Monday, October 24, 2011

Ready for a NZ summer

2010 vids
I’ve been back in New Zealand 2 weeks now, and even though I've had great time in Europe, I’m super stoked to be back. I’ve just been looking at a few of the little vids from the 2010/11 summer and thought I’d share a couple. I’m definitely fired up for another New Zealand summer of boating, it’s gonna be awesome.

Blue River

In September 2010 I flew down to Christchurch for the school holidays for a ‘tour de south’ with Willz Martin. I had no idea what he had planned, but was happy that for once I didn’t have to plan anything, simply hop in and enjoy the ride. After a few days on the west coast we headed south all the way down to Haast Pass, where Willz had a little project in mind, named the Blue river. We were sure someone must have been in there before, but had no idea who, nor did we have any beta, so we had to treat it like a first descent. 
The Blue river is better known for its extremely blue pools at the confluence with the Makarora river, which is a bit of a tourist attraction. From here we shouldered our boats for a couple of hours and put in where the track comes down to river level above the gorge. I am sure there are more sections above here as there is plenty of gradient and plenty of water,  just requiring a much further walk in. Maybe we’ll go have a looksie this summer.
Anyway, some topo-map research uncovered there would be only one exit point to the gorge, where a small creek joins the blue on river-left half way down. With this in mind, we had to carefully pick our way downstream, rapid by rapid, always looking for possible ways to get back up if we met an unscoutable/unportageable/unrunnable rapid downstream. The run was a lot steeper and continuous than what we expected, and putting on late in the day saw us splitting our trip into two days, leaving our boats at the said exit point and walking back in the next day.
What we found was a classic. A stunningly beautiful gorge, continuous class 4/5 white-water with several bigger, stauncher rapids on offer if you’re feeling fired up. Highly recommended. Next time I’ll be hoping for a slightly higher water level so the big ones are more ‘good to go’. None of them were fired on this day.

Waipapa River

Another classic from the Kaimai range in the Bay of Plenty, is the Waipapa. It sits next valley over from the now famed Wainui river. While not as continuous as its bigger brother over the hill, its still a worth while day out if there’s more than 4 or 5 cumecs at the put-in. Plenty of big classic drops and a couple of slides to make for a super fun trip.
This particular day we had just above 3 at the put-in, a bit low really, but that didn’t stop our large crew getting amongst it and having some fun. Meeeeaan day.

The summer of 2010/11 was shit for rafting, but great for kayaking. Almost unheard of in summer, the Kaituna river was closed for rafting for almost a month – for being too high. There had been so much rain, which resulted in the control gates being held open for weeks.
It is such a fun run at this flow, and being the middle of summer the temperature is like bath water. It’s hard to beat open gates tuna runs.
I took the go pro for a couple of runs down, and here’s what we came up with… 
Paddling through the jungle in bath water.

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