KAYAKING THE WAIMAKARIRI

“Paddle, paddle, paddle!!!” comes the cry from Hollie in front of me as our yellow tandem kayak enters into what looks like the inside of a washing machine. Moments later, we’re engulfed by swirling glacial, water – water I could have sworn was blue just a moment ago… but now all I see is foaming white.

THE ‘BOULDER BEACHING’

Five minutes before entering this mid-river washing machine, we had managed to get ourselves wedged on what are are dubbing a ‘surprise’ boulder, which ambushed our boat somewhere upstream (we swear it came out of nowhere). Naturally it took us some time to get ourselves free as we shifted micro-millimetres backwards and forwards, awkwardly wedged, with our rudder on the boulder and the front of our boat on the bank.

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At one point, I gave in to the idea that we were going to head backwards down the rapids, such was the struggle to free ourselves from the boulder beaching, but lo! There we were, facing forwards, hurtling downstream, trying desperately to catch up the main group who were… oh look… over there… to our left… why were they to our left? If they were over there, and we were over here then… oh no! My head snapped forwards and I tried desperately not to focus on the fact that we appeared to be headlong into a steep, rocky bluff. Continue reading