Issue 88 final web

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Issue 88

ON SALE NOW Taupo ROCKS! 66° North – Kayaking along the Arctic Circle Pack Rafting The Wangapeka The Toba Caldera White Water World Festival 2017 Proudly supported by:

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Issue 88 Summer 2018


Contents adventure equipment Sea Kayaking 6. Taupo ROCKS! 16. 66° North – Kayaking along the Arctic Circle Sit-on-Top 34. The Unconventional Tourer White Water 28. Pack Rafting The Wangapeka 46. The Toba Caldera White Water World Festival 2017 General 42. Visit our new website

Clarification In the last issue (87) we published an article on the Te Maika area. The owners of the properties have requested we clarify access.

Tommahawk Dry Cag

Te Maika and the adjacent Totara Point are both land blocks managed by Te Maika Trust Board on behalf of the Maori King. High Back PFD

Permission must be sought to walk or camp on Te Maika and Totara Point, and that permission may not be readily given. The Te Maika Trust Board is presently working closely with the Waikato Regional Council and others to create Te Maika Mainland Reserve. Ecorestoration work along with predator trapping and poisoning are all getting underway. Editors Note: It is important to remember to seek permission from the land owner before entering any private land. Sladek Recreational Cag

Xipe Touring PFD

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. 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.

Junga Touring Cag

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Go to: CONTRIBUTORS: We welcome contributors’ articles and photos. Refer to for more details. ALL CONTRIBUTIONS TO: James Fitness, New Zealand Kayak Magazine Cover photo: Ruth Henderson up close to rock faces on Lake Taupo. By: Shelley Stuart

Rakau White water PFD

RFD New Zealand Limited 0800 777 009 Auckland Wellington Nelson Christchurch Filename: SURVITECpos_PMS.eps Colourway:



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Issue 88 Summer 2018 YAK qtr page 15-08 colour white background.indd 1

23/11/2017 4:22

Editorial To Challenge yourself or not A recent conversation around perspectives was engaging. The nub of it was that we often find some of the things we must do rather a chore. But if we look at them from a different angle, we can appreciate doing them. An example of this is the trip home and the phone rings from one of the family asking you to collect milk and some other items for dinner. It is easy to be annoyed by the extended trip home, but equally it could be interpreted as - how lucky we are to be able to drive to the shops on good roads, to have choices of what food to purchase and to be able to pay for it. I was reading somewhere that half of the world population still cooks on solid fuel i.e. sticks, dry cow dung etc. We have so much to be grateful for that it is good to remind ourselves from time to time just how lucky we are. I was chatting with one of the new Yakity Yak Leaders the other day who was having difficulty with her eskimo roll. We talked about what was working and what was not and what might be the problem. I recounted my personal experience of being told from the pool side how to do it and achieving my first roll. I can remember thinking, “That wasn’t hard”. Well ‘pride came before the fall’. It was six months before I managed my second roll and that was with multiple sessions per week.

There are many people who question the need to learn about kayaking. “Can’t you just pick it up as you go along?” The answer is, it is different for everyone and depends on what you want to do and where you want to go in your kayak. If you are a good swimmer, you can always swim home, so, I suppose there is little need to know much. But if you wish to return to shore with your kayak after an accidental capsize and you can’t rescue yourself, then you better be able to swim the distance towing your kayak and paddle as well. So, yes, anyone can kayak, but if you want to be safe then: learn how to paddle efficiently; how to prevent a capsize using; and what your limitations are in rescuing yourself and others. This knowledge will build a skill set that will prevent you ‘going where angels fear to tread’ and allow you to adventure to places you probably thought too ambitious. Learning to roll a kayak brings a whole plethora of advantages. It takes away much of the concern of paddling in rough conditions, allows you to seek out amazing surf and rock gardening opportunities, in other words it makes kayaking much more fun if you like a little adrenalin. It also gives you a sense of achievement that is memorable for decades.

In New Zealand we are blessed with amazing places and people, with so much support from the volunteer and commercial sectors that anything you want to do is at your fingertips. So, why don’t you challenge yourself to try something new and take up kayaking? Or if you are already a kayaker start developing some cool skills, so surfing and rivers become part of just who you are. Remember we live in a country with huge opportunities so do something that challenges you that you will remember forever. My roll still works nearly three decades on and it is one of my physical achievements I am most proud of, probably made more so because of the effort it took to master it. Cheers and a safe and happy paddling. Peter Townend

Issue 88 Summer 2018


Taupo ROCKS! By Ruth E. Henderson

You could say that Lake Taupo is the centrepiece of the North Island…Maori legend says it is the pulsating heart of Maui’s fish. With a perimeter of 193 kms and at 616 square kilometres, it’s certainly hard to ignore…but for two years that is precisely what we did. After the Rotorua Lakes, Shakey (aka John Fleming) told us you just ‘have’ to do Taupo…but the idea didn’t catch fire… I knew I’d eventually have to circumnavigate it, just so I could ‘move on’ to the South Island Lakes. The purchase of the four Topo50 maps needed for the second largest freshwater lake in Oceania cranked up the motivation. Evan Pugh’s list of freedom campsites left no excuses. The plan I sold the others was an anti-clockwise trip, over seven days averaging 25 – 30 kms daily, at the end of November. Before our departure I received a handwritten letter from Shakey “BE ASSURED…IT WILL BE GOOD, GREAT, BLOODY MARVELLOUS bbb”. Despite the shouty capitals, I still didn’t quite believe him. Peter, Shelley and I assembled the night before in Taupo at our friend Jude’s place. Car shuttles done, we left a “Two Minute Form” with the Harbour Master and finally…we were off into a forecast 1-5 knot wind! It was hot, it was sunny, the water was crystal-clear. Magic. Soon we were paddling past some idyllic looking Real Estate in Acacia Bay the usual departure point when day-tripping to the Maori Carvings. PAGE 8

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Swans and mature cygnets, blue herons, Australian coots, grebes, the diving dabchicks and their antics kept us entertained and occasionally a kingfisher in a blur of blue would flash by. We nosed in for a gawk at the carvings created in the 1970s. At 10 m high, they are impressive and you do wonder how Matahi WhakatakaBrightwell and John Randell managed the job. Abseiling? Thinking we’d left behind civilisation and tourist boats we sought Whakaipo Bay. But the scar in the hillside turned into a dusty road as car after car came down to the beginning of the W2K cycle trail. Every man and his dog was on the beach enjoying the last of the afternoon sun. Evan had indicated the road end as a place to camp…and hooray it had a loo. We climbed over the style and set up camp. That night car headlights disturbed our slumbers as locals hooned around the circular road end…and I woke to strange noises… ‘Bravely’ I shone my torch…and there, its heart beating as fast as my own was a hedgehog in my tent vestibule. Phew. The morning bought blowflies and a lady who informed us that camping was not allowed… hadn’t we seen the signs? No, we came by water not road… Once again hugging the coastline we came upon the photogenic Mason Rock and Whangamata Bluffs and into Kinloch, we pulled up onto the grass by the marina. Onward and out of Whangamata Bay and into Kawakawa Bay we spotted some rock climbers up on the cliffs. We could have shared the campsite at the base of Te Kauwae with the climbers and cyclists but pushed on looking for a less crowded place. All we spotted were very slim beaches, so on we continued to Boat Harbour. What a silly idea

Issue 88 Summer 2018


on a Saturday night at the beginning of summer! ‘The boys’ in their boats were having a boozy fishing weekend. We back-paddled fast, retreating to the sandy beach we’d passed minutes before. In the bush we found three wee tent sites. We have now named this place “Forget-me-not Bay”. Not because it was so memorable with tiny dabchicks and grebes visible diving in the crystal-clear water, but because of the carpet of flowers we laid upon. In that night’s ‘despatch’ to our check-in people I did say we were ‘just before’ Boat Harbour, but unfortunately when Robbie Banks sent a text saying Cherry Bay camp – Photo by Shelley Stuart she’d meet us the next day and asked “where are you” I said Boat Harbour. Unbeknown to me, she was actually already at Kinloch and thought she’d and the shoreline we were bobbing about on was once 34 m higher. All I surprise us. We slept while she searched the harbour campsite and know is that the rocks stacked and packed any which way - the patterns, paddled on in the dark… geometric, random or crazy, the contours of colour, the buttresses, the It was a day of cliff faces and waterfalls. At Waihora Bay we walked up to the Kotukutuku Stream and stumbled on a good place to camp in the future. Another cycle trail ends here, so there is a toilet and a shelter. The Otupoto Falls were pumping and fair bashed the bows of our boats… then we came upon Robbie. Waihaha looked decidedly unfriendly with signs warning folk not to land …we went beyond them, and lunched together before she went up the stream to the Tieke Falls and back to Kinloch. We continued to potter and be mesmerised by the rock formations and cliff faces.

At Whanganui Bay, ‘the’ campsite looked a bit public, so we continued onto Cherry Bay. ‘Everyone’ said it was a beautiful spot. It was not. Seen from the water, it looks pretty…but the stream is full of stagnant debris, the toilet inaccessible, fallen down trees reduced the beach… However, no-one wanted to retreat, nor continue with no pull-outs for another 12 kms. Peter ended up camped in the bush, and having to bury a few smelly things. We girls found an old rubbish bin lid and Shelley used this to fill in the holes in a wee sandy knell and I thought ‘she’ll be right mate’ as I flattened out a spot on the water’s edge. I should have recalled some of Shakey’s stories about wind freshening…waves crashing...and having to shift his stretcher a couple of metres. The next morning there was a tide mark around my tent, and yes, there were puddles on my tent floor …and it was raining.

Photo by: Shelley Stuart

Lake Taupo, (as is Lake Rotorua) is a caldera or collapsed crater, created by a super volcano eruption about 26,500 years ago. This eruption ejected mostly rhyolitic lava and left layered cliffs of light coloured ignimbrite rock, and looser tephra (pumice and ash). Apparently, Taupo is the most frequently active and productive rhyolite caldera in the world with the most recent eruption in 181AD, (reportedly colouring the sky in Rome and China)

columns, the sheer walls plunging to great depths were wonderous. What a well-kept secret…where were all the other kayakers?


Issue 88 Summer 2018

After rounding Te Papatu Point, looking for an alternative to Cherry Bay (for future reference) we called into the last ‘bay’ before the Karangahape Cliffs. Camping was feasible, if a few rocks and branches were shifted, but it was really hammock territory. The cliffs were monstrous, massive and mysterious cloaked in mist. The forest was wet and lush: pink and white flowers clothed the kamahi, tanekaha sported fresh new tips, the sodden upturned leaves of the palmate five-finger looking like huge flowers mingled with whiteywood, whilst pyramidal rewarewa poked through the canopy. Te Hapua would be a good camp, with a toilet…but not this time, onward we went to Te Hape Bay. The reserve had a loo, but you couldn’t miss the ‘no camping signs’ so we carried on finding a sand shelf just before Kuratau.

Quickly we set up camp…and as the sun had come out, I found alternative uses for paddles – propping up my tent so the floor dried, and likewise my mattress, sleeping bag… Kowhai trees framed the view of Motutaiko Island and cloud reflections: calmness reigned, all was well with the world. We had a lazy start, the excuse being waiting for clothes to dry. In truth, it was just a gorgeous spot to linger in. We cruised past Kuratau, watching birds fly from the bush or shore: the lumbering then soaring wood pigeons, the swift dart of the kingfisher, the blue heron’s languorous flight. We were now at the southern end of the lake. Waihi Falls looked a good place for a walk …but there was no pathway, so we sat in the sunshine





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for lunch. We dipped our hands in the hot water as steam rose around the marae, investigated the lichen and seagull covered old wharf, skirted a huge expanse of oxygen weed and raupo making NZ scaup shift in a whirr of wings, saw 100s of black swans; those we disturbed walking on water or doing aerial swimming as they attempted to take flight. A tree of white dots burst into life: Royal spoonbill and white heron. Fabulous. Willow Reach just before the Tongariro Delta was a maze of reeds and willows; at first intriguing, but soon a bit scary as it would be easy to get lost. I felt uneasy, not helped by the thunder booming behind us. Both Andrew and Ian, our Auckland computer savvy husbands had texted us warning of a storm in the central plateau with thunder, hail and heavy rain. Hard to believe when in running shorts and rash-shirt. We camped on Jones Island at the main mouth of the Tongariro river. Before the rain came we’d cleared gorse and broom seedlings to pitch our tents, had dinner and jumped into bed. Peter and I both had headtorches and were happy, while Shelley joked “so, that’s what books are for.” As an old tramper, I was a bit worried. Lake Taupo is drained by the Waikato River, and filled by the Waitahanui, Tauranga-Taupo and Tongariro Rivers… We weren’t in a gorge, but… that catchment area was getting a lot of water. I got out of bed several times in the night to check the kayaks (tied to a tree) and the water level. The next morning, we were on the water early! In contrast to the day of birds, it was a day of animals…stumbling out of the blackberry, gorse and willows of Stump Bay we saw a Texan Long-horn, then a herd of feral goats, then rabbits. Always on the lookout for toilets or rubbish bins we stopped at the end of the bay at a clubroom off Frethey Dr. The bush and cliff faces of the Motuoapa Peninsula were beautiful after the tedium of the 8 km bay. Bypassing the commercial camp and marina we sprawled out on a sports field for lunch. Reaching our planned destination of Motutere Bay far too early - the lake flat, calm and sunny, we pushed on to Halletts Bay so as to shorten our last day. The sight and sounds of civilisation were hard to adjust to. Trucks and cars thundered and swished by. We took several attempts to find the

PROTECT THEIR PLAYGROUND FOR YEARS TO COME Freshwater pests, including didymo and lake snow, could squeeze the life out of our country’s most precious rivers and lakes. They can be spread by a single drop of water. Help protect your favourite waterway. Always CHECK, CLEAN, DRY any equipment that comes into contact with the water, between every waterway, every time.






Issue 88 Summer 2018

Photo by: Shelley Stuart

Issue 88 Summer 2018


recommended spot (with a loo) …note when heading north it is after the Lombardy poplars and before the point, next to a big beech trees. This provided some shelter from the developing rain while we cooked our dinner. In the morning, happy to leave our noisy campsite behind, we spotted a quieter one, just after the Hinemaiaia River, before the White Cliffs. Next time… We’d seen the famous White Cliffs from across the lake and as approaching…the lake was a mirror which enhanced the view…but after the massive towering multi-facetted cliffs of the nor-western side of the lake…not so impressive. What was amazing was spotting a lone fisherman walking and casting, miles from any road access. Near Lake Rotongaio we stopped for a ‘last chance’ to gather pumice. Shelley for turning into necklaces and Peter for carving into garden ornaments. Then five-mile bay, four-mile…and finally Taupo town. Thirty seconds after landing, the threatening black skies dumped on us… Jude came to the rescue and soon we were clean, dry, wining, dining… raving about Taupo. The next day stopping off at Rotorua to see 88 year old Shakey, we asked “Where next?” he told us, the South Island, Lake Manapouri. When I got home, my kayaking neighbour Gavin asked… “In ten words, how was Taupo?” I replied “ Exceeded expectations. Worth repeating. Especially Northern Western side. Taupo ROCKS!


Issue 88 Summer 2018

Our overnight accommodation in Fresvik

Issue 88 Summer 2018


66° North – Kayaking along the


Issue 88 Summer 2018

Arctic Circle

By Uta Machold

Issue 88 Summer 2018


'Slaloming' around icebergs has been on our list of dreams for more than 10 years, from the day we had seen slides about a kayak trip somewhere along the coastline of Greenland. Finally it felt like it just 'had to be done' - now or never! Coming to that conclusion, investigating our options and deciding on a suitable trip was all done within a week around the end of 2016. From then on, the hardest part of our preparations was to patiently wait for that magic day in July when we would make our way up north to the Arctic Circle - at 66° north, right into the Arctic summer. What lay ahead of us was an organised kayak trip within the Tasiilaq District on the sparsely populated east coast of Greenland. We were a group of six paddlers – plus Calle, our Swedish guide, who has lived in Svalbard (midway between continental Norway and the North Pole) long enough to be considered a real Norseman. Together with my long time paddle friends Nele and Dagmar from Germany, we were convinced that the other half of the group (three handsome men) just had to be all right – and sure enough, we couldn't have hoped for a better team, or a better guide!

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

Greenland is the largest island on this planet, with an area roughly eight times bigger than that of New Zealand. About 80% of the land surface is covered by the Greenlandic ice cap, leaving only a narrow strip of 'green land' along the coastline suitable for habitation. No more than 56,000 people live in Greenland (and only 3,000 along the east coast), which makes it the second least populated place on earth – after Antarctica. Getting to Greenland from Iceland is no big deal, a mere two hour flight following the Arctic Circle straight to the west and we arrived in Kulusuk. This tiny colourful village is home to only 267 (and declining) hardy souls, and an airstrip on solid - permafrost - ground dotted with some puddles made the landing rather interesting. Calle was waiting here with our single PAGE 18

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plastic kayaks, brand-new dry suits, neoprene pogies and shoes, and not quite so brand-new tents. The weather didn't really make an effort to spoil us right from the start. With 4°C, light drizzle and a heavy grey sky it seemed more like a test if were brave enough to face a kayak trip in the Arctic. There were a few surprises for us on day one, the first one being that we would have to do polar bear watches each night, rain or shine - and Calle was clearly not joking about it. We even discovered he had a rifle packed for emergencies. Then there were those impressive mountains of food including tons of chocolate, nuts, biscuits and cakes that had to be squeezed into the kayaks, along with all the other gear needed for a two-week trip away from civilisation. We were wondering who was going to eat it all, but Calle's second principle was that only a well-fed kayaker is a happy kayaker. We didn't object. His third, and last, rule was 'The guide is always right!' - and if for once he is not right, rule number three shall be applied immediately. Our trip took us from Kulusuk to Kuummiit and Tiniteqilaaq, two more tiny Inuit villages dotted with colourful wooden houses. This part of the trip involved paddling along the Ammassalip Fjord, followed by the narrow Ikaasatsivaq Fjord with some 1000 m high, glaciated mountains towering on both sides. Crossing the 10 km wide Sermilik Fjord was something else. The fiord is famous for its numerous and massive icebergs travelling down from enormous glaciers further north, and being here on a perfectly sunny day with glassy seas was just a dream. By now, the weather had improved considerably, the sky changing colour to dark blue and temperatures rising to almost 15°C - meaning we made good use of NZ proven sunscreen. At the end, a few days were spent in the Johan Petersen Fjord, a real playground for kayakers. At least five impressive glaciers are constantly releasing new icebergs into the sea, and kayaking close to 50-60 m high glacier faces was spectacular. The 'choreography' of the trip was perfectly devised, each day felt like it was topping the one before and whenever

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Issue 88 Summer 2018

we thought it couldn't be any better, Calle put on his big smile, obviously thinking to himself 'just wait and you will see'. Did we slalom around icebergs? We surely did. And definitely more than we had ever dreamed of. They came in all shapes, sizes and colours – and even though we paddled around and between hundreds or thousands of them, we could never really get enough. While on day one and two we had still made the effort to paddle long distances to get near those enticingly blue, turquoise or even translucent formations, from day three onwards we found ourselves surrounded by them. Keeping a safe distance was no longer possible. Paddling close to icebergs is very tempting, but actually quite hazardous: they can turn over unexpectedly, creating a powerful wave, or drop large pieces of ice as they melt. But crossing the Sermilik Fjord there was no choice - we had to abandon the last bit of caution and respect for those giant icebergs, as gaps between them were now getting smaller and smaller. A number of times we were literally stuck in the icy labyrinth and had to turn around to find a passage somewhere else. At one point, the entrance to a narrow channel between two islands was entirely barred by blocks of ice at low tide, which forced us to carry seven heavily loaded kayaks quite some distance over the rocks – a time - and energyconsuming undertaking! At the far end of Johan Petersens fjord, the place where Hann, Brückner, Heim and two other nameless glaciers meet the sea all within a distance of a couple of kilometres, it felt like paddling next to the pack ice. It was a feast for all senses, with the unassuming sound of dripping water and air-bubbles being released from inside the ice being just as impressive as the thunderous sound of rolling, cracking and bursting icebergs in the distance – and occasionally alarmingly close to us. Apart from all the paddling, we also spent two full days climbing mountains. While most of the rugged mountains look impregnable, some nameless peaks are accessible for the experienced 'off-trail' tramper or mountaineer. There was our so-called 'Calle Peak' at an impressive 930

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m and 'C2 Peak' at 797 m. These tramps turned out to be quite a mission. Starting at sea level, we had to scramble over countless boulders, rocks and snowfields, all in untracked terrain and with plenty of ups and downs. Views were stunning, overlooking a number of fjords dotted with icebergs, as well as vast mountain ranges with peaks up to 2500 m in altitude. Gunnbjorn Fjeld (3694 m), the highest mountain in Greenland as well as the highest north of the Arctic Circle, was just out of sight but only a couple hundred kilometres north of us. Descending from the summits on steep snow fields was quick and fun! How about wildlife sightings? Not exactly sure why - was it due to our frequent, full-throated singing or the presence of hunters with their deadly weapons? Just about one motor boat crossed our path about every other day, but unfortunately we only spotted two or three humpback whales along with three Arctic ring seals during the entire two weeks. Arctic flowers are scarce but colourful along the shores and high up in the mountains. Carpets of the pink Arctic willow, the national flower of Greenland, were eagerly soaking the sun during the short Arctic summer in barren, glacierformed valleys. There are no trees in this part of Greenland – but wait, in one place Calle pointed out a 'birch forest' to us. Turned out that they were creeping along the ground, sticking out from the rocks by barely 5 cm! In the villages, we saw lots of fish, seals and the skin of a polar bear hanging up to dry - the bear having been shot because he was roaming in the vicinity of the village. Within our 10 kayaking days we covered a total distance of almost 200 km, the last day involving just a very short paddle to meet some Inuit with their motor boats, who managed to retrace our entire tour back to Kulusuk in less than three hours! By the way, tourism is not really big in this part of Greenland, we might have met 20 odd tourists during 15 days, all of them in and around Kulusuk, within 5 km of the airport.


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Issue 88 Summer 2018

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Rock pool – Photo by Shelley Stuart

Issue 88 Summer 2018


Never-ending laughter, joking and singing was regularly heard around our basic but romantic camps and seemed to be proportional to the amount of rain and toughness of conditions - no wonder the polar bears kept a safe distance. Although... our piles of dessert cream provoking a choir of indulgence may well have made the polar bears curious. Looks like we will have to return to the Arctic some day to see them! But this is just one of the reasons why we decided right then and there, that we would all get together again for another kayak adventure up north – most certainly with our well-proven guide Calle. Svalbard 2019 – we are coming!

Some tips for the interested paddler: Sea conditions: Paddling was by far the easiest part of the trip, carrying the heavily laden kayaks to and from the water, climbing mountains in untracked terrain and getting through heaps of good food proved to be much harder! The wind we encountered was never more than 10-12 knots, and no waves with whitecaps were ever seen. Icebergs typically serve as perfect breakwaters, often creating a sea like a mirror. It is, however, a well known fact that unpredictable katabatic winds may arise at any time, originating from high up on the ice cap and capable of causing trouble for kayakers. Equipment: Slaloming around icebergs bears some similarity to 'rock-gardening', so plastic kayaks are the way to go! Bring a strong, rain and wind-resistant tent. A warm and waterproof hat, dry suit, several layers of long johns & long shirts, lots of warm socks, pogies and sturdy paddle shoes are essential. Wear proper tramping boots, bring a seat cover (for cold kayak seats and rough rocks) and binoculars plus good rain gear for bear watches. Leave your head torch at home (there is no night in the Arctic summer!) as well as your swimming togs, which won't make a difference should you be brave enough to risk a swim in 2°C cold water.


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Issue 88 Summer 2018


Join Join the the Yakity Yakity Yak Yak Kayak Kayak Club Club n now Come and join us on one of these adventures • • • • • • • • • • •

Tutukaka Urupukapuka Abel Tasman Mangakino & the Waikato River Northland Explorer Whangaehu / Manganui-a te-ao Kaituna / Wairoa Rangitikei Gorge Section Lake Karapiro & Pokaiwhenua Stream Waihi Beach Coastline Whanganui River

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

Enrol at /join email: Yakity Yak members Shelley Stuart, Ruth Henderson & Peter Beadle on their circumnavigation of Lake Taupo. Photo supplied by Ruth Henderson

w, and let the adventures begin.

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Pack Rafting The Wangapeka By Nathan Fa’avae


Issue 88 Summer 2018

Pack-rafting is a paddle sport rapidly gaining popularity in New Zealand. I first discovered pack-rafts in 2002, at the Eco Challenge adventure race held in Fiji. On the gear list was pack-rafts, which I’d never heard of at the time, so I needed to research what they were and figure out how to obtain them.

My search led me to a company based in Alaska called Alpacka-Raft, which specialised in these unique craft. At first they looked like a toy, something you would buy for a holiday at the beach for kids to play in. I discovered that they were legitimate water craft with the primary purpose of providing a compact and lightweight boat that enabled hikers to cross lakes and rivers as part of their journey. As the name states, they are rafts that can go inside packs, and once inflated, rafts that can carry a hiker



Issue 88 Summer 2018


and a pack. Accompanied with a 4-piece paddle, a hiker with a pack-raft becomes an all terrain amphibious vehicle! Since then pack-rafts have developed and evolved to the point where good paddlers are taking on challenging Grade Four white water. There are a number of companies making them and a wide variety of rafts and equipment. Pack-rafters can choose between single and double rafts, rafts designed for flat water lakes to technical rapids on rivers. New Zealand is fast becoming known as a pack-rafters paradise, due to the amount of lakes, rivers and hiking trails. The options for hike-in paddle-out trips are immense, adding a really fun and dynamic aspect to weekend getaways, combining a hike and paddle. For a few years now we’ve owned a single and double, regularly enjoying trips exploring rivers that previously were only practically accessible by helicopter. Here’s a report from our most recent trip, a weekend before Christmas in 2017. Close to home is the Motueka River, a river that provides a range of paddling options, easy white water, multisport racing, rafting and canoeing. There are also a handful of tributaries that feed the Motueka, all steeper and offering more for the skilled paddler. These rivers drain out of Mount Richmond Forest Park and Kahurangi National Park. One of the larger rivers is the Wangapeka, more known for the hiking route that goes to the West Coast.


Issue 88 Summer 2018

Issue 88 Summer 2018


We’ve walked up the Wangapeka track many times and enjoyed picnics and swims, but never contemplated paddling the upper reaches. My memory of the river was small boulder gardens and deep green pools. I wasn’t aware of anyone paddling the river beyond the road end before. We checked the flow gauge, 6-cumecs, and studied maps and google imagery, it all looked promising, with the added safety being that we’d spend a day hiking up the river, scouting it in the process and then paddle out the following day. If there were sections we didn’t wish to paddle, we could simply deflate the rafts and hike around them. We loaded up our packs and headed up the valley, about 4-5 hours of hiking to reach Kings Hut. Staying at a hut overnight meant we could travel lighter. The hike was enjoyable on a summers day, with a few swim stops and checking out some of the rapids. Sometime in the last few years, a major slip had tumbled into the river and created what looked to be a solid Grade Three rapid, a touch beyond the capabilities of the pack-rafts and our crew. That would be a portage. The last few kilometres before the hut the trail climbed high over an obvious gorge. My wife and I decided it’d be a sensible idea to paddle that section after we got settled into the hut. From high on the trail above, the


Issue 88 Summer 2018

sound of white water gave the impression that there was action below, the contours on the map suggested the same thing. It turned out that with a few quick portages, the section was good to paddle, with some low volume technical rapids and easy drops to run. We decided it’d be fine to take the family through, but keeping in mind that there was rain forecast overnight, depending on how much, could make us change our minds. It did rain overnight, but not enough for us not to get on the water. It looked like it’d risen about 1-cumec, plus it was discoloured. With pack-rafts loaded and everyone kitted up for a day on the river, we had a quick safety talk and launched. The extra water made it pushier, the moves needed to be made faster. It was an exciting start to the day and with a few short portages we paddled out of the gorge, happy to have done it, equally happy to be past it. The rest of the afternoon was better paddling with the top up of rain, essentially a non-stop trip of technical Grade Two rapids and drops, it was

really fun. There was a few expected hazards typical of a wilderness river, fallen trees, choke points in boulders, but not knowing the river meant it was always engaging and interesting. One of the highlights of the trip was the amount of whio we saw. The blue duck program in the region has been extremely successful, to the point where they think there maybe too many ducks in the valley, with plans to relocate some to other areas. We lost count of ducks at about fifty, but we have good reason to believe we counted the same ducks a few times, however we’d safely say there is at least twenty. By the take-out we’d had an amazing day venturing downstream, absorbing the scenery, tranquility and excitement all contained in the bottom of the valley. The trip was another example and reminder of how pack-rafts can easily open up areas for paddling trips, countless places to explore and adventures to be lived.




‘Auckland’s Best Kept Secret’ LEADING THE MARKET SINCE 1994


I s s u e 8 8 S u m m e r 2 0 122/11/2016 8 P3:32:04 A G E PM3 3

The Unconventional Tourer By Shane James


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w w w . k a y a k n1/09/17 z . c 12:12 o . nPMz

I have always been told “You can’t tour in a sit-on-top kayak”. So, I had to prove them wrong. I planned a trip from Long Bay, Coromandel to Whitianga, a trip of just over 150 km,

the wind picked up to 20 knots gusting 30. With the swell rising I decided to get off the water 5 kms from Colville and spent a night at Tukituki Bay, with the permission from the farm manager of course.

on my Malibu X13. I normally use this for fishing, and have personalized it with fish finder/chart plotter, underwater lights, bilge pump and a solar panel to keep my cell phone and VHF radio charged. With safety foremost in my mind, I planned to contact my partner on a regular schedule.

Day 1 The day was overcast and not looking too flash as I loaded up and got on the water. With showers settling in, it was a short paddle to Rabbit Island with its oyster covered rocky shore line. I decided to stay the night even though there was nowhere suitable for a tent. I bivied up in the flax bushes and settled in for the night. The wind picked up during the night and a rat ate a hole in my bag of mixed nuts, cheeky sod! They were right next to my head.

Day 2 I was up and on the water early heading for Colville, taking in Motukaramarama and Motuwi Islands. The weather had started to turn, and

Issue 88 Summer 2018


Day 3 After a windy night, I set off for Colville. No sooner had I pulled up on the beach, I was asked if I wanted a coffee, which I very quickly accepted. After a cuppa, I went to the office to find my camp site was about 1 km away. There was no way I could haul my laden kayak that far. Coffee guys to the rescue! They hooked me up to a quad and towed my kayak on its trolley all the way to the camp site. I unloaded, set up camp and found a creek that gave me access to the sea at high tide. So, in went the kayak, and I spent the day fishing, with no luck. I had boil-in-a-bag meals with me and “Kaweka� buttered chicken was on the menu.

Day 4 The water was like glass when I left Colville and headed to Fantail Bay. With a trolling lure out, I took in one of the most beautiful coast lines in NZ, when bang!... the rod bent, the ratchet screamed, and I landed a very nice snapper. I stopped at Fantail Bay for lunch and to clean the fish. With this done, I headed to Port Jackson and my next stop-over. As I rounded the point I was presented with this amazing view of Port Jackson. I pulled up on shore, set up camp and cooked fresh fish for dinner: what more could you want? Even had a few campers come over and ask where I had come from. On telling them what I was doing, they thought me slightly mad.

Day 5 The morning was great, no wind and smooth seas. Next stop - Fletcher Bay. I got there at about 8.30 am and was rather rudely informed that I was


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too early to set up camp, even though the camp ground was half empty. So, I lay under the trees and took in the scenery. To my surprise, a couple of people I had met in Port Jackson had driven around just to make sure I had arrived safely. It just goes to show; some people still look out for others. With camp set up, I paddled out to Square Top Island looking for dinner – again no luck!

Rock formations in Mercury Bay

Day 6 The Pinnacles have a reputation of being difficult. I’d heard so many horror stories of going around it and was a little apprehensive, but the weather looked good and I set off for Stony Bay. It was an enjoyable paddle and arriving at this incredible bay I found a four-wheel goat track that connected the beach to the campground. I unloaded the kayak and left it on the beach. As Stony Bay is connected to Port Jackson by a walking track, I took time for a short walk into the hills before dinner.

Day 7 After a restful night, the morning was bright, but the westerly had picked up. Paddling close to shore was the order of the day across Port Charles and on to Motukokopu Island and down to Rauporoa Bay. This part of the coast has a lot of small caves, dramatic cliffs and houses sitting in the middle of nowhere. The next logical stop was Waikawau Bay DOC

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Issue 88 Summer 2018



camp site. The westerly had picked up and as I rounded the northern point I had the wind against me, and the tide going out, it was a struggle paddling in. Just at this point, my lure hooked a big Kahawai! While landing it I was blown back 70 odd metres. Once ashore, I was informed that I was at the wrong end of the beach for the camp. I was too stuffed to paddle, so I walked the kilometre in the water pulling the kayak behind me. Leaving the kayak on the beach, I set up camp. Again, people asked where I had come from. I received several offers of dinner, with everyone wanting to hear about my journey. They probably thought “Keep the crazy guy happy and all will be ok”. Again, there are some wonderful people in this country. With the westerly blowing and a fresh cup of coffee, I told them tales of my trip so far. I rose next morning to find my kayak covered in sand by the westerly wind.

Day 8 Another early morning start on the way to New Chums Beach. Crossing Kennedy Bay with the wind and tide made for a choppy crossing, but on the other side a beautiful small bay only accessible by sea. This country still amazes me, when you find gems like this. Once again, my lure worked, and I had fresh kahawai for dinner. New Chums is a busy little spot. Even with the access limited by a 20 min walk in or by boat, there were people everywhere and I came across my first fellow kayakers, a couple heading north. I had the beach to myself by dinner time and after my fresh fish and pot of tuatua’s, I lay down in the sand with my rod in the water until sunrise.

Day 9 Another stunning morning, except for that dang westerly. It wouldn’t let up. Next stop - Whangapoua and a coffee shop. Time for some treats hmmm. I then carried on to Kuaotunu and Luke’s kitchen, which does one of the best pizzas around, or so I had been told in Waikawau Bay. Tried it, loved it, recommend it. So, feeling full, I headed off to Otama Beach where I stayed the night under a tree looking at the stars and a bright moon.


Issue 88 Summer 2018

Issue 88 Summer 2018


Day 10 The wind was up again, making it a hard paddle. The plan was to head over to Whaorei Bay, around to Opito and on to Red Bay past Motukoranga Island, stopping for lunch at Matapaua Bay then on to Horseshoe Bay. Again, I had the bay all to myself. I cooked dinner and then walked about a kilometre to get a phone signal to check in.

Day 11 The last day of the trip, next stop Mercury Bay and Whitianga. A group of little blue penguins sitting on the mirror calm waters reminded me how beautiful this part of the country is. I don’t think I have done it justice, but I couldn’t cover everything from this trip. I just hope that my story gets you interested enough to find out for yourself. I arrived in Whitianga and while I waited for my ride home, was already planning my next trip; Whangaroa to Whangarei - can’t wait.


My journey may not have been conventional, but I wanted to show that you can tour on a sit-on-top. It may not be for everyone, but don’t let the opinion of others dissuade you from seeing the most beautiful, amazing country. Just remember; know your limits, plan for safety first and enjoy yourself.


Sunset in New Chum Beach








6/09/2016 2:53:48 PM


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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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WEATHERPROOF LUGGAGE BAG The Rhino-Rack Weatherproof Luggage Bag is the ideal solution for carrying your bulky light weight gear while on the road. Constructed using tear resistant 500D High-End poly canvas material – not only is it waterproof but it will also protect your gear from all manner of harsh weather conditions. Features: • • • •

Constructed using 500D High-End poly canvas tarpauline - waterproof, tear resistant & fibre reinforced Welded seams provide superior waterproofing compared to traditional stitching Extra strong UV50+ securing straps with heavy duty Duraflex buckles to easily secure the luggage bag to a luggage tray or basket. Easy to fit, load and unload Issue 88 Summer 2018



Thousands of Items & Everything You’ll Need Bixpy Kayak Motor

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Compact, Light and Powerful – A Bixpy Jet can boost your kayak to speeds of up to 11 km/h (tested on Profish Reload) with 10 forward speeds and 3 reverse speeds. You control your Bixpy Jet with a wireless wrist remote that is included with every Outboard Battery Pack. You can also paddle easily with the motor turned off, as it creates almost no drag due to it’s incredibly compact size and unique micro propellor. RRP $1799.00

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Sharkskin Stay Dry

YAK High back The ultimate buoyancy aid for your next touring adventure, river calm or choppy sea, the High Back 60N provides the most advanced solutions in comfort technology design. It’s raised back profile buoyancy placement means that no matter what type of boat you are in, you can be assured of its comfort properties. RRP $199.00

This extremely fast drying top has some secrets! The garments prewoven yarn is infused with a water repellent treatment (WRT). This not only ensures maximum water repellency and super fast drying, but also means the WRT treatment lasts a very, very long time. Perfect on the water, in the boat in between dives, or just as your favourite watersports brand longsleeve T shirt. RRP $99.00


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Wavesport Diesel They've called it the 4x4 of kayaks. Runs rapids like a fast creekboat with a hull that will also spin on green waves. It is indeed, all that and more. Peaked deck for resurfacing – check. A honed combination of planing hull and continuous rocker for ultimate agility – check. Our trusty BlackOut Outfitting – check. Meet the SUV of river running. Three sizes available 60, 70 & 80 RRP $1725.00

CAnoe & Kayak Rua Double the fun with a contoured mid seat means you can paddle this sit on top kayak with your friends or just simply use it on your own, and there is lots of storage in the back. You can relax in the comfortable moulded seats and enjoy the ‘Rua’s’ fun, stable and very forgiving temperament. This user-friendly tandem is perfect for exploration from the bank or shore, catching a wave or just milling around.

wAS $1149 nOW $899 Barracuda Enigma Here is a kayak quick enough to compete on the Coast to Coast and other racing type events, but also light enough to lift on and off of the car with ease, with the durability of sheet formed plastic rather than fibreglass and composite materials that can crack when rocks are hit. The ample sealed bulkhead hatches make it perfect for touring around our beautiful coasts,rivers and lakes. RRP $3440

Kokatat Bahia Tour/ Fishing Vest The Bahia Tour features a mesh back panel to maximize airflow against high back seats. Ideal for kayak fishing, the vest’s multiple adjustable side and shoulder straps give a complete custom fit and its various pockets provide plenty of space to stash gear. RRP $220.00

sWEET SHAMBALA SHORTS The Shambala Paddle Shorts are a technical piece of white water equipment, designed to be a hardwearing yet stylish short. The shorts essentially are neoprene shorts, for warmth and extra protection and are constructed to provide an excellent fit while seated in the kayak. The overshorts are made from hardwearing polyaminde, legs are extended over the knees and feature an easy-access side pocket with a draining hole. Super tough and super stylish! RRP $219.00


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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.


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




Great Advice / Great Brands / Great Service COURSES Sep 2016 QTR WW PORT.indd 1

6/09/2016 2:44:13 PM PAGE 44

Issue 88 Summer 2018

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

Issue 88 Summer 2018


The Toba Caldera White Water World Festival 2017 By Sam Ricketts

Asahan River, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia


Issue 88 Summer 2018

Issue 88 Summer 2018


Nestled in the lush, dense and unforgiving Northern Sumatran rainforests is a white water treasure that has been lost in time, the Asahan Valley. Orangutan, pygmy elephant, Sumatran tiger and black panther are still roaming wild in this extensive wilderness. Gibbon calls erupt from the forest every morning as they are waking up, as the smaller monkeys find their way down to the village to wreak havoc. Hornbills and many other exotic bird species can be found here in all shapes and sizes and a rainbow of colors. Northern Sumatra has one of the last wild rainforests on earth. Sadly, due to extensive deforestation, primarily as a result of growing demand for palm oil and rubber plantations, it is diminishing rapidly. In the middle of all of this beautiful nature lies the Asahan River, starting its journey from the Toba Caldera, a massive volcanic lake. Gigantic Being, the last super volcano to erupt in human history (70,000 years ago), left the earth in a volcanic winter for over a decade and pushed the human race close to extinction. The river itself is rich in natural history, has constant swift flows, world class views from start to finish, spectacular basalt canyons, waterfalls that cascade down mountain walls meeting the water and on top of all this add some of the best white water on the planet. Jungle kayaking paradise. On November 28th, 2017, 32 international kayakers made their way to Medan, Northern Indonesia to participate and compete in the most exciting Asahan River Festival the valley had ever seen. We had an array of talented white water athletes join us this year from France, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, United States, Italy, Japan, Malaysia and Indonesia. After meeting everyone in the airport with their boats we all jumped on our own private party bus and drove overnight to arrive in the valley by sunrise, and ready to paddle. From there we had an awesome schedule. Everyday dump trucks were on call to load the boats in and we paddled the ‘Rabbit Hole’ section before a wholesome breakfast of locally sourced produce, meat, noodles and curries. We then ran laps on other sections of this dynamic river, ranging from open Grade Three - Four, big water Grade Four - Five rapids, and

Grade Five gorges, to a super scenic Grade Three box canyon class. This river has something for absolutely everybody and is one of the most continuous and fun rivers I have ever paddled - to top it off it’s hot enough for skins everyday. The Toba Caldera White water World Festival was principally coordinated by Lachie Carracher and myself, with the tireless and invaluable assistance from Asahan River Rafting, OnesTha, Titan Kayaks, Immersion Research, Sea to Sky Whitewater, No Pasa Nada, BDP and the Northern Sumatran Government. The festival began with four raft racing events and competition was tight. Three teams, Phoenix Rafting from Java, a Czech rafting team and a team of rouge international kayakers placed consistently across all events on big, unforgiving white water. The main kayaking events followed, and over the next three days 32 kayakers battled for cash prizes over some amazing sections. The first of these competitions was the ‘Extreme Downriver Enduro’ where the competitors had to race down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ Grade Five water to the bridge in the village, a very long and busy section. This was the most anticipated race in the days leading up to the event, and one of the best race courses out! Charlie Nguyen (France) took out first place with a time of 10:43, closely followed by Mike Dawson (New Zealand) and in third place Michele Ramazza (Italy). The next events were the Giant Slalom and Boater X, and to prepare for these OnesTha and the event team got together over the first week of the festival to build a very innovative, progressive ramp into the side of the river - it well exceeded expectations. Kayakers sat 12 metres above the water before launching down the steep ramp and off an authentic bamboo kicker, flying directly into the main flow of great Grade Four big water and five dynamic gates. Taking first place was Michele Ramazza, followed by Mike Dawson, then Dan Watkins (Australia). In the last and most explosive event, Boater X finished off the festival in style. Four kayaker heats exploded off the ramp and fought down this wild section for the title. There were some tight battles and great racing with Mike Dawson taking first place, Tohru Kanaya taking out second and Michele Ramazza with third. With the racing finished, everyone’s spirits were super high and bodies were sore as we left the

amazing Asahan Valley. To finish off the event we took a ferry to Toba Island in the middle of the volcanic Lake Toba. There we spent the last day celebrating the many incredible experiences we had out on the water with some amazing characters. The Toba Caldera White Water World Festival on the Asahan River will be an annual event and is up there as one of the best rivers and festivals on the white water planet. Much thanks to everyone who came and indulged in this very special time and congratulations to all our winners. We look forward to seeing everybody there again this year! For more information on this year’s event visit

We can fit a rack to almost anything!


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