New Zealand is well know as a country of adventure. It’s acctually said that NZ offers every kind of adventure and extreme sport you can think about. I’m not a big fan of extreme sports but I like to keep my day active and full of new challenges. That’s why, when I only had a chance, I decided to try the very famous sea kayaking. There are a few places where you can try it but I chose Nelson Bay on the South Island. Mostly because it’s supposed to be the most beautiful and spectacular place to swim around.
If you want to hire a kayak you will have many options to choose, eg. 1 hour, half day or full day tour. You can also hire a guide who is swimming next to your kayak and helps you, I don’t know with what (maybe he gives you some jokes to entertain?). Anyway, I find this kind of guidance absolutely useless since the only thing you need to know is to paddle back and forward what doesn’t seem to be very difficult.
Anyhow, me and my fiancee have decided to buy a half day trip without guide what simply means that we had a double kayak only for ourselves for a few hours.
We were told to come to the office at 9 a.m. to take part in quick training (well, it wasn’t that quick because it took almost 1,5 hour) about using the kayak on the sea.
After that, we were ready to go (or we thought we were). The weather seemed to be perfect that day. The sun was shining and we were very excited about what we were going to see. Kayaking between the islands was supposed to be the best part of the trip. On one of them there was na huge colony of seals. Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
We started to paddle full of hope and good vibes. After 10 minutes we barely moved forward, we were totally wet (as water poured inside the kayak all the time) and cold (despite it was a summer in NZ, the wind and the water were freezing). Not to mention that this kind of pleasure was planned to last for the next 4 hours. We seriously had an idea to turn back but on the other hand we tried to convince ourselves that it was going to get better. So we kept paddling. After an hour we had a feeling that we were still in the same spot. Only the waves were bigger and bigger, constantly smashing right on my face (I was in the front seat). The island with the seals was like a mirage, so far away that we couldn’t really imagine to get there. The water wasn’t crystal clear like on the pictures, but it was rather dark.
I swear that I had only bad thoughts in my head, especially when my fiancee shouted from the back that I paddle wrong and not fast enough. From my perspective I tried to keep myself alive between cold waves hitting me all the time from every direction.
Obviously, we could’t reach the seal island or any other island. Waves were just too big. After almost 5 miles and 4 hours of crazy paddling along the coastline we finally reached the closest beach, where we could return our kayak. It wasn’t even the final destinantion (we decided that we are not going to paddle any more because it wasn’t fun at all). As we realized later we had to pay for returning the kayak in a wrong place.
Do you know what was the funniest thing? The last 0,5 mile before the returning point, water was finally crystal clear like it was supposed to be all the time, and like all the catalogues of kayakig in NZ show. At least we had 10 minutes of glory and a few nice shots.
We were so dissapointed, wet and tired that we decided to come back to the city with a water taxi. As we realized quickly, all the places on that taxi were booked (nobody in the sales office told us before that it’ s mandatory to book a place in case we don’t want to walk back). We were completly alone on the small, empty beach without a signal in our mobiles. The only way to come back to the nearest city was to treck for the next 4 hours in the Abel Tasman National Park.
We made it afterall (what else could we do?) but you can imagine how pissed off we were.
Don’t get me wrong, I like water sports and all kind of outdoor activities. I consider myslef as fit and quite strong, but this kind of activity was way too much. It wasn’t pleasure and these beautiful water views were a lie. The worst part is that we paid 100 USD each for the feeling that we were fooled.
This is my favourite picture from the catalogue. I really believed that it might be me :/