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Issue 79 Wild West Adventures in the “Great Bear Rainforest” Canada’s finest!

Lapping the Lakes

Part two of a three part series on paddling the Rotorua lakes Proudly supported by:

No Limits

Organising your fishing tackle

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Contents Sea Kayaking Wild West Adventures in the“Great Bear Rainforest” Lapping the Lakes – Tikitapu, Tarawera and Rotomahana

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Racing R&R - Racing & Recreation


Fishing No Limits


White Water Interview with Josh Neilson


Technical Rescue Me Please Sea Kayak Rescues Trip Card - Martins Bay to Kawau Island Trip Card - Waikowhai Bay to Oatoru Bay

5 34 41 42

EDITOR: Peter Townend Ph: 0274 529 255 Email: 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. 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: (see page 46) New Zealand – 4 Issues = $25 Overseas – 4 Issues = $40

Books Adventurer at Heart


Puzzles Sudoku Quick Crossword Puzzle Solutions

33 33 46

Product Kayak listings Great Gift Ideas

43 44

CONTRIBUTORS: We welcome contributors’ articles and photos. Refer to www.canoeandkayak. New Zealand Kayak Magazine ‘Contributors Guidelines’ for more details. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO: James Fitness Email: New Zealand Kayak Magazine

Photos: Front page: British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest Photos supplied by: Gordon Baron This page: Ben Fitness & Thomas Patrick enjoyed their day training in Okura. See more on page 34. Photo by: Peter Townend

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Editorial I had the pleasure of bumping into an old paddling friend this week. Our eyes lit up as we recognised each other after maybe 20 years. Back then, Eddie had just retired and had plenty of time to head out exploring. I had the boundless energy of a young man on a mission; to enlighten everyone to the world of kayaking, having a family and building a business at the same time. The comradery that existed back then still abounds today; as kayaking adventures and training have a way of bringing people together, forming strong bonds. He shared some of the adventures he’d had since we last met with comments like: “Wow! The South Island was amazing with lakes and mountains, incredible kayaking and tramping. 28 days paddling around Fiji, paddling with orca with eyes as big as dinner plates”. He has now retired from paddling, but it was obvious the fun and adventure was one of the highlights of the last couple of decades. What a buzz to see an old friend who had enjoyed something we had helped with and being so happy with those memories.

When at the beach, or working at one of the Canoe & Kayak Centres, my first question of people is “What sort of kayaking do you want to do?” More often than not, they have small adventures in mind, a paddle around the local beach, lake or estuary, close to shore and in perfect weather; so nice and safe. I ask if they would like to be a bit more adventurous and paddle the Whanganui River for five or six days, or explore Able Tasman National Park, or the Bay of Islands. The answer, more often than not is “Yes! But can I do that?” They say. The answer of course is “Yes”. With a little training, the correct equipment and a bunch of like-minded paddlers to go with, the paddling destinations of New Zealand and indeed the world are at your paddle-tips. This is what the New Zealand Kayak Magazine, Canoe & Kayak and the Yakity Yak Kayak Club Trust have encouraged for decades, and it works really well for those that are ready for a

Rescue Me Please This summer there will be the opportunity to develop your skills and become a more competent paddler. It doesn’t matter if you are just starting out or, like me you have been paddling for years. The same rule applies. You never know it all! I have been doing my usual development training this spring and I attended an outdoors conference for a couple of days. There we shared ideas with each other and listened to experts on issues that affect instructors working in the outdoors. It is always enlightening and having shared my ideas, I came away with new skills and knowledge that make me that much more informed. It is however, all run indoors, watching screens and talking is only as

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challenge, an adventure and perhaps a change of direction. So now that summer is here, don’t doubt your own potential. Have a chat with one of the Canoe & Kayak team to learn the easy steps to becoming a safe, adventurous paddler and create memories that will be in your top ten. Cheers and happy paddling Peter Townend

By Peter Townend

good as your imagination. The real stuff this spring that pushed me to my physical boundaries was a three day River Rescue Course run by Rescue 3 International. The brief I got was: Whitewater Rescue Technician (WRT) This course is designed specifically for professional guides, private boaters, fish and game personnel, and others who work or play on or around flowing water. Students will benefit from this intensive, hands-on course and will learn to use techniques and simple equipment to assess and perform river rescues. The emphasis is on speedy, low-tech, and improvised rescue techniques that are effective and require minimal equipment.

Well, off we went for three days on the Mohaka and what a challenge. The weather was stunning but my, oh my, was it cold. The instructors looked at me with a calm knowing look, as I suggested that the activity was a bit over the top and would probably be better considered. They insisted calmly that all would be well. Having faith in them, I gave it a go. I found that in each challenge I was capable and that they were right. The result is that I now have some new tricks up my sleeve and to a large degree, more confidence in dealing with some areas of River Rescue. I strongly recommend doing this course if you are paddling on rivers. It will open your eyes and make you considerably safer and give you the ability to attempt rescues if needed. See more on rescues on page 34

Wild West Adventures In The“Great Bear Rainforest” By Cindy Phillips and Gordon Baron

Hakai Passage is located in the “Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy Marine Park”.


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British Columbia is Canada’s most western Province. The coastline stretches over 600 miles (965 km) from Victoria, north of Seattle, to Portland Inlet on the Canadian/Alaska border. This Inside Passage consists of more than 40,000

Artists come from around the globe to paint the beautiful scenery in the Great Bear Rainforest. (Mark Hobson)

islands. The mild and moist climates are influenced by the Pacific currents circulating the warm water along the outer coast. The steep mountains from the inland fjords hold in the low lying clouds, creating their own weather systems. Located in the middle of BC’s coastline is the world’s largest remaining area of unspoiled temperate rainforest left intact. In the mid 1990’s, over twelve hundred square miles of pristine, remote wilderness was named the “Great Bear Rainforest”. The biodiversity’s dramatic combination of forest ecosystems, rugged landscape and marine ecology makes British Columbia’s “Great Bear Rainforest” one of the most varied and scenic regions in Canada. Two hundred and twenty miles northwest of Vancouver, in BC’s western edge of the Great Bear Rainforest, is the remote jewel of “Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy”. The 122,998 hectare Provincial Marine Park is the largest in the Province. Archeological discoveries have provided physical evidence that people have inhabited the mid-coast of British Columbia for more than 10,000 years. History, traditions and cultures have revolved around fishing and salmon have been responsible for the economic development of these secluded communities on the Central Coast. The stunning archipelago of islands and the intricate networks of coves, channels and inlets; have kept us on an exploration journey lasting two decades. You are off the grid out here, which means you look after yourself. With a little knowledge of shellfish gathering and what to use as bait on your fishing pole, you can live off the sea just like in ancient times. In the winter months during the storm and hurricane season, (December to March) this can be a little difficult. Weather and tides are the biggest challenge paddling in the Great Bear Rainforest. In June, tides reach lows of 0.0 feet. The inter-tidal pools come alive with sealife and the Islands expose miles of white sand beaches. Calvert Island is one of these hidden treasures. This Island is twenty miles (32 km) long and Over 200 salmon canneries operated on the coast of BC.

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Paddling in Hakai Pass looking out into the open waters of the Pacific Ocean


Issue 79 Christmas 2015

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Humpback whales return every summer to the Great Bear Rainforest from the waters off Mexico and Hawaii. ten miles (16 km) wide. The beaches have been rated as some of Canada’s best. We have proof, as my partner and I lived alone on this secluded Island for three winters building trails, boardwalks and bridges to viewpoints and lookouts on the west side of the Island. The east side is protected from the westerly storms, big swells and open surfs. Sports fishermen have been coming to Hakai and Rivers Inlet areas for more than a century for the legendary salmon fishing. In the last decade, people have been coming for the wilderness adventure and educational learning experience living with nature in their natural environment. The safe anchorage on the east side of the Island in Pruth Bay is a destination for boaters heading north to Alaska. This is also a good starting point for kayaking. The summer months of June, July, August and September are the warmest, with the least amount of strong off-shore winds. Paddling north from Pruth Bay in Kawashua Channel we start to feel the strength of the Pacific Ocean swells entering Hakai Passage, northern tip of Calvert Island. In early January and June we can have a 16 foot (4.8 m) tide change in six hours. That is a lot of water moving through Hakai Pass producing swells so big that the shoreline, trees and mountains disappear on the low “Mean” part of the swell. In January you can add a chop to the waves. Timing is critical; we have to leave just before morning slack in the tide change and before the daily temperature warms up bringing westerly winds and sea fog. (August) This gives us enough time to get around the open waters of Hakai Pass into the cluster of Islands in Choked Passage. (North end of Calvert Island). The sealife and salmon fishing come alive. This is also the start of the Calvert Island chain of white sand beaches. Beach access to the five sand beaches on the northern tip of Calvert Island facing Hakai Passage can be challenging in the open surf for the rookie paddler. Trails have been built and up-graded linking North Beach to West Beach and trails heading south overlooking the Pacific Ocean, also connecting us back to Pruth Bay,(starting point). This means, if the water gets too rough we can walk back to the starting point and pick up our kayaks later? (BC Parks, Tula Foundation and First Nation communities have up-graded PAGE 10

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Grizzly balancing on his hind legs getting mussels off the tree branches at low tide.

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.

Paddling at sunset in Fitz Hugh Sound. Cape Calvert is in the distance. (South end of Calvert Island)

Phone your closest kayak retailer or for further information email Great Stuff Ltd Distributed by Great Stuff. email


Oh No? Not you again. When the tide is the lowest, we paddle to a section of shoreline to get images of grizzlies. After awhile they get used to seeing the kayaks

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the trails making this into a first class hiking destination). Walking on the groomed paths, new bridges and boardwalks on the “South Beach Trail” climbs us up around the cliffs to “Baron’s Bluff” lookout and beyond, connecting you to another string of white sand beaches on the west side of the Island. This is also a good safety feature for paddlers, should the weather change and you have to come ashore. All trails connect back to the starting point at Pruth Bay. Just a few miles east of Calvert Island, crossing Fitz Hugh Sound is the entrance to Rivers Inlet (Gateway to Grizzly Country and Cannery Row). Rivers Inlet is famous for the salmon fishing and the seventeen commercial salmon canneries that once operated in the thirty mile (48 km) long Inlet, with the last cannery closing in 1957. Rivers Inlet still holds the record for the world’s biggest King salmon, weighing in at 126 pounds (57 kg). Salmon has made the Inlet a destination for sports fishermen and grizzlies. Starting in mid-March, the snow has melted off the lower levels on the mountains, arctic outflow winds have stopped and the weather begins to warm up. With our camera gear ready for another season, we are off paddling the shoreline looking for that ultimate image of a grizzly. This is not an easy task because so much has to come together. It has to be early morning; this is the grizzlies favourite feeding time. Tide has to be at its lowest point of the day, exposing mussels and sea grass. Need bright overcast, not sunshine to highlight the bears, and the water has to be glass calm so you have little camera shake with a long lens. It was hard to get used to the short open kayak after being in the luxury of a 21ft (6.3 m). Tofino kayak. But after doing a few Eskimo rolls trying to land on the beaches loaded with gear in an open surf,you start to get a little wiser, than faster. The waves on this section of shoreline are very close together making it just about impossible for me to pop out of the cockpit and control my watercraft before the next wave hits. Plus being able to stand in the kayak getting out from a support boat (Mothership) in rough seas with a packsack and paddle sure is a real bonus, not to mention the plexy glass


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For generations First Nation people have used the natural resources of the ocean to supply seafood to their villages and old growth Red and Yellow Cedar trees to build their Long Houses, canoes, totems, masks and sections of the standing tree for planking, clothing and baskets etc. Today these standing trees have been labeled as Cultural Modified Trees. (CMT) The term describes the modification of a tree (any species) by the indigenous people as part of their tradition. Trees are registered by the government of British Columbia and are illegal to cut down. CMT dot British Columbia’s coastline displaying living memories of First Nations coastal heritage. Exploration in the Great Bear Rainforest is a voyage through time that gives us the ultimate wilderness experience. Photos: Opposite page top: Bald eagle is perched on an old abandoned floating logging “A” frame. This float was once used to pull small logs down the mountainside into the ocean. bottom to photograph sea creatures. As the weather gets warmer during mid-day, the fjords inflow winds begin, surf up, and the grizzlies head for the shade until the late afternoon when the temperature cools down. This comes from living up-close with the grizzlies for five years. If you have never caught a “Spring” (King) salmon from your kayak, the experience is something you will never forget. The strong fighting fish will tow you all over the Inlet, taking hours to reel in if you’re lucky. Getting the fish in the kayak is another story. Over the years, we had grizzlies swim out to the kayak to investigate; make false charges from the shoreline, (lightening fast) plus a group of four sleeping eight feet (2.4 m) from our front door. But the hairiest moment was when lying on a pier watching two grizzlies fighting 12 ft (3.6 m). below. I was looking through the lens, taking pictures, when one of the grizzlies spotted me, before pressing the shutter release button for the next image, the grizzly was on its hind legs, growling five feet (1.5 m) away from my face. Took the shot, but the lens could not focus fast enough. Talk about an adrenalin rush.

Bottom left: This ancient western red cedar tree in the Great Bear Rainforest have been modified by the indigenous people to use as planking to make their traditional Long Houses over a century ago. Culturally Modified Tree (CMT) is a term that describes the modification of a tree by the First Nation people as part of their tradition. Bottom right : My partner and I lived alone on Calvert Island for three winters building trails, bridges, ladders and boardwalks to gain access to lookouts and beaches facing the open west side of the Island. (Trails have since been up-graded) This page top: First Nations Nuxalk carvers raven mask. Bottom: Archeologists have studied the rock carvings (Petroglyphs) in British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest. They provide evidence that people have lived in this area more than 10,000 years. Some believe they have Polynesian origin?

As June approaches, schools of herring start to enter the Inlets, bays and streams in the Great Bear Rainforest. This brings white sided dolphins, humpbacks, orcas, steller sea lions, seabirds and salmon in from the Pacific Ocean. This is also when the marine highway of the Inside passage starts getting busy with vessels heading northbound to Alaska. The Great Bear Rainforest is home to the First Nations Oweekeno people in Rivers Inlet, Heiltsuk from Bella Bella and Nuxalk from Bella Coola.

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R&R - Racing & Recreation by Nathan Fa’avae

RACING In early October I travelled to Malaysia with my racing team Seagate (Chris Forne, Sophie Hart and Stuart Lynch) for a two-event called the Ironbound Challenge, an event with a strong reputation as Malaysia’s premiere adventure race. This the 9th event being held in the Perak region, in Royal Belum Rainforest. The main drawcard for us though, truth be known, was in fact Brazil - the host country for the November 2015 Adventure Racing World Championships - being held in the region of Pantanal, considered the world’s largest wetland, containing tropical rainforest of Amazonian scale. Having skied through a New Zealand winter and trained in spring, we wanted to spend some time acclimatising to the heat, humidity and

conditions we could expect in Brazil, and Malaysia offered that up, with the added bonus of some tasty cuisine to replenish. A week of training in the higher temperatures whilst including a twoday race was perfect and served as a useful reminder to us as to what to expect in Brazil. The backdrop for the Ironbound Challenge was a dense rainforest area covering 290,000 hectares and is believed to be the oldest rainforest on earth. Lining up was the top Asian teams from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. There were also squads from Mexico, Denmark and two New Zealand teams in the 32-team field. The event started with 2.5 km run, we took an early lead and once into the first kayak stage of 7 km we crafted a sizeable lead, reaching an island it was a 3 km run then a further 11 km kayak, paddling on the largest dam



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lake in Malaysia, green water with interesting navigation due to the many islands and arms. Onto the 68 km mountain bike, which turned into an epic in every sense, the heat was stifling and the travel was really slow, trees fallen over the trail and really difficult to move fast, the heat reached 30 degrees so we were burning up, under the watchful gaze of the curious monkeys. With just under 30 km to go I broke my rear derailleur so we spent 15 minutes making my bike a single speed and then it was a massive team effort to get to the end of the stage. Dropping bikes we had a short

bamboo raft paddle to under a bridge and then scaled a 50-metre rope, followed by a quick jog to the finish. Satisfied with our day one lead, we awoke to a surprise at the start of day two. The course was meant to be an 11 km mountain bike ride, followed by a 9 km jungle run, a 20 km kayak and climb / abseil to finish. However, some families of elephants had moved down from higher in the rainforest as a result of lightning storms and were camped on the section of jungle




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26/11/2015 11:39:11 AM

trail the teams were planning to race through. Wildlife officers prevented the race from continuing with the risk of the elephants being frightened and the likelihood of athletes being hurt as a result. The day one results became the official results which meant we won. So with racing completed, we grabbed the kayaks and went paddling.

PLACINGS 1st 2nd 3rd

Seagate (NZ) 9:39 Torpedo7 (NZ) 10:56 Merrell (Denmark) 11:22

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Matariki v5.indd 1 20/01/2014 11:29:57 a.m.

RECREATION Back in New Zealand and it was time to plan an adventure for the fast approaching Labour Weekend. Having been overseas for over a week I wanted do to a family trip and escape into the outdoors. Being based in Tasman Bay, having easy access to the Marlborough Sounds is an amazing benefit - provided you make the effort to get in there - which we do. We’ve toured the inner and outer sounds regularly and have wonderful memories from kayak trips. One trip we’ve saved for a long weekend was using the Nydia Bay Walkway as the basis for a paddle trip. We’ve always looked at the map and thought it offered up a logical and fun multi-day kayaking / hiking excursion, if you had five - six days. In this case, we didn’t have that much time but figured a way to do the water section of the loop anyway. It started with me dropping my wife and three children off at Tennyson Inlet, Duncan Bay, with the camping gear and kayaks on the Friday night of the long weekend. I then drove around to Kaiuma Bay, about an hour. Now, this is one advantage of training for a major adventure race, I then ran the 30 km Nydia Bay walkway to Duncan Bay, under torchlight. It was a glorious night out and I arrived at Duncan Bay at 3:00am, plenty of time to sleep! Saturday welcomed us with idyllic weather and sea kayaking at its best. From there we spent three days paddling to Kaiuma Bay, staying in primo coastal campsites and enjoying the spoils of everything the Sounds is famous for: scenery, waterways, penguins, dolphins, grabbing a handful of driftwood and cooking on beach fires, plus some unsuccessful fishing

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more a reflection of our fishing skills rather than the marine life. We even had favourable winds most of the time to fill our sails. One of the things I am always inspired about the sounds, is that every trip is different and unique, you can paddle the same route but stop and explore different places every time, the tidal flows and currents are forever changing, the sea birds always prowling. With so many bays and coves, it’s just about all weather paddling as you can nearly always find a haven. While the Marlborough Sounds are a sea kayaking paradise, I do get drawn to the more remote and wild aspects of Pelorus Sound, that’s where our next trip will be, currently in planning.

ADVENTURER AT HEART NATHAN FA’AVAE - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY ISBN: 9781927213629 RRP: $39.99 Format: Paperback Imprint: Potton & Burton Published: 20 October 2015 In this book, world champion adventure racer Nathan Fa’avae, considered by many to be the best in the history of the sport, shares his life story, and provides a unique insight into this remarkable pursuit. Part-Samoan, Nathan was raised in Nelson, and it was as a wayward adolescent that he discovered outdoor adventure. Since then he has never looked back, and has been a full-time adventurer working as an outdoor educator, the owner of multiple adventure-based businesses, and a professional athlete. His career has taken him all over the world: he has raced in the deserts of Africa, Mexico and the Emirates, the plains of Tibet and China, and the peaks and valleys of Nepal, Ecuador, Brazil, Patagonia, Russia, the European Alps, and New Zealand. Nathan Fa’avae: Adventurer at Heart is a story of courage and perseverance, and of overcoming tremendous challenges. Nathan’s career as an adventure racer has been made even harder by atrial fibrillation, a heart condition which has threatened many times to stop his sporting endeavours. Nathan Fa’avae is a remarkable New Zealander, and this book is a moving and inspiring account of what it takes to become a world champion. PAGE 18

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Nathan Fa’avae has qualified for the Olympics, worked as an Outward Bound Instructor, been a professional athlete and competed in over 30 countries. He has been the most successful adventure racer in the sport to date, having won three World Championships. He has run a number of adventure-related businesses, is a sought after speaker and passionately puts back into the sport that has given him so much. He started the Spring Challenge All Women Adventure Race. The event began in 2007 with 327 women entering – making it the highest participated adventure race in New Zealand at the time. The following year 600 women took part, the event continued to grow and 2014 saw the largest field – 1050 entrants. The event is one of the gems of New Zealand adventure racing, where up to 400 teams take part in the adventure that includes rafting, mountain biking, hiking and navigation.

Lapping the Lakes

By Ruth E. Henderson

– Tikitapu, Tarawera and Rotomahana

As a child Easter meant a white frock, white sandals and going to church with my Mum and Dad, sisters and brothers, and the rare treat of a chocolate Easter egg. For middle-aged me, Easter means a trip away, a holiday, kayaking, with lots of people and lots of chocolate... So when our team’s next opportunity to paddle the lakes coincided with Easter we agreed to make it a Yakity Yak club trip and our number swelled to eight eager paddlers ready to do 80 kms over the weekend. The plan was to circumnavigate Lake Tarawera and Lake Rotomahana, camping at the DOC campsites at Hot Water Beach and Humphries Bay on Lake Tarawera. Some of us travelled down from Auckland on the Thursday night and caught up with our mate and mentor Shakey, known in some circles as ‘Sir’ John Flemming. That night we hatched an amendment to the original plan – we decided to shoot around the wee Blue Lake or Tikitapu while we waited for the others to arrive. Apparently this name refers to the incident when a Maori chief’s daughter lost her precious tiki which was tied to her neck with a flax chord. I checked my pounamu, inherited from my Mum was secure; then the GPS was turned on – and we were off. The five kilometre lap was a good warm up; then it was boats on cars and onward to The Landing on the shores of Lake Tarawera. We drove past Te Wairoa, the Buried Village: Once an accommodation and staging post for tourists setting out to see the Pink and White Terraces; now tourists can view the results of the devastating eruption in 1886 of Mt Tarawera. It was a gorgeous day, calm, warm, sunny; a benign Mt Tarawera

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beckoned. We had boats packed in a flash, but were still one shy of eight. The meeting time came; launch time came... Shakey did the last shuttle to the Blue Lake Holiday Park, and we set out hugging the southern lake edge, heading towards Hot Water Beach. There was no cellphone coverage; we had to presume we had a no-show, but just in case, I asked Shakey to hold off going home for a bit. Looking back, counting heads, I spotted a car with kayak scream into the carpark. Peter, bless him turned back to help, Shakey, did the car shuttle honours again, we dawdled... and finally we were a pod of eight. The moral of the story is never rely on Google time; always give yourself an extra hour when in the midst of Auckland or holidays.

breakfast, we paddled the short distance to Rapatu Bay and the beginning of the track leading over the hill to Lake Rotomahana. But first we had to diligently wash off all traces of Lake Tarawera...weed and potential threats such as didymo. Old ice-cream containers and collapsible sinks were put into use; half a cup of detergent to two litres of water made up a frothy mix to sponge onto boats and pour into booties. Job done, the long haul began. To push or pull – that is the question. Having pushed wheelbarrows for years...I pushed! Others blindly pulled... Greg’s boat came off his trolley, Shelley and her boat came off the track,

The lake shore was picturesque; the Coprosma were laden with berry, the reeds were topped by a tier of ponga underneath the towering forest. But lurking below us were rocks and the odd tree trunk...For the first time that weekend Greg had to pump out his boat. Near Hot Water Beach, we stopped to walk up the stream to inspect the hot pool. We didn’t find the track so the choice was - wade in warm mud or push through cutty grass. Fun in the end...but we mentally marked where to land next time. At Hot Water Beach, it was a full camp, but all happy families, no hoodlums or drunks, just laughter, cooking smells and steam wafting over the boats under the full moon and the watchful mountain. I climbed a rock, ‘stood on one leg’ and with a one bar signal called home. All was well with the world. 5km + 13.9km, average speed 5.8kph, moving time 3hrs 13 mins Leaving our tents and most of the camp still sleeping or cooking PAGE 22

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trees stopping their rapid decent to the lake. I was grateful of the extra grunt when Bianca applied her Olympian strength and virtually ran me and my boat over the crest. It’s only 1.2 km but mostly up. The down wasn’t simple either. The old jetty was partially submerged, had steps missing, and the access was not designed for 5 m boats, but three of us chose that. The others worked out how to rope boats down over fallen trees, using them as a ramp. The whole exercise from landing to re-launching took an hour. Rotomahana was flat calm. The wattles and bush at the lake edge, due to once higher lake levels were silvery and dead. The pine wildings on the distant hillside, having been poisoned or ring-barked were brown and dead. Yet the lake was surprisingly beautiful. The reflections were stark and stunning. And the bird life was much more prolific than on Lake Tarawera. Paddling along we noticed Greg’s boat sitting a bit low in the water; he dismissed it as being his lunch! But half an hour later when we stopped for morning tea his whole stern was under water. Water poured out of a side seam and an inspection of the hull revealed a hole... Shelley’s duct tape came to the rescue. Luckily Greg’s tin of ‘Roses’ chocolates were ok... The water beneath us bubbled; the steaming cliffs alongside us gurgled and puffed and spouted – a world class performance. A tourist boat and fluoro clad DOC or Council workers spraying pampus grass seemed out of place; a disruption to our solitude. But we were grateful for the use of tourist’s toilets at the south western end of the lake, where we had stopped for lunch.

protect yourself from the elements

The nor-westerly kept us on our toes for our return; there were a few reedy inlets where we disturbed a few birds and surprisingly, a few cows! Greg had to stop and bail out occasionally, his boat still sucking in water. Back at the dilapidated jetty and tree-fall we then did a reverse of the

For the full range go to

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morning‘s performance... but this time, once we were up on the track, it was mostly downhill... What a day: Where else can you have an adventure, paddle on hot water, next to steaming cliffs, and end up soaking in a natural hot pool with a bunch of friends, a wine in hand, with nibbles including a bar of chocolate being passed around? 29.2km (+ 1.2km portage x 2, + 2km paddle to hot pool), average speed 5.4kph, moving time 5hrs 25mins In the wee hours, a stag roared, and the clocks fell back one hour as daylight saving ended. We had a leisurely start; using the extra hour to dry tents and being Easter Sunday, eat Easter eggs! Late flowering rata, waterfalls, and rocks awash with an orange pigment made the east side of the inlet rather colourful, and then we entered the main body of Lake Tarawera and were amongst old tree stumps, marking a sunken forest. Within a couple of hours we reached the Tarawera Falls outlet. After an early

lunch we stomped off to find the falls. Folk from yesterday’s camp had told us it only took 45 minutes. Well – they were wrong. It’s 45 to the first big, wide waterfall, The Cascades. Richard insisted, we carry on; we did and just ‘around the corner’ another 45 minutes later were the Tarawera Falls famous for disappearing underground then bursting out of a rock face.



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Back in our boats, Greg’s one re-bandaged, we set off in a nor-westerly direction for Humphries Bay and the free campsite in the apex of the rough ‘diamond’ shape of the Lake. The water was absolutely crystal clear; in the distance trout jumped, and the mountain looked on, dark and broody. At the campsite we were lucky; apart from one couple, we had the place to ourselves, with room to erect a tarp amongst the trees. The rain held off, Mark’s chocolates supplies were still holding. All was well with the world. 20.1km, average speed 5.5kph, moving time 3 hr 39mins (+ 2hr 30 min walk)

adventure equipment

It rained during the night and as we packed up, but it didn’t douse our spirits. We were up and away by 8.30am. There was a palpable reluctance to hurry our last few hours here. We heard the first tui of the trip, spotted ducks, coots, swans and goslings and were paddling beside pohutukawa mixed up with wattles, pepper trees, Coprosma. Gradually we got closer and closer to civilisation, to baches to boatsheds, wharves and roads. We played hide and seek in the raupo by Otumutu Island, then viola! There was Shakey and his mate Doug standing in the rain, with kit bags containing big pots of hot vegetable soup! What troopers! Just what we needed to warm us and fuel us for the next couple of hours. Back at The Landing, Shakey and Doug were there to help us do a quick turn-around and car shuttle. All loaded up and changed into dry gear, at the café it was Caesar Salads or Wedges or both! Anyone would have thought we hadn’t had a decent meal in days...four hour’s drive later, back at Greg and Juliet’s place, his wet gear draped over the clothes line, drink in hand...reflecting on the weekend, I’d have to say, the icing on the cake was...chocolate!

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Issue 79 Christmas 2015


Join Join the the Yakity Yakity Yak Yak Kayak Kayak Club Club n no

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Yakity Yak trip up Lucas Creek, Albany. Photo by: Shelley Stuart

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No Limits

By Jason Walker

Bryce Stevenson with a nice snapper caught at White Cliffs in Taranaki.

Like every angler I have lots of rods, reels, and tackle for all occasions, species, and fishing techniques - probably enough to open a small tackle shop - but do I need to take it all out with me each and every time I go fishing? Yes, of course I do, you never know when I might need that jigging rod, that lightweight softbait rod, or even that old glass trolling rod. But, when fishing from a kayak can you take all that gear then? The quick answer is no, there simply isn’t the room. So does that mean you cannot do all the types of fishing on a kayak that you can on a boat? No, not at all. What it means is that you have to learn how to fish with a limited arsenal that although is physically less it in no way limits your ability to target the same number of species with all the same methods as you are used to. There are two techniques you can apply to getting your kit sorted for kayak fishing; reduce and re-use. These will enable you to limit the amount of gear you take without limiting your ability to catch fish. The third thing we’ll look at is how you store your tackle and how you can assist yourself further if you think about how you store it. PAGE 28

Issue 79 Christmas 2015

Reduce Reduce is simple when you think about it, rather than taking all the tackle in your tackle box you review what you have and just take what you will use, plus a couple of spares. It’s about reducing the number of duplicate or similar items you are taking and how you could combine them if possible. A good example is terminal tackle, how many hooks, swivels, jigheads, etc do you really need for a six hour fishing session. My boat tackle box will have at least ten or more of each size hook, swivel, and endless jig head variations, but realistically, how many would I use in one session? Jig heads are a good example for me as I only softbait off my kayak. In my boat kit I’ll have at least ten jig heads of each size and weight. When I’m kayak fishing I’m fishing inshore mostly at depths below 30 metres so do I really need a 2 oz jighead? My jighead collection is cut right down to half a dozen of my favourite brand, size, and weight which is ½ oz 1/0 Berkley Stealths, a couple at 1oz and one at 2 oz just in case. So that’s eight spare jigheads plus the one that is already on my pre-rigged rod for a six hour session. If I lose all those jigheads in one session, I’ve been doing something wrong. It does raise the question though what if I find fish in very shallow water and need to go below the 1/2 oz? Simple, I’ve also got with me half a dozen worm hooks and a few egg sinkers in 1/4 oz for such an occasion.

The same technique can be applied to other terminal tackle. For example sinkers; I carry a small collection of egg and ball sinkers for softbaits and live baits and if I need more weight, I simply add two or three sinkers to the line till I achieve the desired weight. Swivels and other terminal tackle that come in larger packs can simply be decanted into other packets or storage boxes, I don’t need 25 swivels just four or five will do for a session. Yes, all of this arranging can add to the preparation time as I need to check what needs to be replaced before each trip, but it massively cuts down what I take with me and what I have to stow on the kayak where storage space is limited.

Technique Segregation Segregation means setting apart from other things. Separate your tackle into the different techniques it will be used for, for example you don’t need live bait balloons for softbaiting and you don’t need jigheads if you are going out for a mechanical jigging session. Store all the tackle for each technique together. You can decide what needs to be loaded on the kayak, depending on the expected fishing technique on the day. You may end up with some duplication of tackle by using this method but at least you’re not lugging around several kilos of extra gear you have no intention of using.

Re-use The second method I use to cut down on all the gear I take with me is to work out what gear I can reuse or repurpose across different techniques. This applies more to rod and reel setups than terminal tackle but there is some reuse than can be found if you look hard enough. At a very high level, rod and reel combos can be broken down into two categories based on the reel type; spin, or fixed spool, and overhead or free spool. Generally techniques can also be grouped in this way, normally

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Issue 79 Christmas 2015


Rob Boyle with a 4.53 kg trevalley

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Issue 79 Christmas 2015

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based on whether or not you need to cast the lure or bait. Casting is best suited to spin reels, as there is less friction than an overhead reel where the spool carrying the line has to rotate to allow the line to feed out; whereas the overhead setup is much better for techniques where you are dropping or feeding out a lure or bait, as it allows you to feel and control the line peeling off the reel as the lure or bait descends and you can feel those bites on the drop much easier. By assigning the techniques to the setups you can identify which techniques could be carried out on the one set up. Generally you’ll only use one technique at a time, so you can get away with one setup for a couple of techniques. The perfect example of this is jigging and live baiting. Both can be carried out perfectly well on a jigging setup, my own jigging setup is a Tica Redback 250 gm rod with a Shimano Talica 8 reel. This setup has successfully been used for jigging at White Island and live baiting off the East Cape. Another example is my lighter weight overhead setup using a K-Labs rod and a Shimano Trinidad 14A reel which is used for trolling hard body lures, slow jigs like the Shimano Lucanus, and Inchiku jigs like the Jitterbugs from Ocean Angler. My third set up I take with me on my kayak is the trusty soft bait setup. Now there isn’t a great deal of re-use here, but I can still cast a small lure for kahawai or even use the very small Inchiku jigs on it too. It’s important to note; my softbait setups are normally on the heavier end of the scale which gives me the ability to fish with the same setup in various locations without having to take several rods with me. I do a lot of my kayak fishing outside the Hauraki Gulf, even though I live in Auckland. I go further afield looking for bigger fish be it up north, on the tip of the Coromandel Peninsula or on a mothership trip at Great Barrier Island. So I fish with a 20 lb rod from Okuma with a Shimano Stradic CI4 4000 loaded with 14 lb Suffix braid – I told you it was heavy gear – but this rig is equally suited to a session to catch a feed in the Rangitoto Channel. The only change I’ll make is the weight of the fluorocarbon leader I use to match the location and expected catch.

Heavy spin setups for jigging and live baiting whilst they can be used, are really not suited to kayak fishing because when you are hooked up to a strong string pulling fish, the rod will naturally be pulled down as the fish tries to run and/or go deep. This means as the reel is under the rod it will be pulled down onto your legs and the kayak making winding the handle on the reel difficult. Therefore you are better off with an overhead setup when fishing for the bigger fish as the reel is always above the rod and can still be wound even if the fish is pulling the rod all the way down on to the kayak.

Storage So we’ve talked about all this gear and how rods and reels can be reused for different techniques so how do I get all this gear on my kayak?

Jason Dassler with his 8.64 kg snapper

Issue 79 Christmas 2015


That’s simple: lots of plastic boxes, yes lots of them, even plastic boxes that fit inside other plastic boxes. I start back at the segregation stage and work out what I need for each fishing technique then grab a small compartment box and start to fill it with the tackle I’ve sorted out, a technique or a couple of similar techniques may spill across several boxes which are then grouped into larger boxes so they can be kept together and easily loaded into the kayak.

The trick is to find a supply of suitable boxes that you can fit your tackle into and that you can easily fit into your kayak without wasting that valuable storage space you have on your kayak. My small boxes I found at a Plastic Box store and the larger ones are from Systema which can be found at various stores including The Warehouse. These boxes are cheap, so having a few extra on hand makes loading them up for a fishing trip quick and easy. One thing to note is that as much as they like to tell you how good the seals are on these plastic boxes they are very rarely 100% water tight, so you’ll end up with water in them at some point. Keep an eye on them for water ingress as saltwater and most fishing tackle do not mix well. You’ll soon end up with a bunch of rusted out hooks etc. If water does get into your boxes act quickly. You can often save your tackle from corrosion by simply removing the saltwater. When you get home, rinse it all in warm fresh water and dry it somewhere warm like the airing cupboard.

Stretching Deck Space Finally I’ll look at is utilising the space you have on your kayak. The space available on a kayak is always limited. It’s not just where to store your tackle, there’s also deck space where you have to mount rod holders, electronics, etc. This is where a TracPort from New Zealand company Railblaza has been used, allowing three items to be fitted into the space of one or two. The Railblaza system offers a variety of add on products that can be plugged into their StarPort system which are ideal for kayaks.

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Issue 79 Christmas 2015


Quick Crossword Test your knowledge of kayaking and kayaking safety. 24. The meeting point of two rivers. 25. The amount of air trapped inside a boat.

1 2








1. 2. 3. 4.



11 12




15 17


18 20



23 24 25

Used for self rescue. Angle of the paddle blade. Measure of how difficult it is to capsize. Vertical vortices with a core of air that carry anything that falls into them down to the bed of the river, lake or sea. 7. To move at an angle to the wind or waves. 8. In-coming tide. 9. A material that gets cold quickly when wet. 12. The line of water along the hull of a kayak or other water craft when it is afloat. 15. The disturbed water following a moving vessel. 16. Clasp used for towing, in rescues and for general fastening. 17. When a kayak is inadvertently filled with water by passing waves. 18. Transporting paddlers or equipment by road to the opposite end of a paddling trip. 19. The rim of a kayak’s cockpit. 21. An uncontrolled course change putting you broadside to the wave, current or obstacle.

Across 3. A technique that propels the boat continuously sideways towards the paddle. 5. A brief period of stillness that occurs between the ebb and flood. 6. The direction in which a kayak is pointing at a given moment. 10. Another term for rope or string. 11. A new paddling activity. 13. Notifying Coastgaurd of your intentions. 14. The distance between the waterline and the lowest point of the deck of the vessel. 20. Moulding in the cockpit to aid in boat control. 22. A shallow area created by a submerged ridge of rocks or coral. 23. Part of the rudder that inserts into gudgeons.

Sudoku 7


8 6

3 5 6

4 4


7 2

1 9


4 3


8 1




The objective is to fill the 9×9 grid with digits so that each column, each row, and each of the nine 3×3 sub-grids that compose the grid contains all of the digits from 1 to 9. Solution on page 46


LEADING THE MARKET SINCE 1994 Issue 79 Christmas 2015



Sea Kayak Rescues. Stage 1. Always ensure that the swimmer keeps hold of the kayak, paddle and is calm when you approach.

Stage 2

By Peter Townend Stage 3

Stage 2. Slide the kayak upright onto your spray skirt. Always keep a hand on top of the rescued kayak as this prevents you capsizing. Stage 3. Roll the kayak upside down while keeping a hand on top of the hull. Stage 4. Lift the kayak to drain it. It’s really important to keep a hand on top of the hull to ensure you don’t capsize. Stage 4

Stage 5 A

Stage 5. Roll the kayak back onto its hull and park the kayak beside you with the rescued kayak stern to your bow. Now place your near hand over the front bungies and into the water and your far hand into the front of the rescued kayaks cockpit. This will stabilise both kayaks. Note the position of the paddles, so that Thomas, now the rescuer, has immediate access to them. Stage 6. Getting the swimmer back into the kayak can be done in many different ways, here we will show you three options that require no extra equipment. It is of course a necessity to have a rescue that you can perform in all conditions. If you are an expedition wanabe, you’ll need to practice these rescues both as rescuer and rescued, until you can ‘do it’ in the worst conditions you may find yourself in.

Stage 5 B

Stage 6 Continued To begin with; Option 1. The swimmer does a press up on the back deck and gets their belly button onto the centre line of the boat, while the rescuer supports their mate as in stage 5. They then swing their legs toward the cockpit and wiggles into the cockpit until their groin is over the seat. Then roll over into the sitting position, using the other kayak for stability if needed.

Option 1A

Option 1C

Option 1B

Option 1D

The second option uses the same support and press up onto rear deck, but instead of feet first swing your leg over the rudder. Like on a horse, known as the John Wayne. Now wiggle up until your butt is over the seat, sit in it and fold your legs in. If you can’t fold your legs in just stop the wiggle at the back of the cockpit and slide in with straight legs. Option 2

Third option is the Leg Over. Here the swimmer lies on their back with legs towards the front of their kayak. Roll over, putting the outside leg into the cockpit. Use leg, torso and arms to roll onto the rear deck and slip into the cockpit. Once back in the kayak, pump it dry.

Option 3A

The last tip if you are rescuing a tired, larger or weaker paddler is try what Thomas is demonstrating. By lifting the front of the kayak the back sinks down in the water a bit more making the ‘press up’ by the swimmer easier, it also helps not to empty the kayak as this also gets the rear of the kayak a bit lower. To reiterate; these all require practice and coaching is a huge help to get the finer points sorted so your rescue will work well.

Option 3B

Option 3C

Short Long Weekend by Martin Straka


Issue 79 Christmas 2015

This article is not only a celebration of the beauty of rivers but even more a celebration of inflatable boats and what can be done with them… The sun’s hot and I have to open the office window to cool down. One of those days when you wish you were somewhere completely different. My thoughts drift back a few days to when we were driving down to the Slovenian Alps for the long weekend to paddle my very favourite river – the Soca. Our girls are still small but I’m hoping that if the weather holds we’ll be able to enjoy one of the easy scenic runs on the mid Soca tomorrow afternoon, the whole family in one boat. We arrive at the put-in early in the afternoon and are greeted by the rest of our party: Osi, Radka, Tomo and Katka. They have inflatables too. One Baraka and one K2 are already set up and lying side by side in the shade. We get into our river gear and put in for one of the upper runs above the Koritnica confluence. The sun’s hot and the water nice and cool. The upper Soca is a small volume river with Grade two rapids and couple of Grade three drops, with two narrow gorges in the mix. We are going pretty fast. Everyone is relaxed and we have a fairly low flow. After the Koritnica confluence the river gains volume and speed and we are about to enter the last rapid when the gorge opens out and we can enjoy the majestic mountain views in the west where Slovenia borders with Italy. The last rapid can be pushy with extra water from the Koritnica, but today it’s just perfect. Our Baraka handles well, and the water that splashed in half way down the rapid drains out through the duct-spill before I know it. We pull out under the bridge, pack up and in 15 minutes we’re on the road again to check into my favourite campground in Trnovo. We pitch our tents and start making dinner. In the evening we light the fire and Osi

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disappears into the dark then reappears with a stash of ice cold Union beers still dripping river water. We plan the program for the next two days and go to bed early. On Sunday the Soca Valley pulls out one of its best. Morning fog burns out before we have the crew out of the sleeping bags and after a hearty breakfast we laze around in the morning sun for a while before heading up the river again. Everything is so close here and our morning run ends only 200 m from our camp. This is a more exciting trip with more Grade three rapids and a bit more volume in the river. It’s also a popular rafting run and I know that the river will be busy with rafts in the early morning. We take our time and have a bit of a play surfing the waves. One wave is so great we stay and play for about 20 minutes. I jump into the K2 with Tomo and we try to do a spin. K2 is a good surfer and we enjoy half a dozen great surfs and a couple of good swims too. It’s a safe spot and the swim is refreshing and entertaining for our friends. We’re just getting hungry when we pull out

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Issue 79 Christmas 2015


on a rocky beach below the camp. We don’t have to rush our lunch, as in the afternoon I’m only taking out the girls on a short run from Czesoca to Srpenica, a scenic run with a couple of easy rapids. On a day and a river like this one the only worry is hydration and sun protection. We take a few treats as rewards and I’m really pleased that Osi and Radka decide to keep us company, while Tomo and Katka take off mountain biking. Lucky for us Radka takes some great pictures on the way down. This is the first real river trip Kylie and I have done together with the girls and we’re pleased that both Stephanie and Rachel enjoy the trip.

The following day we paddle the bottom gorge from a small car park on the road side, just below the “big stuff” that starts some 300 m downstream from the camp. We mix the crew slightly, as some of us aren’t that keen and those who go on the river have heaps of fun. We leave the valley early afternoon and hit the road back home. It was one brilliant long weekend that had only one down side. It just felt too short…


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The view you would rather have

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Issue 79 Christmas 2015

Ask other kayakers and checkout what the professionals use. Chances are they will recommend using a Beckson Thirsty Mate. Why? Because Beckson is a trusted brand, been around a long time and they pump a lot of water (rated at 30 litres a min). Plus they last for ages. Unrestricted opening allows for great pumping volume

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Trip Card # 027 Martins Bay to Kawau Island

Beehive Island

Martins Bay to Kawau Island return Route card No. 027 Skill level: Intermediate Distance: 16 km Chart: NZ5227 Tidal Port: Auckland Start point: Finish Point: Coastguard contact: Comms coverage: Transport:

Martins Bay Martins Bay Dial 111 VHF Channel 82 or 16 Nowcasting 21 Good coverage for VHF & Cellphone through out. Kawau Cruises Taxi 0800 111 616 or Johnies Taxi 021 422 173

Introduction: This is one of the shortest routes to Kawau Island from the mainland. It is a fairly easy day paddling out to Mansion House then back via the coppermine and Beehive island. You could extend this to include an over night at Motuora Island if you wish.

Description: From Martins Bay, paddle out via Martello Rock to Mansion House Bay. Then continue back around the coast to the south via the old coppermine. From here it is a short paddle to Beehive Island before heading back across to Martins Bay.

Hazards: • Other vessels, especially as you approach Bon Accord Harbour and cross South Channel

Accomodation: • Book A Bach accomodation is available on Kawau Island. There are no camp sites. • Accomodation is available at the DOC campsite on Motuora Island. Booking is essential.


Diving and snorkelling

Bird and wildlife watching



Historic sites

Cafe (Mansion House 09 422 8903 for opening hours)

Please note; Every care has been taken to ensure the information contained in this Trip Card is correct at the time of publication, but things change and you will need to confirm the information provided. You will also need to get further information to ensure a safe trip, this will include an up to date, relevant weather forecast and the ability to understand its implications for the area and talking to locals in the area to garner new information on any hazards in the area. It is also expected that an appropriate level of knowledge, skills and equipment are required to safely complete the trip. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are unsure of any information or you find the Trip Card needs updating. Cheers Peter Townend,Yakity Yak Kayak Club. Updated: November 2015

Trip Card # 028 Waikowhai Bay to Oatoru Bay

Green Bay

Waikowhai Bay to Oatoru Bay return Route card No. 028 Skill level: Intermediate Distance: 14 km Chart: NZ4315 Tidal Port: Onehunga Start point: Finish Point: Coastguard contact: Comms coverage:

Waikowhai Bay Oatoru Bay or Waikowhai Bay Dial 111 VHF Channel 81 or 16 Nowcasting 22 Good coverage for VHF & Cellphone through out.

Introduction: This is a very pleasant paddle along the coast of Blockhouse Bay to Oatoru Bay. The Manukau Harbour is a forgotten treasure with some beautiful scenery, wildlife and great fishing. Watch that tide, as when it goes out there is a lot of mud.

Description: Leaving Waikowhai Bay, paddle west past Wattle Bay. You’ll be passing the Blockhouse Bay Boat Club on the western point of Blockhouse Bay and the Motukaraka Bank is on your left. There are a number of beaches along the way for a well deserved break. Hazards: • Waikowhai is an all tide get-in with a rock base. At the very lowest tides there is a small amount of mud. • Mud flats at low tide tide • Strong tidal flows

Waikowhai Park


Bird and wildlife watching Fishing

Please note; Every care has been taken to ensure the information contained in this Trip Card is correct at the time of publication, but things change and you will need to confirm the information provided. You will also need to get further information to ensure a safe trip, this will include an up to date, relevant weather forecast and the ability to understand its implications for the area and talking to locals in the area to garner new information on any hazards in the area. It is also expected that an appropriate level of knowledge, skills and equipment are required to safely complete the trip. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you are unsure of any information or you find the Trip Card needs updating. Cheers Peter Townend,Yakity Yak Kayak Club. Updated: November 2015


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Interview with Josh Neilson I have known Josh and been travelling and kayaking all over the world with him since 2006. For the first time in many years this year we were on a different programme. With a season of work ahead of me on the Ottawa River and Josh’s upcoming surgery our plans couldn’t come together. We have paddled in USA, Canada, Norway, Thailand and New Zealand and have had countless amazing times on the river together. With a common interest in capturing kayaking on film and photos Josh and I have managed to work together on a number of awesome projects. In the early days it was full length kayaking films and recently in Norway documenting Extreme Sports Week in Norway. Josh has been writing articles for this magazine for as long as I have known him and it’s been great to read his words and share my photos of him with you all. Here are a few things that you may not have known from reading Josh’s articles.

By Tyler Fox

Josh you have been in the public kayaking spotlight through films and magazines since about 2006. What happened before this to get you to that level? Well I started kayaking at a very young age when my parents bought a couple of kayaks to take on holiday around the South Island. Not long after that when I was about six my dad took me kayaking down the Ngaruroro River in Hawkes Bay and we fell out. Back then even the smallest wave was huge to me and the swim was quite scary. I swam to the side and swore and declared I would never kayak again. Fast forward a few years and I was playing canoe polo and getting back my confidence in a kayak. By the age of 16 kayaking was all I could think about. I went to watch the World Freestyle champs at Full James and I knew from that moment on it would be the passion that allowed me to see the world. I bought my first kayak from Bliss-stick – The FJ2!!! Every spare moment I had was spent on the water trying to throw my 45 kg body around and learn to cartwheel. It wasn’t until the Blitz Special came out and I had a few more Kgs behind me that it became a reality! After three years at Christchurch Polytech I had the skills and dream to kayak all over the world. That was the summer I met Tyler and we planed our first mission to the World Freestyle champs on the Ottawa River in 2006. That’s how it all began!

Josh Neilson in his early years.

Josh Neilson takes on Matzes Drop Photo by: Dean Treml

The local forces in Thailand came to check out what we were up to.

From then on do you have a favourite trip or river? After spending almost 10 years kayaking the world it is such a hard one to call. In the Kaimanawa’s, Tree Trunk gorge above the main drop was a memorable moment feeling isolated and in such a spectacular place. The North Fork of the San Joaquin was definitely the best multi-day run I have done with so much good white water and I was just feeling the best I have ever felt in a kayak. Norway is an all-around amazing destination to kayak and a place I have many fond memories . To call one river the best is an impossible task as they are all unique in their own way! You say they are all unique in their own way. Is this one of the reasons

why you do as much as you can to protect them from damming and pollution? Sometimes I feel like I do a lot to help and yet I feel like I could do more. I have spent so much time kayaking and have gained a lot from what our rivers provide. The team at Whitewater NZ and others around the world are doing all the hard work in my mind and they need to be thanked! I have run a number of film shows and promotions over the years to help raise funds to help them keep doing what they are doing. Although my work is not hands on, writing submissions and fighting power companies, I feel I had the opportunity to tell stories and use that to help raise some money to help out. In future I would like to transition over to a role where I am directly fighting for our rivers! I have been around while you have made a number of kayaking films and even helped out in a few. Can you run us through your films for kayaking? Well back at Christchurch Polytech I used my course related costs to buy a camera and it was the best $1000 I ever spent. It all started as a hobby and a good way to see what we were up to. Those were the days before social media etc, so if you wanted to see a film, you had to come and watch it on my computer. After polytech, when I started travelling the world, the need to capture the moments seemed more and more important. With one trip over and with hours of footage, it dawned on me that this needed to be shared. This is where my fundraising path began. With advice from a family friend I edited a film, sold tickets and shared my trip through USA, Canada and Africa with people in my home town. The money raised went to the Soft Power Malaria Clinic in Uganda and I was fired up to make another one. From


Issue 79 Christmas 2015

there I made films yearly and had shows all around NZ, and internationally, and raised over $10,000 for different causes. Transcendence was the biggest film to date, which has been well received all over at festivals and on main-stream TV. You always seem to have a camera on hand. I have seen the footage from your broken back accident in Norway last year. Do you have any plans for that? When I broke my back I decided to keep filming mostly to give me something else to think about other than the pain. Now sitting here a year on I am starting to put together ideas for a longer film that follows the course of the accident and coming back from it. A lot of people think that accidents like this are a good reason to stop all together, but they can also be a good reminder and inspiration to others if you carry on and take positives from it too. I will keep you posted on this as it happens. So where to from here? Can I expect to have another international kayaking holiday with you in the near future? At the time of writing this I have currently been kayaking down the Kaituna twice since having the rods and screws removed from my back. It feels great to be back on the water and the pain is much more manageable or even non-existent most of the time. I will keep working on this in the coming months over our summer and aim for a trip to the Northern Hemisphere in the New Year. To where is still unknown but I am itching to get back to the big water of the Zambezi and Norway is always on the back of my mind. Lets go! Cheers for that Josh I am stoked you are back on the water and look forward to many more missions in the years to come!

Polytech Days Photo Josh Neilson

Issue 79 Christmas 2015



Issue 79 Christmas 2015

North Fork of San Joaquin Photo: Jamie Garrod

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