some of the more shallow areas, and the water reflected the shoreline and the sky like a mirror. After a leisurely paddle through the narrows, we stopped at our nap spot for lunch and another rest. This time I did get a small sunburn despite putting on sun cream.

After napping, we decided to head back. Unfortunately, the wind had picked up a bit making the water more choppy, but still not as choppy as the day before. After an exhausting paddle through the open area, we were both completely exhausted and ready to dock the kayak and be on solid ground.

We kept on paddling and although it seemed like the shore never got any closer, we did eventually make it back. We camped at the Waikaramoana motor camp in wait for the girls to finish their walk a day later. Hopefully we can somehow squeeze all of us into their car so we don't have to try to hitch up this desolate dirt road.

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Posted by Jadabond 23:40 Archived in New Zealand Tagged kayak lake_waikaramoana

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