Issue 86 final web

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Issue 86



- An African close encounter of the prehistoric kind

Motuihe Island

- Heart of the Hauraki Gulf

Taming Cyclone Cook

- Easter Weekend 2017

4000 Islands

- The Hidden Channels of the Mekong River

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Issue 86 Spring 2017


Contents adventure equipment

Sea Kayaking 6. Motuihe Island - Heart of the Hauraki Gulf. 14. A Weekend of Abel Tasman Seafaring. 22. Taming Cyclone Cook. Fishing 40. Kayak Fishing in the Wild Wild West. White Water 28. Doomsday 46. 4000 Islands: The Hidden Channels of the Mekong River. General 36. Seagate win their 4th consecutive Adventure Racing World Championship. 39. Kicking Around Camp. 42. Book Review - Dare to Do.

Tommahawk Dry Cag

High Back PFD

Sladek Recreational Cag

EDITOR: Peter Townend, PUBLISHER: New Zealand Kayak Magazine is published four times per year by Canoe & Kayak Ltd. PRINTING: MHP Print Pricing: At the time of printing the prices in this magazine were accurate. However they may change at any time.

Xipe Touring PFD

Copyright: The opinions expressed by contributors and the information stated in advertisements/articles are not necessarily agreed to by the editors or publisher of New Zealand Kayak Magazine. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Go to: CONTRIBUTORS: We welcome contributors’ articles and photos. Refer to for more details. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO: James Fitness, New Zealand Kayak Magazine

Adventure Touring Cag

Rakau White water PFD

Cover photo: The Luangwa River in Zambia, Africa By: Hendrick Luckey

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Issue 86 Spring 2017 YAK qtr page 15-08 colour white background.indd 1

14/02/2017 10:08

Editorial Taking your time makes for a better time.

The rush of our lives is never ending these days, with so many electronic distractions, the up and go and not stopping till your head hits the pillow for a few hours before it all starts again. I listened to a Ted Talk (www.ted. com) if you haven’t listened to these they are a must. The topic came up about cloud watching and I flashed back to lying in the long grass on the banks of a river forty years ago, after a bunch of us had floated through huge rapids with my posterior wedged into a car innertube getting a huge buzz was the game. We got of the water and I had nothing I had to do, just watch and think about the clouds and maybe some food or lighting a fire, just dreaming. These calm periods have happened less and less the older I have got. The time to stop and let your mind roam is something I know is missing from my life. I have been so busy with home and the kids, work, the Yakity yak Club, Save Okura court case, Dacre Cottage and working on a pet project the list goes on and on, much like everyone’s these days. So, this morning I went for a walk to get some down time and low and behold there were four Royal Spoonbills on the river edge. This is a once a year event down in Okura, so back home and grab the camera and had my cloud time, just enjoying watching and filming them.

Photo by: Harry Martin

I watch TV to switch off and it does make me stop, but it doesn’t let me switch of the same way the outdoors does. When I am exploring I see things that I am sure when I can’t do these things anymore, I will be able to transport myself back to those rapids and the long grass and clouds and enjoy the memories almost as much as the day they happened. We all make choices in our lives, many, like the doughnut I just ate, are probably not that good for you. So, I have decided that the TV is going to take more of a back seat this summer and I am going to try to slow down and enjoy some of the amazing opportunities that are all around us. I find, once I am on the water in my kayak, time seems to slow as I reconnect with nature and myself, and the experiences and hence the memories will be some of the best to look back on. Go to and sign up for some slowing down, or visit your nearest Canoe & Kayak Centre and get started on your next adventure of a life time. Cheers Peter Townend

Issue 86 Spring 2017


The Motuihe Island Heart of the Hauraki Gulf By Ruth E. Henderson


Issue 86 Spring 2017

Northern side of Rangitoto Island

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Leaving Auckland was a bit choppy

Most long weekends, most of us eagerly plan a long weekend away. Choosing to travel as far away as three days, with a balance between driving and recreation, allows... Three to four hours behind the wheel and we’re at the Rotorua Lakes or the Bay of Islands or at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula... paddlers paradises. We’ve gotta get away...We can paddle in our own back-yard any time, right? However, as the population of our largest city multiplies so does the travel times... travelling out of or through Auckland has become a bit tedious unless you can load your car up on Thursday night and escape by Friday lunchtime. Not everyone is on flexi-time or has a stock-pile of overtime owing; a new trend is occurring...staying ‘home’...paddling the jewels of the Hauraki Gulf.


Issue 86 Spring 2017

I’ve always been one of those escapee artists, and woefully ignorant of the islands around Auckland. When I noticed the North Shore Yakity Yak trip on Anniversary weekend, organised by Shelley, included a few ‘must do someday iconic trips I thought it was time to rectify that and signed up. So did about twenty others . She had come up with an excellent plan that catered for all tastes: base camp at Motuihe Island, paddle to Waiheke Island for the ‘Headland Sculpture on the Gulf’ exhibition and on the return paddle squeeze thru Gardiner Gap the tidal passage between Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands. On the Saturday morning we left our cars at Narrow Neck beach and headed off across the Rangitoto Channel in a bit of breeze and chop, to cruise along the south side of this landmark island. We pulled in to the west of Emu Pt, the southern tip of Motutapu for lunch. The landing choices were

Issue 86 Spring 2017


limited, the beach landing messy, but some of us really needed to refuel before we expended anymore energy. We needed to sprint across the Motuihe channel, as it is used by the ferries and on this holiday weekend they seemed to keep on coming... all heading to Waiheke, all going fast.

Social hour

We got over unscathed, paddled past the jetty and landed at Waihaorangatahi Bay. A total of 15 kms. We all had pre-booked our DOC tent sites; those who knew the views making that a priority, those who don’t like portaging electing for the lower level, closer to the loos. Soon we were all settled in, and met on the hill top with 360 degree views over to Auckland city and around to Waiheke, for a social hour. After dinner we re-grouped with cameras and head torches...we were on the hunt for kiwi. It was a magical hour and a half walk, the sun setting, the glow from the city radiating out, the day seeping into night. We walked past the rows of Norfolk pines, and gradually the grass turned to forest - mature and regenerating mahoe, karaka, manuka, mapou, taraire, puriri and large pohutukawa. There was much excitement when in the bush on our outward journey we spotted a tuatara eyeing us from a hollowed out tree stump and then on the way back it was on the track. All 15 inches (about 40cm) of it! Very special!! Alack, no kiwis – think we’d need a smaller and much quieter group...

around the western side of Motuihe, back to our start point, but the rest headed back to land at Ocean Beach...with only a 200m portage across the isthmus of sand and grass to reach us. Total distance for the day Greg and I, 20 kms.

The next day we paddled 8 kms to see the sculptures. As we landed at Waiheke’s Matiatia Bay ferry terminal – so too did a ferry, disgorging hundreds of others...including some non-paddling spouses and some kayakers without their boats. Once changed and re-charged with coffees it was onto the bus to get to the start of the trail. Wow, wow and what? There were some gorgeous inspirational pieces and there were some questionable objects... Reckon that given a pile of clay and some netting my grandsons could be more imaginative and creative then one ‘artists’ contribution. The day was hot, the water bottle refill stations a grand idea and $5 didn’t seem too high a price for an ice- cream on top of a hill. The day couldn’t get any better, or could it?

That night we were treated to yet another wonderful show of light; the graves on the hill top coated in pine needles were burnished gold, the orange sky silhouetting the water tower and old trees on the horizon. This 178 hectare island has had a diverse history. There are two pa sites and many kumara storage pits and middens scattered across the island evidence of early Maori occupation until 1839 when Ngati Paoa sold the island to the missionary Mr W.H. Fairburn for 103 pounds. He had a sense of property values and sold it six months later for 200 pounds! The crown bought it in 1872 and promptly turned it into a quarantine station when a sailing ship bought smallpox and scarlet fever to Auckland and again in 1918 when there was a tragic influenza epidemic – the graves belong to this era.

It did. As we cruised along Waiheke’s western coastline, a family of orca appeared, and re-appeared, popping up real close to Karen...was that a scream or a yell of excitement? Greg and I opted to paddle around Crusoe Island, one of the Hauraki Gulf’s “un-counted islands” and then

In World War I it was a prisoner-of-war camp – and had some infamy when a ‘Robin Hood’ of the Kaisers Imperial Navy, the prisoner Felix von Luckner under the guise of Christmas party preparations, with the added distraction of a fire, stole a visiting Naval Commander’s boat, collected


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P A G E 11

stashed supplies and set off for the Kermadec Islands. He was re-captured. The cheeky bloke returned to NZ in 1938 and gave a lecture tour about his exploits! Unbelievably on 8th October 2017 the rascal will again be a drawcard – see for details of the century celebrations of his audaciousness. In both world wars as HMS Tamaki, the island served as a Naval Base. The water tower and gun placements still stand as a reminder of this time. And between wars in the Great Depression it served as a Children’s Health Camp. The Cotters farmed it in the 1960’s, their isolation broken by the famous sea-plane pilot Fred Ladd, dropping off a NZ Herald as he swooped past. Now, the island is a pest-free nature reserve. As the official website puts it “Motuihe Restoration Project is a conservation project run in partnership between Motuihe Trust (formed in 2000) and DOC to transform Motuihe Island into an authentic natural environment of beaches, native forests, wetlands and open spaces together with rare and endangered native birds and insects. It is now home to native New Zealand flora and fauna such as the little spotted kiwi, saddleback, kakariki, bellbirds, whiteheads, shore skinks, common gecko, duvaucel gecko and tuatara to name a few.” It was an early start the next day; getting the tide on high is crucial if you want to paddle through Gardiner Gap, and dragging a laden boat did not appeal. Ferry spotting and timing was again important…forget the notion that you, in a paddle craft, have right of way - in the channel the fast ferry has right of way ….and outside of the marked lane, only an idiot would tango with a ferry. In addition Kerry Howe warns that “the Channel can be as dangerous as the Whangaparaoa Passage, when there is a strong wind against tide”. We made it and ahead of the tide, meandered up Islington Bay where some of us spotted a hammerhead shark... only a baby one.

Rob Brown in Gardiners Gap

Bibliography: 1. Sea Kayaker’s Guide to New Zealand’s Upper North Island Vincent Maire 2008 2. The Story of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park – HGMP Board 1983 3. Islands of the Gulf – Shirley Maddock 1966 4. To the Islands - Kerry Howe 2016 5.


Issue 86 Spring 2017

Bibliography: Gardiner Gap was not as I imagined...but the narrowest bit had a bridge – and this trapped a few unwary paddlers caught by their tall flags.... who in turn made life difficult for those still coming. Reverse skills were required. Eventually it was all sorted and we had a breather on the NW side of Motutapu where we were lucky enough to encounter a NZ Shore Plover. Unfortunately it wasn’t only picking though seaweed...I cleaned up its backyard, and left with a huge bag of plastic rubbish stowed under my bungies. The northern side of Rangitoto was a treat. I’ve since learnt that the picturesque stark and striking volcanic rock formations are “Columnar jointing – pooled basalt with well-defined vesicular rind on top”. (Thank you Deb Volturno). At McKenzie Bay we stopped for lunch before pushing into a bit of breeze for the homeward run back to the madness of the Narrowneck Beach car park. Half of Auckland seemed to be jostling for a turn at the boat ramp...but ah, at least we weren’t creeping along the motorway at 5 kms an hour...and soon we were de-briefing over a coffee or ice-cream in the café Motuihe a very handy, very central, perfect base camp for future explorations of the Hauraki Gulf. Total distance for the day 20 km.

1. Sea Kayaker’s Guide to New Zealand’s Upper North Island - Vincent Maire 2008 2. The Story of Hauraki Gulf Marine Park – HGMP Board 1983 3. Islands of the Gulf – Shirley Maddock 1966 4. To the Islands - Kerry Howe 2016 5.

Issue 86 Spring 2017


A Weekend of Abel Tasman Seafaring by Nathan Fa’avae


Issue 86 Spring 2017

Issue 86 Spring 2017


There has been trip reports aplenty from paddling in New Zealand’s smallest National Park, and rightly so. Maori have been paddling there for over 500 years and it is now a global sea kayaking destination with massive appeal, and last time I looked, was ranked in the top 10 places to sea kayak in the world. It is a special little piece of coast with the famous golden sandy beaches, the fascinating rocky outcrops and the rich, unmodified estuaries. When I say ‘little’, it’s because you can paddle the entire park coastline in a day if you choose, from point to point it’s less than 40 km, but it’s far more worthy of a day, in fact, I’ve spent hundreds of days there and I still have trip plans to explore new places. It’s more than a coastline, the park boundary climbs to the highest point, Mount Evans, all 1156 m. Between there and the briny, are inland hiking trails, huts, deep ravines, canyons and some very thick lush forest. But the coast is what sells the place for what it provides at sea level. There are kayak designated campsites and perhaps what makes it exceptionally unique, is there is a Great Walk a stone’s throw away. My memories are of paddling trips with daily hikes and trail runs squeezed in. While the park has all-year-round appeal for paddlers, the summer is hard to beat, for obvious reasons, the warmer water with long settled days. Some people will know that during the summer school holidays the park is very busy, but most of the people are day users - fizz boaters, so even in peak season, by 5 pm onward, a sense of calmness seeps in. I have a strong connection with the park; I grew up near it and regularly visited it, either on family visits hiking and collecting shellfish or controlled chaos adventures on school camps. I was one of three of the first sea kayak guides employed in the park, way back in the early 1990s, and in


Issue 86 Spring 2017

1996 I founded the sea kayak company Kiwi Kayaks. I ran the company for 3 years then sold it on; in its first year, it won a New Zealand Small Business Award. By the time I was 30, I had spent many childhood moments in the park and worked in there commercially for 9 years, so yes, I know the area well and as they say, ‘I’ve seen a few things’. My wife worked as a sea guide also for many years. Now with children of our own, we make regular efforts to do family trips, we live within eyesight of the Abel Tasman so the lure is constant you could say. Late summer we did a significant overnight trip where each person had their own kayak seat. That would seem normal enough for people but with 3 children we’ve typically had our two younger children sharing a seat in a double kayak with me. That system has worked for thousands of kilometres of paddling on some very adventurous trips, in New Zealand and overseas. But now with our children aged 10, 12 and 14, it was time to have them paddling more independently, and there is no better place to do that for us, on familiar and local waters. Because we live close by launching is quick and easy, not that we place much value on things being such, in most cases, we’d opt for long and challenging. But the attraction is being in boats and up the coast, so the faster we can transition to that the better. In our personal kayak fleet we have four Sisson Sea Kayaks, a Voyager (double), two Arctic Raiders and a Nordkapp. So for the first time we did a family trip in our own fleet.

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Our plan was to do an easy 10 km paddle to Torrent Bay area and camp the night. As a guide one of my challengers with clients was getting them to paddle close to the coast, they always wanted to cut from point to point, stuck in the mindset that the further they go the more they’ll see. I used to say to them, “if you paddle that far from shore you should have just bought a postcard”, which was about 1% the price of the guided day trip. But I always managed to keep them in close and they thanked me for it. Being in the close to the beaches, rocks and formations you start to feel the park more than see it, it’s a far more engaging experience. There are hidden passages, caves and much more visible life forms living in the shoreline zone. Time and distance take on a new meaning when there is something to look at closely as you paddle by.

27 Flemington Place4— 

After a few hours of paddling, countless swims and dinner on the beach, we retired to quietness of seaside camping. From our bivy bags under the trees we heard a morepork hooting somewhere in the distance and gentle waves lapping on the sand. Morning swim, breakfast set up on a log on the beach and it was time to get into the mornings activity, no rush of course, we were in the Abel Tasman. A popular trip with our family is a canyoning trip down the Torrent River. It’s about a 2 hour trip through granite gorges with a series of rappels, slides and jumps. It’s an easy 1 hour hike up from Torrent Bay to the start; for really experienced folk they can start higher up, but for the kids, the shorter trip is just fine. The water is always crisp but it’s clear, drinkable and it’s all action. We always time late morning trips which sends warm shafts of sun rays beaming in. It’s a fantastic remote adventure and balances out the paddling with the hiking and scrambling.


Issue 86 Spring 2017

Issue 86 Spring 2017

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Issue 86 Spring 2017

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Once back at Torrent Bay it was time for a refuel, more swimming and getting the kayaks packed for the return trip. On a typical Abel Tasman summers afternoon, the sea breeze arrives like clockwork, the locals always carry sails or delay their return waiting for the tail wind at least. We didn’t have to paddle far from the bay to get clean air to take us home. Easy as. In just an overnight trip, we had two excellent paddles, a hike, a canyon trip, bathes in the ocean, meals on the beach and sweet dreams under kanuka trees, catching glimpses of the starry night above. We do feel lucky, we know that some of the people paddling out of the park that same day, had travelled from the opposite side of the world for the same experience that we’d had literally on our doorstep. Life in NZ - how fortunate we are!


ŝƐƚƌŝďƵƚĞĚ ďLJ < z < Z >ŝŵŝƚĞĚ͘ ǀĂŝůĂďůĞ ƚhƌŽƵŐŚ ƐƉĞĐŝĂůŝnjĞĚ ŬĂLJĂŬ ƐƚŽƌĞƐ ŶĂƟŽŶǁŝĚĞ͘




Issue 86 Spring 2017


Taming Cyclone Cook - Easter Weekend 2017

by Robyn Laurie

Six keen kayakers left their safe, warm homes to spend Easter 2017 kayaking the Abel Tasman, while Cyclone Cook was threatening the coast line of New Zealand, approaching the Cook Strait and heading straight for the Tasman area. You could call this trip the 'Second Chance' for three of the four Wellingtonian's, who had their January 2017 trip to the Tasman cancelled, due to the 'weather bomb' that was threatening to hit the country, and did. That was the right decision. So, when Cyclone Cook was approaching, the decision to go or not go, was hanging in the winds. On Thursday afternoon it was confirmed 'the trip is on' yah! Looking at the weather map you would have thought we were crazy to go. Our two Aucklander buddies had flown to Wellington only to be turned back to Auckland unable to land due to fog. Not deterred, they also got a second chance and rebooked to return to Wellywood. Missing our ferry crossing at 5.00 pm, they got to the ferry terminal five minutes late to see the bridge closing for the 8.30 pm crossing. So, it was to be a night in the ferry terminal and catching the 3 am to Picton, arriving at 7 am Friday morning (another ‘Second Chance’ ). At last the 'Awesome Team of Six’ were together, we hit the road heading for Pelorus, for yummy homemade food and fo some of that survival coffee at the local cafe. Flooding was everywhere, roadsides and orchards afloat, rivers raging, continuous rain beating on the windscreen, and then...a flash of blue sky in the direction where we were heading. Our spirits lifted. Needless to say, over the five days we explored the Abel Tasman, we experienced gentle rain, and pouring rain, rainbows that spanned the horizon, a full day of brilliant sunshine, calm water to choppy waters, pitching our tents in the rain, paddling in the rain and more sunshine.


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The five days seemed like a month. You can't beat spending time in nature. Watching wildlife baby seals a few days old were playful, inquisitive and even climbed up onto the back of our kayaks or having a laugh when a weka checks out your buddies tent and runs off with a block of chocolate; black robins on Adele Island. Nor, walking the golden sand beaches, star glazing into deep blue skies at night and exploring caves for bats and wetas - spooky, paddling up rivers and exploring lagoons, to checking out the Cleopatra's Pools. Taking an hour bush walk to stroll over the ridge to Awaroa Lodge to purchase a latte and enjoy the heat of an open fire was a treat. We had made the right decision to make the trip - Cyclone Cook really didn't affect us. We spent the Wednesday afternoon on the launch named "Second Chance" (there’s that term again) cruising the Picton sounds. Enjoying sunshine on the deck and under motor power, it was a fabulous way to end our trip. Then a meal at the local pub before catching our ferry back to Wellington. Installed on the ferry in six comfortable lounge chairs we settled in to debrief our trip.

Footwear A pair of jandals or Crocs are handy to have around the campsite, particularly to keep your feet away from the sand. Leave them at your door of the tent. Otherwise you need a cloth to wipe down your feet before entering your tent. The golden sand is really sticky and it goes everywhere and gets into everything. A pair of running shoes for those extra long walks, provide comfort and grip on slippery bush tracks.

These are the things we learnt; Te n t s , h a m m o c k s a n d ponchos Unless you are a couple we would recommend singles have your own 1-2 person tent (when coping in wet conditions having the extra space is invaluable). If you like hanging between the trees a hammock is another good option. If borrowing a tent - check it out before you go, have you got all the bits, have a trial run at pitching it. This certainly helps when it's pouring with rain. Another good tip is to purchase one of those plastic ponchos from the $2 shop. They are great to throw over yourself and pull the hood up. Light and easy to carry if going for a walk and if the weather turns you have some protection. Once used shake out, dry and re-use.

Issue 86 Spring 2017



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Issue 86 Spring 2017

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good. They offered us a fish but we declined as we had already eaten for dinner. So, remember to put in a fishing line! At most of our campsites we had a friendly family of wekas keeping a check on the incoming campers and kayakers. They are quick, and if you don't tie things down e.g. chocolate, socks, bags of nuts, porridge, etc. they are gone! Like Peter's block of Whittaker's Chocolate something he was looking forward to - they disappear under the shrubbery not to see your item again. Tarp My buddies Sue and Pete had two small blue tarps and lent me one. It was really handy for folding and having at the entrance of my tent. Catching sand and keeping the mud from getting inside my tent. Stopping for lunch, it also came in handy to lay out on the beach to sit on. A flick and shake and the sand was gone, folded into a small pack and back inside my kayak. Easy peezzy. Kayak trolley Having a kayak trolley was a Godsend for moving our kayaks up the long beach fronts to secure for the night at our campsite. In the mornings when the tide was out it made the start to the day an easy one, instead of having to carry heavy laden kayaks. Travelling on Easter Friday If you are looking to pick up those last supplies be warned - we found only dairies open; our grocery item choices were very limited. We stopped at a local organic shop where I got some beautiful organic green beans: so fresh they just snapped in your fingers. Great for bulking out my evening meal.

Sand Maps Every morning before setting off our guide Andy would draw up a sand map and call us into line to explain our day’s adventure, tides in particular when the tide was at its highest and lowest, how to read the sun and direction (north, south, east and west) really helpful for the new comers in the group. Early nights Early dinner, it’s dark, you've had a great day on the water, the limbs are a little sore, the face has caught some sun, we found ourselves tucked up in our sleeping bags at 7.30 pm or one night it was 7.15 pm. So, remember to take a book, crosswords or Sudoku and pen, and a headlamp is also a key tool to have some light on the subject for heading out to the toilet in the middle of the night. If you are cold and have a aluminium water bottle fill it with hot water and use it as a body warmer - Meah taught us this one. Listening to the waves soon rocked you off to sleep. After a good night's sleep, we woke early, had breakfast, packed up and were ready to hit the water at 8.00 to 8.30 am ready to make the most of day. The Abel Tasman is MAGIC! and the ‘Awesome Six’ would recommend it as a beautiful place for kayaking, it has it all. We will be back!

Easter Egg hunt Just because you are away on Easter Sunday, you don't have to miss out on the fun of an Easter egg hunt. We paddled into Torrent Bay lagoon and beached for morning tea. Out came the Easter Eggs: between the six of us we handed over about 45 chocolate foiled eggs to our guide, Andy. With a large bag of eggs, he headed over the sand dune to mark out a square patch and hid the eggs under the sand. We get the call and its all on, hands and feet, digging like mad, then came the thrills and squeals "I've found one". What fun - allowing the child within to play! Fish and Wekas One night we watched two young ladies gut and fillet some beautiful fresh snapper, boy did it look

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Join Join the the Yakity Yakity Yak Yak Kayak Kayak Club Club n n WHY JOIN? • Meet New Friends • Lots of Great Trips • Discover the Great Outdoors • Safety Minded • Opportunities to Improve Your Skills • and much more...

Heading to Motuihe Island Photo by Ruth E. Henderson

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- An African close encounter of the prehistoric kind. By Hendrick Luckey


Issue 86 Spring 2017

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Of course, you can try to paddle the Luangwa River in Zambia, Africa...from its source to its confluence with the mighty Zambezi River...more than 500 miles...alone...without a gun. You just should not be afraid of belligerent crocodiles and raging hippopotamuses. “This may have been a huge mistake!” The first time I thought this was while I was paddling down the Luangwa River on day 16 of my adventure. My grandfather, having travelled in Africa himself for decades, knew of the dangers and warned me twenty years ago, when I first spoke of paddling the Luangwa River: “Paddling down the Luangwa River in Zambia, alone, in a canoe, and without a gun? That would be utter madness, and suicidal!” So why did I do this trip in the first place – alone, in a little canoe, without a gun in my bag? Well, because I love losing myself in an authentically wild and untamed natural environment and it has always been a dream of mine to experience two of the most remote and well-known African National Parks in a pure and unfiltered way. I wanted to hear the lions roar at night while being ‘protected’ just by my little tent. I wanted to float down the river while huge herds of buffalo and elephants roamed freely along its shores. Also, I could look back on a lot of experience from travelling the most remote areas of the world – be it on foot or in a canoe, in war-ridden African countries, or in Alaska’s most isolated and unforgiving mountain range, the Brooks Range. The pure facts sound so benign: The Luangwa River is about 500 miles (800 km) long; it originates westward from Lake Malawi, meanders from the sparsely populated plateau of the untamed North Luangwa National Park down to the lowlands of the famous South Luangwa National Park.

The last 50 river miles, before emptying into the mighty Zambezi River, represent the natural border to Mozambique. What makes the canoe-trip so dangerous then? The Luangwa River not only has the highest crocodile density in all of Africa, but the highest hippopotamus density as well – and hippopotamuses kill more people in Africa annually than lions. While paddling, I just tried to put as much space between me and those awe-inspiring creatures. The most important thing for me was not to “wake up” those sleeping hippo-giants by literally passing through the middle of them all: No noisy paddling strokes, no hectic manoeuvres – those were my “keep me out of trouble” - rules and, so far, they had seemed to work out. Slightly exhausted by the mercilessness of the burning sun, but still electrified by the incredible and unfiltered environmental impressions of this vast and untouched wilderness, I reached the Nsefu-Sector – a region that apparently has a greater cheetah population than the famous Kruger National Park. The cheetahs did not pose a threat, but the clearly increasing number of large crocodiles sun-bathing along the sandy shores made my level of discomfort rise exponentially; while some of the crocs remained wallowing on shore, others slid alarmingly silent into the muddy, turbid waters of the Luangwa – never to be seen again. The first fifteen days of my expedition had passed by just how I had imagined and desired my trip to be. The overwhelming diverse nature along the shores of the wild Luangwa River, made me forget all the troubles and dangers associated with this trip. During the day, Steve – who accompanied me for the first few days until we reached the North Luangwa National Park – and I floated down the Luangwa in complete amazement, and breathed in those magical moments provided by elephants wallowing themselves leisurely on the Luangwa’s muddy banks or by an ever present flock of birds that seemed to have a competition for the most colourful glistening sublime plumage; and at night-time the bush really came alive with weird noises – noises that made me hold my breath more than once.

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In the middle of our very first night on the river Steve and I had to abandon our camping spot because the Luangwa rose to within two feet of our tents in just two hours – if Steve had not gone out to the ‘toilet’, we – still in our tents – would have been swept away by the Luangwa’s flood waters. The next day, all sandy beaches were submerged under the Luangwa’s now turbulent flowing waters; facing dense and impenetrable riparian vegetation, we almost couldn’t find anywhere to beach our canoes before darkness fell. Already twilight, we were forced to make camp on a semi-island; this was nervewracking as the water was still rising. Our only escape would be to climb back into our canoes, but this would be at night when crocs attack anything that floats down the river, and who wants to bump a canoe into a sleeping 3,000 lb hippo? So, we decided to tie our canoes to two large trees, so if the water should flood our camp, we could jump into our canoes and float up with the rising water-level. At about 4.30 am it did just that, our camp was flooding so we loaded our canoes with all our gear. For nearly two hours, we sat anxiously in our tethered canoes hoping that the current would not become too strong for us to handle. When the sun finally rose, although mentally and physically drained, we were jubilant that we’d made it through the night. Luckily, the riparian vegetation began to thin out again, so finding a good camping spot was not as difficult anymore. On the downside however, sightings of sunbathing crocodiles and large hippo herds increased dramatically. When Steve yelled “Elephant bull on the right side!” I got very excited, paddled as close as I dared to


Issue 86 Spring 2017

the shore. The huge bull zeroed in on my boat: gave an ear deafening trumpet solo, threw his head up while simultaneously waving his large ears aggressively and swinging his massive trunk like a bully swings his fists – he was apparently “not amused” at my presence. I got within five metres of that 12,000 lb raging giant, to take a picture of that once-in-a-lifetime spectacle. A few seconds later, that elephant turned and started to run – wood-cracking, branches-breaking and still trumpeting his head off – straight into the bush. Later that night, in our tents, listening to laugh-like barking of spotted hyenas, we heard a deep and impressive lion-roar. Those unforgettable, highly intangible and magic-induced moments made all the exertions worthwhile. That is what I had thought until that day 16 of my journey, when on my own again for days, I had to face one of the toughest and most challenging adventures of all my life.

Issue 86 Spring 2017



Issue 86 Spring 2017

Day 16: When, the back of my canoe disappeared into the gigantic, and horrifying tooth-spiked croc-mouth, I knealt pathetically in the middle of my canoe, desperately trying to avoid being flipped over by the monster., and thought, “This is it!” In utter desperation, I started hitting the beast’s head with my paddle as hard as I could – three or four times my paddle drove down straight onto its head. I felt like David fighting Goliath. This was a desperate struggle for life. “Will I ever see my loved ones back home again?” went racing through my mind, while the croc tried to capsize my boat. Beginning to accept the apparent complete hopelessness of my situation, I saw the croc losing its death-grip on my boat and sliding back into the Luangwa’s muddy waters. Immediately I turned and started paddling like a mad man, like a man who had just escaped the grim reaper: I shouted to myself: Don’t stop! Just don’t stop! Just go! Go! It was clear to me that I would probably not survive another attack.Beaching the canoe on shore was not an option because once I hit the sandy shore with my canoe, I would be an easy target for the croc. I continued paddling like a lunatic for about fifteen minutes turning around every few seconds to check if my hunter was still hunting me. When I finally risked beaching my canoe, I had already made a deal with fate: If I survive this death-chase, I will terminate my journey down the Luangwa and head back home. When I reached the town of Mfuwe a few days after this attack, I did just that. Will I go back? Of course! I will continue to travel to the most remote corners of our wonderful planet, but – after this trip – I will travel more carefully, more humbly, and be more thankful.

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Seagate win their 4th consecutive Adventure Racing World Championship

In August 2017 Team Seagate defended their title in the Adventure Racing World Championships held in Wyoming, USA. They were on course just shy of 80 hours, covering 750 km in multiple stages, from Jackson Hole to Casper. They raced approximately 100 km of

mountain biking and a testing 150 km of hiking. The team comprised of Chris Forne, Stu Lynch, Jo Williams and Bob McLachlan, the only change from the 2016 winning team was McLachlan was invited to join the team with Nathan Fa’avae choosing not to race as he had surgery to correct a knee injury in May.

pack-rafting, a massive 500 km of

The event HQ and finish line was in the city of Casper, with the race start at Jackson Hole. A hot sunny day and some altitude to contend, the starting gun teams tackled a 5 km ascent of the ski slopes, rewarded by a 12 km descent to the river, to where they launched pack rafts for a 30 km paddle.The pack raft was on a beautiful river with a good flow, making for an enjoyable paddle.


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Deflating the pack rafts and getting hiking gear on the team embarked on the first big stage, a 62 km hiking task that began with an abrupt 3000 m climb. Seagate arrived at the TA in lead position and assembled their bikes in the early hours of the morning in very cold temperatures, for a 133 km bike stage. Up next was a 64 km hiking stage. On the map the stage looked straight forward, but there was a lot of wind fall, which made travel slow, awkward and hard work, energy sapping constantly having to step up and over, under, wind fall. After the hike, Seagate were back on bikes. The ride started off fast with undulating terrain, past Beaver Creek ski area, and then off-road




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into some beautiful country, which included three enormous climbs. During the bike stage they stopped for a ropes challenge. The ropes section started with an abseil followed by a caving section. Next up was a 266 km bike ride. Seagate knew they were building a comfortable lead, possibly up to two hours as they would have been able to see other teams in the ropes area if they were there. The ride was humid and hot, and tracked up a very long valley, with a constant threat of rain with thunder and lightening clouds filling the skies. Seagate decided it was worth a small detour into a town to find somewhere to sleep. Careful not to waste time looking and deciding, they spoke to a local who suggested trying a shed on playing fields or the church. The shed was unappealing so they tried the church, which had a sign saying ‘welcome bikers’. It opened to a warm room, mats to sleep on and blankets; they slept well for 75 minutes. Dawn approached as the team transitioned from bikes to pack-rafts, and made their way down to the lake. It was very pretty and calm. They paddled, struggling hard to stay awake, with the sun on their faces and the

mesmerising motion of paddling. The stage was a mixture of portaging and paddling, with some technical sections of river. They were winning and the end was approaching. The final stage was biking into a head wind towards Casper mountain. They turned off the main road onto the circular road, a clay muddy track after the recent rain. First. They crossed the finish line with relief and jubilation, Seagate crowned World Champions for another year! Team Sponsors Seagate, Rab, Tineli, Gemini lights, Salt Sticks, Absolute Wilderness, inov8 shoes, Pics Peanut Butter, Antichafe, Bridgedale, Lowe Alpine, Revelate Designs

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Issue 86 Spring 2017

w w w20/01/2014 . k a y a k 11:29:57 n z . c oa.m. .nz

Kicking around Camp By Todd Dorset

As someone who works in the outdoor education game in the biggest NZ city, it is startling to see the decrease in people truly engaging in nature. Likewise, the act of crafting seems to be on the decline. All the good that comes from using your brain and fine motor skills

One of my go-to bake recipes I use with groups is an old scone dough. Once you get this dough in your notebook the options on what to do with it are only limited by your creativity. Pretty cool when you can use the same thing every day over a multiday trip and everyone thinks you’re doing something new every day.

dwindle while video games and desk jobs dominate. Over the next few issues we will look at a few ways in which you can get reconnected with using your hands and maybe give you a little bit

the most versatile scone dough

more awareness of the place you’re in.

1 cup flour

It’s not the kayak life for me. It is the KaiYak life. Getting out with good people in good locations, keeping my belly filled with good food (Kai) and sharing some great conversations (Yaking). Most of the time it’s not the miles paddled or the kilometres walked that is memorable, it’s the grub at the end of the day. It brings the group in from their tents and breaks down conversation barriers.

2 tsp baking powder

My philosophy is “there is nothing you can’t cook in the outdoors” (including a cheesecake baked on embers after lugging a kilo and half of cream cheese through the bush – totally worth it btw). For me, I find the act of making a proper meal (putting water in a freeze-dry pack doesn’t count) is equally about taste as it is about working with your hands. Creating something from nothing. Kneading dough. Foraging for wild food. Learning from your mistakes. Working out how to do something complex without the kitchen full of equipment.

50 g butter

Picture: Horopito & cheese, and a date scone Some suggestions of how to use it: • Pull off some balls and pop in in the pan, roll them around to cook through for some bite sized scones. • Put the whole lot in the pan and press out to a 1 cm thick pancake, let it rise and brown and then flip and cook on the other side for an old school gridle scone. • Pull off some balls and chuck them in a billy filled with stew or thick soup for some niceas doughboys. • Roll it into a thin sausage and wrap around a stick, cook over some fire embers – classic damper style doughnut.

About ½ cup milk Chuck the dry ingredients together and work the butter in with your fingers until it resembles bread crumbs. Pour in a bit of milk and mix up. If it is too dry add more, a bit at a time to get it to bind but not so much that it gets too sticky – don’t over work it, the less you play with it at this point the fluffier the scones will be. It’s also quite easy to pop a tablespoon of milk powder in the dry mix at home and mix in water at camp instead of using a UHT milk carton.

Flavour up! If you are a savoury fellow, mix in some cheese and herbs before you add the milk. Forage for a bit of kawakawa or horopito for spice or some seaweeds for saltiness. If you like the sweeter things in life, try adding chopped dates, currents, or some wild blackberries. A good lick of butter, whipped cream and a dollop of fresh jam. Roll around in melted butter, sugar and cinnamon or serve in some golden syrup or caramel sauce.

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Kayak Fishing in the Wild Wild West by Nigel Legg

Absolutely mad on fishing, very, very average at kayaking. I think this is a pretty good description of my kayak fishing exploits over the last year. Having fished since I was a young fella I consider myself a reasonable fisherman. But boy was I in for a shock when it came to kayaking. I will never forget paddling back to a popular Taranaki beach with a couple of mates in ‘tiny’ surf, being knocked over in no more than a metre of water, and then rising to applause and raucous laughter from my buddies and at least a dozen boaties and bystanders. Being able to kayak successfully, especially in surf requires practice, technique, and often a bit of ingenuity. The easiest way to learn is to just do it, get out in the surf and try different things, try coming in backwards until there’s a break in the wave sets and then turn and paddle in. The Wild Wild West refers to the west coast of the North Island principally the Naki with its rugged, rocky wind swept coastline. A labyrinth of reefs, sandbars, cliffs and river mouths provides an ideal habitat for a variety of sea fish, but most of all it provides an opportunity. To me that opportunity is the margin of water that is too far for the surfcaster to reach and too close to shore for the boat fisherman to worry about. The easiest and most effective way to fish this water is by kayak.

Kayak fishing. A variety of kayaks on the market these days are specifically designed for fishing. They are generally very stable sit-on-tops, providing enough storage inside to cope with fishing rods, burley and tackle. Made of super durable plastic they are virtually indestructible. There is no limit to the additions and modifications which can be made to these kayaks. For example depth finders, navigation systems, and radios.

Surprisingly most fishermen know little about their quarry. Here are some interesting facts: 1. All snapper begin life as females but by the time they reach 3 - 6 years half have changed to males. 2. Contrary to popular belief the greatest abundance of snapper occurs over open mud in less than 70 metres of water. 3. Snapper feed mostly during the day whereas larger fish feed mainly in the morning. 4. Snapper reach maturity at approx 3 years, at 10 years old they are approximately 380 mm long. Only a few snapper live past 40 years. The oldest recorded snapper in NZ was 63 years old. 5. The maximum weight recorded for a snapper in N.Z. was 17.2 kg and the maximum length was 1.05 metres. 6. Snapper spawn in water 20 - 50 metres deep, preferring large open bays. November and December are peak months for spawning but this can depend on the season with temperature being the main stimulus. The threshold appears to be about 15 degrees Celsius. 7. One of the most interesting facts about snapper gained from the tagging programmes is that the majority of mature snapper travel less than 10 kilometres in their lives. To me kayak fishing is the ultimate. It connects you to the sea, provides an opportunity to explore and fish New Zealand’s truly remarkable coastline and who knows it may even provide the occasional trophy fish. Most of the snapper facts are from ‘The Living Reef’ (The ecology of N.Z.’s rocky reefs) published by Craig Potton Publishing 2003.

But realistically a good seat and paddle, buoyancy aid or lifejacket, sharp knife, anchor and rope, rod and reel and a method for distributing burley are enough to get you started. Safety should be paramount with kayak fishing so safety flags, flares and a method of communication, (even a cell phone in a dry bag), are essential.

Snapper The main quarry for this kayak fisherman is snapper. Kayaks are ideal for targeting the large solitary snapper in our shallow reefs. Nothing gets the heart pounding more than a head-thumping run of a large snapper. Snapper are deep powerful fish with large heads and mouths. They have good speed but their strength is their main attribute. Not only are they great sport fish, they are delicious table fish as well. PAGE 40

Kayaks are ideal for targeting the large solitary snapper. (Photo supplied by Vking Kayaks)

Issue 86 Spring 2017

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Dare to Do Taking on the planet by bike and boat Review by: Kay Costley Author:

Sarah Outen




Nicholas Brealey Publishing




289 pp, one central colour plate segment




240 x165 mm


978 1 85788 641 2


Book Depository UK

I was very pleasantly surprised at how readable the book was and how much I enjoyed it. Sarah Outen decided she was going to circle the globe using human power only – biking, kayaking, walking or rowing. The trip was done over a period of five years and started in England, through Europe, China, Russia and down the Kurile Island chain to Japan then across the Pacific Ocean. Sarah had two goes at this, as the first attempt was cut short due to tropical storm Mawar. Landing in Alaska after her second attempt, Sarah cycled through Alaska, Canada and USA – in winter – and left the east coast of America to row back to England. After 143 days Sarah elected to be evacuated ahead of Hurricane Joaquin. A passing bulk tanker was able to pick Sarah up and returned her to the USA. Sarah decided at that point that she would not repeat that last leg of the journey but she did want to formally finish the last part of the journey from Falmouth to London - as a thank you to her many sponsors, supporters and friends. As a background to the physical journey, Sarah opens up about her emotional struggles after being rescued from tropical storm Mawar, when she lost her first rowing boat Gulliver and the difficulty she had in accepting help and support from others to recover from her depression, PTSD and anxiety. It often seems difficult to reconcile the two sides of oneself - the tough, tenacious, often driven adventurer and the everyday partner, friend and individual when the black dog comes calling.

Sarah wrote several times about funding and referred to sponsors, donations and several overdrafts. I wondered what the trip cost and whether the donations to charities - $50,000 – were separately given or were what was left over after the cost of the trip? I was also very interested to know what kit was taken on each of the legs of the journey. So, apart from the things I did not find out, the book itself, although a little light descriptively in the cycling portions of the journey, was a pleasant read for a wet Sunday.

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At the end of the journey – coming ashore at Tower Bridge in London, Sarah’s stated high point of the journey was meeting, falling in love and becoming engaged to Lucy. Despite all the trials and tribulations and the sadness over her decision not to complete her journey, Sarah reminds us all that people and relationships are always more significant than achievements. As a relatively recent newcomer to the adventuring non-fiction genre, I was a bit disappointed that Sarah did not have more photos from this amazing attempted circumnavigation of the planet. I was also very curious about the ‘numbers’ part of the journey and I wondered how many miles/ kms were biked, paddled and rowed.

Available with or without audio port ®

Distributed by Great Stuff. email:


Issue 86 Spring 2017


KASK Kayak Fest 2018 - Wellington 2-4 March 2018 Ngatitoa Domain, Mana

Learn new skills, meet new people, explore new waters

From the calm of the Pauatahanui Inlet, to the surge of the Plimmerton Harbour, the KASK Kayak Fest 2018 – Wellington promises to introduce you to new places, all contained in a small area. There will be classes for learning new skills, polishing up on those already learned, or go with a group to the nearby Mana Island reserve. Visit the link for more information at: Contact the event team by email: The following Int. Kayak Week in the Sounds:

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Aluminium Folding Ladder The Aluminium Folding Ladder connects to the edge of your Pioneer Systems using a specific mounting bracket fixed with bolts for added stability. The mounting bracket can be installed on any side of the vehicle as desired. The ladder unfolds at an angle to prevent contact with your vehicle. Constructed from Aluminium with a black powder coat finish, the Aluminium Folding Ladder is built strong and durable to last a lifetime without rusting. The ladder folds down to 1060mm for compact storage and can be used with RUFLB for convenient storage outside the vehicle.

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Make loading kayaks easy Easy quick mounting and dismounting boat roller. No need for a heavy permanently mounted system that effects handling and fuel consumption. 2 mounting positions to fit most vehicle. Just apply to clean glass or paintwork when needed. Then use roller to roll kayak onto your vehicle.


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Issue 86 Spring 2017

Paddler: Sam Ricketts, Photographer: Callum Parker Photo Andrew Cornaga

Issue 86 Spring 2017


4000 Islands, The Hidden Channels of the Mekong River By Sam Ricketts

The mighty Mekong River is one of the biggest river systems in Southeast Asia - meandering through ancient mountain ranges, endless jungle and chaotic cities. As whitewater kayakers, we like to skip all that boring flat water and go straight to the point, whitewater! The 4000 Islands is a short but monstrous section of rapids situated in the southern reaches of Laos, bordering with Cambodia. More commonly known as the Liphi Falls it is the biggest waterfall (volume wise) in all of Southeast Asia. The river at this point is 14 km wide, and plummets off a 15 - 20 meter shelf creating a pretty monstrous and wide waterfall. In the monsoon season the river totally covers the river bed and is a death trap. The local fisherman and citizens are terrified of it, as they see it in its full deadly force for most of the year. But for a short part of the year (December - March) the rains subside and the river level drops enough to uncover its riverbed, in turn, channelling into a 14 km wide maze of rapids and waterfalls. The rapids are endless from tall drops, to low volume technical rapids, or big water channels with massive features and waves. Warm. Diverse. Cheap. Paradise. I had heard of the Mekong River and seen a couple photos from a group of kayakers going there 3-4 years before. Lachie Carracher and myself ventured to this mysterious place to see it for ourselves in December PAGE 46

Issue 86 Spring 2017

2016, and from the beta we had gathered, people were telling us that the whitewater was scary and big before February. We still travelled there in good spirits ready for some big water. That’s what we got.

Photo by Lachie Carracher

We flew to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, about a 16 hour bus ride to the north of the 4000 Islands. It took a couple days of terminal jumping, bartering and negotiating with bus drivers to get our boats aboard. Riding with the boats in the isle, making tourists climb over the boats to get to their seats and dragging them through street markets we eventually got ourselves and our creek boats to the ferry terminal of the 4000 Islands. 4000 Islands is an extraordinary place. It is as the name suggests, countless islands dotted through a maze of channels with a very swift flow. The main islands, Don Det and Don Kong are the most populated, and situated above all of the whitewater. Luckily for us, we stayed in an amazing bungalow on Don Det with panoramic river views. Being a tourist island, there were many boatloads of travellers looking to spend a few days on the beautiful islands. Stunning sunsets happen every evening without fail, vibrant local restaurants and bars with busy kitchens serving spicy noodle soups and parties every night. We were in heaven. Every morning Lachie and I would pack our dry bags with food and gear and set off downstream into the unknown. Being a tropical place, we were never in more than a T-shirt, and that was for sun protection!

Issue 86 Spring 2017


Photo by Lachie Carracher

Photo by Sam Ricketts

From Don Det we would paddle through shrubs, past fisherman giving us very scared looks and screaming at us not to go down into a place they traditionally wouldn’t dare to venture. We couldn’t communicate to them, but we tried our best to assure them we knew what we were doing. Getting our bearings was difficult in the beginning, we had to be very careful not to paddle into the wrong channel, as some were un-runnable, being drops onto huge rock clusters, or backed up terminal holes. Google earth, and a makeshift map of the runnable drops recorded by the last crew going through were what we were going off. Every day was a long day of scouting and running new whitewater. Hopping over channels to find new rapids. The sections were numerous, and on average quite short all running into the main channels so more often than not we would run laps on drops and small awesome sections into the same main big water channels. As kayaking is not a very well-known activity in the area the fisherman aren’t phased about blocking off whole channels with bamboo fish traps. This deemed a lot of great rapids un-runnable, having them lead into huge manmade strainers; also making for some moments of panic when we paddle around the corner to see one in front of us. Some of the scarier times of my kayaking career were paddling around these fish traps. The most classic area of the 4000 Islands is the Liphi Falls Park (waterfall park) and one of the more picturesque and accessible areas. With a walkway along the river bank we could walk along and scout out numerous waterfalls and rapid sections, all running into a big channel that provided a nice sandy beach to take out on. With always a large number of spectators, tourists and locals alike, curious as to why we were scrambling over the rocks with our colourful kayaks. We spent most of our time in this area, teaming up with Luke McKinney, a videographer from Alaska shooting some of the best footage the area has seen. When we were done for the day, to tired or run out of daylight we would call our TukTuk driver (a motorbike with a carriage on the back for us to sit; not many had roof racks). So it took some negotiating to get the boats on. After a few days we got it down pat. It was a pretty bumpy ride back to Don Det, but filling up with some noodle soup, fresh fried river fish and cold beer for no more than $5, we were happy riding out the day into the sunset, looking through footage and planning the next move - which restaurant to try next, which bar to have a couple cocktails in and of course, which channels we were going to explore the next day. Every day was an adventure, promising new unexplored channels and a great day of creeking. This is a trip that I would happily repeat!

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Issue 86 Spring 2017