33 minute read

NZ Kayak Preview 91

Issue 91


We Went to GAWP in Italy

- Gelato, Antipasto, Wine and Paddling

Going the Distance - with Dry Kai

- How to prepare dehydrated food

Rio Futaleufu Patagonia, Chile

- White water bliss

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We Went to GAWP in Italy

Eat Gelato & Antipasto, drink Wine and Paddle...

by Larraine Williams

Approaching the village of Vernazza, Cinque Terre.

The plan was 12 days of kayaking in Sardinia, Corsica and Italy. We didn’t realize that it was also to become a historical, cultural and gastronomic tour as well. Janet was the instigator, liaising between SSV (Southern Sea Ventures), and the Yakity Yak clubbies, planning a private trip to our specifications. We had 11 keen paddlers taking on the adventure.

Lunch stop at Portofino

My own adventure began a few weeks prior to the trip when I broke my left radius, just by my wrist.

Three and a half weeks after the break and two days before our departure, I was back at “White Cross” firmly requesting that the cast be removed, and a brace be applied instead. It took a while to convince the doctor that it was a reasonable request - after all, I didn’t want to be traipsing around Italy trying to find someone to take the cast off when the time came. Then I had to ask her for a medical certificate clearing me to go on the kayak trip. The doctor wasn’t impressed, until I explained that we had booked a double kayak and all I had to do was sit in the front and take photos and give orders while Russ did all the work! I finally got clearance to sit in a kayak but was not allowed to pick up a paddle (yeah, right). But, I had another three weeks travelling before I even got near a kayak, so no problems eh!

Our kayak trip started in Olbia in northern Sardinia, where we were to meet the guides, and have a briefing, and dinner. We spent the day exploring the very pretty town, Olbia. Late afternoon some were sitting outside having coffee when Janet noticed a man giving them an intense look before approaching and asking if they were kayakers. It turned out to be Enrico, our Italian guide. It wasn’t magic though, he recognised the Kiwi accent.

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SSV runs tours around the world, teaming up with local guides who have the gear and the local knowledge. On the team were Al - founder, managing director of SSV and experienced guide. Our local guide, Enrico, who was passionate and very knowledgeable about the areas we were to visit. He also seemed to know everybody. Daniele didn’t paddle as he oversaw logistics. We had two vans, each with a kayak trailer and carrying enough singles for everyone, plus three doubles as both Shelley and I were supposed to be on ‘light activities’ due to injury. We stayed in small private hotels and B&Bs throughout our tour and ate at restaurants that specialised in traditional local cuisine.

Our first dinner was at a Michelin Star restaurant where we had a fivecourse meal! Thankfully all food and accommodation were included. What a way to start!

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On the first morning we drove to Palau. Choosing kayaks and getting set up for the first time took a while, but we got underway, exploring along the coast, then crossing to La Maddalena.

While we were making the crossing by kayak, Daniele drove one van to the ferry terminal, walked back for the other van, got them both on the ferry, and then off at the other end. He was always quietly in the background (it was hard to compete with Enrico anyway), but our vans and bags always ended up in the right place when we were ready for them.

Plan A for the next day was to cross to the next island and circumnavigate Caprera, but with strong winds we went with Plan B and explored the coast of La Maddalena where it was nicely sheltered. It did look rather bouncy out in the channel.

That afternoon we drove across the bridge to Caprera and went hiking in a stunning national park. The area is very arid, with granite boulders

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 91 Christmas 2018 PAGE 9

eroded into bizarre shapes, with the occasional goat posing for photos. At the end of the walk we arrived at one of the world’s most beautiful beaches where we had a swim.

That night we sampled the local cuisine which was wild boar, so tender it fell off the bone, accompanied by sampling some of the local wine. We were then introduced to Mirto. This is a liqueur made in Sardinia, which became very popular among our group.

The paddle back to the mainland was interesting with the wind and choppy sea continuing. That afternoon we caught the ferry to Corsica. The approach to Bonifacio was fascinating. This ancient town is built on a peninsula 1,500 metres long and 200 metres wide with cliffs around 70 metres high. The buildings are on the very edge of cliffs which have been eroded by the sea and are now undercut.

Launching from the port of Bonifacio, we paddled down the harbour to explore the cliffs and caves along the southern coast. We had winds of 20-25 knots which made the day fairly challenging.

The following day the wind had come up more and so unfortunately, we didn’t get all the paddling planned, but again Enrico had a very acceptable Plan B. We drove up to Filitosa which is a fascinating archaeological site dating from the Neolithic Age, approximately 8000 years ago. It is remarkably well preserved, and we were able to wander around quite freely. There is an ancient olive tree whose age is estimated to be 1200 years old, but I guess no one will know for certain unless they cut it down to count the rings.

That evening the host at our accommodation put on a special dinner for us - a whole suckling pig along with salads, and of course local wine. Daniele was getting excited over the pig’s head, scooping out the brain,





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www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 91 Christmas 2018 PAGE 11

Locals in Corniglia heading down the hill to work riding on the monorail.

but he didn’t get it all - Russ helped him, while I carefully looked in the other direction.

We caught the overnight ferry to Genoa for the next leg of our adventure. We travelled in the vans to the Ligurian Coast and stayed in Levanto at a small private hotel. Breakfasts included several home-made jams, homegrown produce, and at least three freshly made cakes each day - Italians seem to eat a lot of cake for breakfast.

We had a day paddle from Rapallo to Portofino along the Italian Riviera which featured a large number of ‘holiday villas’ of the wealthy. This was my first day in a single kayak - I had finally proven that my healing wrist was up to the task - freedom! Now I was able to get into all those caves and among the rocks. Thanks for your efforts Russ, but I was very happy to get out of that double and into a single, and I know that you were too.

That evening we had a seafood extravaganza. Included in the feast were raw and smoked salmon, tuna, swordfish, octopus, anchovies, shrimp, mussels - and they were just the entrees. I don’t think we actually had a main in the end, those who could, went straight to dessert.

We then reached one of the highlights of our trip - Cinque Terre, which means ‘five lands’ and consists of five historic villages that are largely in their original condition. The area is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Over the centuries, people have carefully built rock walls to create terraces on the rugged, steep landscape and they date back over 1000 years. Monterosso was predominantly a fishing village, but the others developed vineyards and olive cultivation. It was, and still is a hard living due to the steepness of the terrain and unfortunately much of the area is now reverting to scrub, especially as tourism is becoming more important to the economy. The monorail now helps with getting up and down those steep slopes, but I’m sure that they wouldn’t meet WorkSafe standards.

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Going the Distance - with Dry Kai

By Ruth E. Henderson

Fresh may be best, but on a long hard trip it may be impractical for reasons of space, longevity, and time and energy left at the end of the day to spend on preparation and cooking from scratch.

Car camping - fresh is easy.

Some fresh food does travel well and isn’t too bulky or time consuming to prepare. I’m always in admiration of Shelley’s wonderful way with food… a handful of sweet cocktail tomatoes here, a grind of pepper and a twist of dried herbs there, and Charlie makes a coleslaw enroute, making one cabbage, a few carrots and jar of mayonnaise go the distance… Even I, on day one or two of a trip, have managed to chop up some onions, courgettes and tomatoes to throw into an omelette.

But, when it’s not a long weekend but a ten day 30 kms-a-day trip, or an occasion when you have swapped your boat for boots - this is when pre-prepared vacuum packed, or dehydrated meals come into their own. There are quite a few options available on the supermarket shelves, at sports stores and from specialised mailorder companies.

Before you do embark on a week or two of paddling, test out the product you intend to survive on, for suiting your taste and energy requirements. We need more calories than usual when we’re putting in the effort and kilometres, so if I buy a “Back-Country” or “Absolute Wilderness” meal, then I buy a two serving pouch. If there’s some left over…you can add it to the next days lunch or give it to someone on the scrounge. I’ve had some inedible, to me, meals when I failed to see the three hot pepper illustration on the packet. But, at the hut, some lanky teenagers hoed into it and saved me the bother of carrying it out as rubbish.

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Day one, two and even three , food can be fresh.

Weekend camping - you can pack the the kitchen sink.

Making your own dehydrated meals has many advantages. One is cost - the ingredients cost less and you need less fuel to heat the meal which also means less gas bottles to carry. Secondly, you’ll know what to expect taste-wise. And thirdly they usually take up less space and weigh less. Maybe that last item isn’t critical in a sea kayak compared to a backpack… it depends on how big your kayak is, and how long you have to go before you can re-stock.

It is possible to dehydrate food using a conventional oven, but without a fan-bake, I’ve had limited success. I suggest you either buy or borrow a dehydrator. Start with a few dishes you often cook and can confidently get right. Spaghetti bolognaise is a goodie. It’s easy to tart it up a bit with a zip-lock bag of shaved parmesan cheese and another of herbs kept fresh with a dash of water. Another reliable mince dish is chilli con carne with beans. Macaroni cheese with a few peas, tomatoes and bits of bacon rehydrates amazingly well. It may sound nuts, but I also dehydrate tinned tuna and salmon for lunches to go with couscous, and dehydrate the “MTR” curries with cooked rice. I have tried non-minced meat, cutting it up really small, but apart from bacon, it doesn’t work as well as minced beef, chicken or pork.

Most of the dinners I make start off before dehydrating as one cup of cooked meat/veg sauce and one cup of cooked pasta/rice. These are then mixed together (I chop up the spaghetti). Then on each tray I spread out thinly the now two-cup portions, or one-person meals. When dehydrated

and cooled, I scrape off the dried meal... make sure you take the time and care to scrape off all the powder... that’s the stuff that reconstitutes into the cheesy or tomato sauce. When dry, these pack down to 100 – 150 gms per serve. When wet, or rehydrated at camp, two servings make up a one litre container.

As soon as I arrive at camp, before setting up my tent, I boil the billy. Then if working in with a mate, I put two serves into my ‘infamous’ one litre ice-cream container which has a water-tight lid. Next, I pour over, in 100 ml

Microstuff drybags keep phones, ipods,

wallets, cameras dry

Extra safety clip

USA company Seattle Sports makes these strong .75 litre mini drybags for all those things you need close at hand. Straps securely to your bouyancy vest. Made from PU coated rip-stop nylon with RF welded seams.

Available with or without audio port


Commercial freeze dried meals - convenience with the bonus of no dishes.

Distributed by Great Stuff. email: greatstuffltd@orcon.net.nz


www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 91 Christmas 2018 PAGE 23

increments, boiling water, stir, gradually adding up to a cup of water. Then while I set up camp, within 30 minutes, the food has swollen and fluffed up. I turn the container over, leave it for a bit, then add up to another ½ cup of boiling water. When we’re ready to eat, I simply and quickly, heat up the dinner in my billy. Serve up, and garnish.

If you want to give this a go, and be a bit adventuresome in the kitchen - there are many recipes for dehydrated meals on the web. One website that Paul and Natasha put me onto is excellent. It is by a couple who tramped the 2650 mile Pacific Crest Trail…that’s Mexico to Canada! Take a look at: http://pct-hike.randsco.com/Planning

Bon appetite.


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Macaroni Cheese

Six days food

Breakfast –

Porridge “Uncle Toby’s” 2 sachets per day – 83 gm each x 6 = 500 gm total

Snacks and drinks–

‘Scroggin’ (supermarket “Goji mix”) - 80 gm per day x 6 = 480 gm

1. Two cups ready to dehydrate. 2. Spread on tray dehydrated.

Chocolate (essential or a luxury?)

– one king-size bar

= 250gm

Milo x 6 serves

= 116 gm

Tea bags x 12

Coffee/sugar mixed x 6 serves

= 44 gm

= 110 gm

= 1000 gm

Lunch – dehydrated x 6Chicken/veg curryTuna/couscous

40 gm65 gm

Chana Masala/Rice (“MTR”) 50 gm

3. Rehydrating in progress. 4. Ready to eat, topped with dried sweet cherry tomatoes.

spaghetti bolognaise

Salmon/couscous Tuna/couscous Chicken/veg curry

Dinner – dehydrated x 6 Macaroni cheese Spaghetti bolognaise Mexican chicken Chilli con carne

80 gm 65 gm 40 gm

= 340 gm

150 gm 170 gm 105 gm 120 gm

Pork dahl155 gm

Mexican chicken

105 gm= 805 gm

Grand Total= 2645 gm

1. One serving ready to dehydrate. 2. Dinner for two people. Soak (30 mins) in boiling water in dinner dish.

= 440 gm per day

Plus, spare Brekkie/lunch/dinner 235 gm

= 2. 880 kg food for a week.

3. Reheating in billy. 4. Condiments added, ready to eat.

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 91 Christmas 2018 PAGE 25

Surf Tips

Being graceful and safe is good, skewered and squashed is not…

Note that the gear is secured, helmet on, rudder up and the bilge pump is strapped on with the handle facing forwards.

Landings & Departures

The more paddling I done, the more I look forward to a good surf. When I’m expecting a calm sea kayak trip and I come across some surf the immediate reaction is “yeeha!”, then a more cautious look to see if it’s friendly. A major part of the day is then spent cruising the waves and getting wet!

It is difficult to enjoy surf without having a bomb-proof roll. It’s no fun having to swim your water-filled kayak back to the beach while having tons of water dumped on your head! Decide if surf is something you wish to survive or enjoy.

The rest of this article is about surviving it with a reasonable amount of grace. If you would like to enjoy it then get yourself to a rolling class to learn the moves, or hire/borrow a sit-on-top and practise surfing in moderate waves.


Remember the first rule of kayaking, ‘if you wouldn’t swim it you shouldn’t paddle it.’

Personal: look at what you are carrying on your person if you are anticipating a surf landing or departure. If you stuff up the most likely outcome is that your kayak will not end up anywhere near you. Consequently, having all your survival equipment in your kayak may be of little use. Pack small water proof bags of goodies into your pockets. Ensure that they contain shelter, fire lighting material, and food/water. Personally check your own equipment to ensure it is secure. Ensure that your buoyancy aid fits well and will not come off over your head.

Kayak: ensure all equipment is secure and will not come off the kayak PAGE 34 Issue 91 Christmas 2018



LEARN: Basic Safety Surf etiquette Shallow water broaching practice Catching a wave Controlled broach Controlling a surf landing or departure




during a major beating. Tape over any sharp objects on your kayak i.e. your rudder assembly and the cockpit rims of fibre kayaks with insulation tape and ensure the inside of the cockpit has no sharp bits.

Safety: paddle floats are an essential safety tool, but their use in the surf zone is not easy or even sensible as they require a long time to set-up while you are in the water. Also, there is a distinct possibility of the leash becoming entangled around you as a wave takes you, your kayak, paddle and paddle float on the worst trip of your life. The paddle float can only be used outside the surf zone.

the beach it has a habit of wrecking itself.

You can see John & Rowan are having to work hard to stay behind the wave.

Bilge pumps, sponges and bailers are essential, but watch out for leads attaching them to your kayak as you may become entangled. When mounting the bilge pump on the foredeck, ensure the handle is pointing forward. This will stop the handle from shooting into your stomach when punching through waves.

If going out for a practice or some fun take a helmet with you, but most people find packing them in their kayak for extended trips an over kill – your call. Some people wear them all the time.

The Sea

This is the heavy-weight sumo in the equation. If you treat it with disrespect it will teach you some hard lessons. The only way to win on a regular basis is to get to know it. Learning to recognise the conditions and making honest appraisals of your own skill is vital. Here are some ideas to help you get to know the surf and make safe landings. There are three types of landings you can choose from: back, middle and front.

Catching the wave is far more fun and looks cool!

Back Landings

This type of landing requires you time your run for the beach to coincide with a small set of waves, and to paddle along behind the breaking wave. This takes a lot of speed and timing to be successful.

Middle Landings

Catch the wave and surf it like a surf board, turning and changing your direction to avoid the white water, where you will lose control.

Front Landings

Catch the wave and sprint paddle out in front of it so the wave breaks behind you.

Rudder up or down? Your choice. In unknown waters I personally leave my rudder down as it allows you to more quickly correct your position prior to catching a wave. Once on the wave it has little effect. When landing on

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www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 91 Christmas 2018 PAGE 35

Rio Futaleufu Patagonia, Chile

By Sam Ricketts

Sam in Perfect Storm- Photo Alex Nicks

PAGE 46 Issue 91 Christmas 2018www.kayaknz.co.nz

Callaghan Creek- Photo by Kieran Brown

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The Sea to Sky Corridor

British Columbia, Canada

By Sam Ricketts

Sam scouting Zeta, Photo- Alex Nicks

Triple Drop, Ashlu Box Canyon Photo PAGE by 48 Maxi Kneiwasser Issue 91 Christmas 2018


Patagonia is world renowned as an adventure capital. It is vast. Its landscape is painted with coastal rainforests, jagged peaks and immense glaciers. Located in the southern reaches of the Andes (the second highest mountain range in the world), it is home to big and blue glacial fed rivers, active volcanoes and rich cultural history. Running wildly within this natural paradise is my all-time favourite river, The Rio Futaleufu. Starting its 105 km journey high in the Andes of Argentina, it makes its way across the Chilean border and begins its fall to the Yelcho Lake, which drains into the South Pacific Ocean.

Twenty hours drive south of Chile’s capital Santiago, The Futaleufu is big, double the size of New Zealand’s mighty Waikato River on a normal day. It is turquoise blue, and falls through world class white water, dropping down Grade Five gorges, and wide open boulder gardens. Futaleufu is a Mapuche (indigenous people of Patagonia) word meaning ‘Big Water.’ The people of Futaleufu also refer to their beautiful home as ‘Un paisaje pintado por dios’ or ‘a landscape painted by God’. Exotic birdlife, puma, wild boar, trout and llama can be found on its banks. It is a beautiful sight, as the river snakes its way through the ruggedly lush forests, you pass house sized smooth granite boulders, sheer canyon walls and clean and fun rapids. There are glassy surf waves where you can see 10 metres to the bottom, with drinkable water.

The town of Futaleufu is a very small and cultural town. They have a rodeo every year where the young local men and women can show off their skills to the town. Barbeques and feasts of lamb on the cross (cordero) are cooked over embers for five to six hours, producing some of the most amazing meat I have ever tasted. Local farmers on horseback

make the trek to the town from their humble farms by the river. Local rafting companies attract tourists from far and wide to brave the rough waters of the Futaleufu, which has been named one of the top five white water rafting destinations in the world, next to the Zambezi.

I was 18 years old when I first visited this river, lucky to be greeted by the late local legend, Josh Lawry. He was 65 at the time, still paddling the Futaleufu everyday with so much finesse. He took me under his wing and was my mentor, while I worked as a safety kayaker for his rafting company. Turns out he did the first descent of the river 20 years prior to my arrival, along with many other of Chile’s famous rivers including the Rio Baker. I was lucky to have met this man, and to have experienced his love for the river. It is here that I fell in love with the waters of the Futaleufu, it was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I was astounded by the sheer beauty of the landscape, and the white water that was so big and so clean, at the same time extremely humbling, and great for progressing my skills.

It was this realisation that helped a lot throughout my kayaking career, a pure truth of what water volume was capable of. This natural force is so much more powerful than any of us, it never stops, and can never be taken for granted. To effortlessly float on top and through this natural force of continuous flow and energy is the most invigorating feeling of freedom and momentary consciousness. This has helped me in all aspects of my life, the release from the stresses of everyday life, in turn makes them seem like an easier task after these experiences.

The sections of the Futaleufu all provide everything you will ever look for in a white water destination. Big, blue and beautiful the river provides. You can stay in the local hostel, or riverside at the company ‘Cara del Indio’ where they have many gazebos for the traveling kayaker to rent out, right next to the river. Be prepared for a life-changing adventure!

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Sam- The Terminator

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