Friday, January 18, 2008


No one speaks english, we are now getting quite good at Spanglish. They like to party in the campsites until 3am (so no sleep till then). The weather is so hot you scramble for the slightest of shade. and food and beer is very very cheap.
So far so good, Chile is a stunning country and after getting our hire car we headed out to the 7 teacups, a stunning run deep in a gorge that holds 7 plop off waterfalls.

The run was amzing and worth every Peso we had to pay to paddle it, we guess they are opposed to paddlers paddling it as the park ranger was waiting to ensure we took off... nicely though he carried Cheryl´s boat out of the gorge up the hundreds of steps.
We are now in Pucon...eager to get out paddling tomorrow. More exciting is we manged to pick up a Whitwater guidebook to the Pucon area.
The stunning view from Pucon. (Don't let a Chilean re-wire your house though..)
Have paddled a few of the other local classics. The Trabcura, Fuy and San Pedro. Heading to Argentina now!!!!
Even having a great 4WD vehicle didn't stop my second failure at driving a great 'short cut road'. Last time it was the vehicle that let us down. This time, a bridge out. It hadn't stopped some people, but it was a bit too much for me in a hire car (or any car)
Some interesting random pics of things we've spotted during our last few days in between rivers....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Adios New Zealand

Our final day in New Zealand was quite the adventure.
Firstly We passed on Homer to his new owners some surfer dudes from Canada..

Then we headed out on a ferry to Rangitoto, a volcanic island just off the coast in Auckland. We managed to cram in the Summit Walk, rim walk, Lava tube walk (which involved crawling around in the dark in a lava tube and finally a visit to some of the Bachs or beach house as we would call them.

Back in Auckland city and we had a few hours to spare before our sumptuous dinner at the Auckland Sky tower. In Si and Cheryl style we hit the cinema again (twice in two days …they know us by name in there now) to Watch American Gangster..a fantastic movie but rather long in fact 2.5 hours later we had to quietly leave the film wondering what happens at the end…. If anyone has seen it PLEASE can you e-mail us the ending…we watched up until the Gang where transporting the drugs from the Army coffins.
Running as fast as we can we made it in time for our reservation in the sky tower. Seated above Auckland city at about 280 mtrs we pigged out on the buffet like we hadn’t eaten in weeks. The dinner was perfectly timed to watch the sunset over Auckland..a fantastic ending to a fantastic time in New Zealand..

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

2008 Happy New Year

We brought in 2008 with Tim and Mel in Pauanui. Pauanui certainly put on a fantastic fireworks display. We took the opportunity of having a base for a few days and hit the local beaches. Pauanui itself has stunning white beaches with awesome surf…which we took our kayaks out on.

The Hot Water beach is a strange beach which has thermal springs in the sand. You dig a hole at low tide it fills with hot water and in you pop for a relaxing hot spring…

One of the most stunning beaches with views is Cathedral Cove the pictures say it all..

Then we began another 5 day kayak adventure with Tim and Rob. We began with a warm up on the Kaituna. We surprised Rob with the falls after not allowing him to scout. His face was a picture as he dropped the fall into the frothy pool below..

Southbound and We paddled the Tongariro 3 sections in two days with a Onipango / Waihohonu thrown in the middle. The Tongariro was great easing in difficulty as the sections went on. One section has 75 named drops. Another included the Gates of Hercules a deep flat water gorge. (But also one of the most steepest horrendous carry outs…we wondered why locals only paddled it once in a life time - it also involves a long carry in)

Day 4 and we were ready to step it up a notch on the Rangitikei..A class IV / V committing gorge. By the time the put in came we had one chicken out and the rest of us put on…nerves on edge. It turned out to be one of the best paddles we have had in NZ despite the low levels it provide good low volume class IV steep creeking drop after drop.

Our final and last day paddling with Tim and Rob, and our last river for New Zealand. We hit the Kaituna again…except this time we continued into the Awesome gorge. It can only be described as no eddy, fast, furious, extremely narrow, blind, twisty gorge that just finished our paddling on a high.

A quick stop off for Dinner and we found we were in a little place called Hobbiton including a life size Gollum.

Now..we head to Auckland in high hopes that we will sell Homer before we leave for Chile..on Tuesday.

Thanks to Tim and Rob for paddling with us again (even if Rob did throw the dummy out). Thanks to Mel for letting us unload ourselves at her house.

New Pictures of our North Island Adventures are available on Webshot…Use the Our Pictures link.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

North Island Boating

Heading north through the North Island, we stopped off at the Waiahonu river. I’d paddled this before on my last trip, and again it did not disappoint. The short upper section of the Onipango also provided a adrenaline fix with a fine selection of narrow drops in walled-in gorges. There’s a big portage half way down which we did on the wrong side of the river apparently last time…. It wasn’t any easier on the correct side!!
We met and paddled with Dave and Emily, who were visiting relatives in the North Island. Dave had lived nearby for a number of years, and was keen to get on Huka Falls. This was a section we’d tried to paddle last time, but flows had never been less than huge and scary. Dave had a plan however, and at 6:00 AM, we were on the river, with perfect first time flows. We came back later in the day, and were impressed to see the increased flows, and were glad that we’d made it up early in the morning, and had successful runs.

From Taupo, we headed to friends of a friend for Xmas, Thanks Richard and Carla. Christina was visiting from Australia, for a few days boating with us, and the next day we loaded up her rental kayak and headed out boating again.

First stop was the fantastic Kaituna river. A beautiful narrow fern lined gorge with numerous small drops, and a couple of bigger ones thrown in….. We warmed up on the lower section, putting in below the big falls, but requiring a hike from the car park.

The next day we headed to the Rangiteiki river. Shuttle involved many miles of logging roads, both driven, and jogged. Unfortunately we’d just missed getting a ride with the raft companies, but the run was worth it, many may kilometers of good boulder rapids.

We camped at the Aniwhenia campsite, with many holidaying families, but very convenient for the lower section of the Rangiteiki. Starting just above Aniwhenia falls, which I didn’t run particularly well, certainly not encouraging Cheryl and Christina to run it. The rest of the run was a mellow class 2 run, with plenty of water.

For Christina’s final day, we headed back to the Kaituna, this time for the full run. Good runs were had down the big waterfall by all!! This is a great short run that you can run lap after lap on, and never get tired of it…… We also met a kid with a pet baby possum!

We camped nearby, and dropped Christina at the airport the next morning, a bit later than planned due to our first car issue, a flat tyre, requiring a speedy grand prix style tyre change. After finally tracking down a tyre garage we were on our way to the Wairoa, one of the best dam release rivers in New Zealand. This great short run is pretty continuous, with a couple of larger exciting drops!!!

From there we headed north the meet up with Tim for New Years. Tim and Rob will be joining us again for a few more days boating very soon!!!