Saturday, 22 December 2012

Right! We have now saved up enough of our '50MB a day' free wifi (from the hostel we are in) to update the blog!

We made it to Milford sound Tuesday afternoon for kayaking a little later than our previously planned Tuesday Morning. The mountain pass to Milford had been closed for a few days due to a 'heightened avalanche risk'and we were fairly fortunate toget through when we did!

We finally got out on the water about 3pm after a very scenic water taxi ride out to the Tasman Sea with our kayaks. Back to 'camp' was a casual 25km kayak through uninterrupted and beautiful fjordland. Out at the Tasman Sea, the water was calm (brilliant), but sand flies were everywhere (nightmare). We made our way back into the fjord with haste where the water was much more choppy!

The tide was supposed to be in our favour at this time of day, but all of the freshwater (rain & glacial meltwater) coming off of the mountains and a decent headwind was more than enough to balance that out! This didn't phase us though, after all it made for great kayak surfing weather and the waterfalls were as great and full as they would ever be.

We saw plenty of seals in and out of the water, but sadly no dolphins who apparently show their faces once every 2 weeks, or penguins who only show their faces for mating season (whenever that is). The seals, stunning views, and kayak surfing our 5 metre 2 man transport was more than enough to keep Emma and I entertained though. We were having a right laugh!! Right up until... We capsized. Now, records of the event do differ. Emma blames me (because i was steering the rudder), and I, of course blame Emma (because I'm not going to blame myself). The fact of the matter is we were surfing this awesome wave when it suddenly disappeared beneath us, and before we knew it we were upside down with brain freeze trying to find our splash deck releases. Awesome!!

Ironically, we were having a laugh with the guide just 2 minutes before about how rare capsizes were and how he sometimes wished there were more, to practice his recovery drills. Talk about jinxing it!!

If we were in need of a wake up, this definitely gave it to us! The water was the coldest we have been in. Emma couldn't feel her hands or toes before we capsized, let alone after! Within 10 minutes, our kayak was up the right way, and we were scrambling back into it! We did realise that we had spent a bit too long in the water, swimming against the tide with a paddle in one hand and a kayak in the other. But it wasn't until later on, when we really realised how well we had come off.

A 35 year old kayaker/kayakist/kayakperson had also capsized (Due to the weather) but had dislocated his shoulder on the way down. Ouch. This is a pretty common kayaking injury, but I don't think knowing that would have made him feel much better. 15/20 minutes after it happened, he was still in the water unable to get back into his kayak. The mountain pass was closed at this time of day, so they had to call an air ambulance for him! Very bad day.

On a lighter note, this kayaking was one of the best things we have done in NZ! A great way to see the fjordland, and made even better by our swim with the seals! It's hard to do the landscape justice with a photo, but hopefully some of ours below come close...