(September 17, 2012) Abel Tasman N.P.
This morning is to be spent in Abel Tasman N.P. and enjoying
its coast whether by kayak or by catamaran.
After that, we will drive to West Coast and
reaching as close as possible of the glaciers, stopping to see the
Pancake Rocks, in Punakaiki, within Paparoa National Park, and just
before reaching Greymouth, there are the Coal Creek Falls.
After Greymouth, there is Hokitika, the city
famous by its greenstone.
It will be at least 280 Km we should cover in 3
hours and a half.
Kayak rental with equipment: 65 NZD
The plan for this morning is easy: we must drive just two
minutes from Top 10 Holyday Park in Motueka to the Sea KayakCompany office we were
yesterday without leaving the main road. There we’re more than
welcomed, we can leave the three motorhomes, taking what we need,
explained the odds we have of watching wildlife: impossible for orcas
and dolphins and unlikely for seals; and getting into the van with the
yellow kayaks we’re going to use.
We’re driven until Marahau Beach where we’re explained the basics of
kayaking. Water is cold and, while dressing the equipment and putting
the kayaks on the water, we meet the sandflies. I’ve got two bites,
enough for knowing how it is: you feel the bite at the moment and even
can bleed a little and that’s all, nothing to do with our mosquitoes,
where you don’t feel the bite itself, but it burns and itches for days.
Once we’re ready we get into our kayaks and sealing, with the sort of
skirt we’re wearing, the hole in order of avoiding water waist-down.
There are some departments, sealed too, where we can store things like
our drinking water or our cameras.
The water is
quiet at this first part, so that’s easy. When we go to open sea we’ve
got time to get the practice as per paddling along the coast enjoying
the landscapes but wildlife, apart from the sea birds, none.
We’re in a group of four kayaks very close and hitting each other all
the time as in a “bumper kayaks”. The ones seemed to doing it better
are finally the ones who got in troubles when getting very close to the
rocks as per being hit by the waves against them. The kayak stands for
a second over a rock until water comes again. They finally get out of
there by paddling backwards. After that, we’re paddling further from
the rocks as we’ve just acquired a new respect on them.
When we reach the rock looking as a split apple we’ve been told before
we’re talking about coming back, but there is an island nearby which
could be our last chance of seeing seals. As I don’t want to miss this
last shot, is just my single kayak with my sister behind which is going
to there. Soon I can see the silhouette of a seal over the rocks, so we
get closer, until the confirmation make us paddle fast to reach it as
soon as possible. Once there, waves are playing with us and our kayak
keep hitting the rocks, but we want our pictures. Then the seal drops
to the water, close of us and keep floating easily with the head inside
the water. It seems to be looking for some snack. It’s just like this
the seal moves between the rocks until being unreachable. It has been a
We’re paddling now directly
to the spot in the beach we must end our trip and as we’re going
straight instead of following the coast we get it fast, 30 minutes
before the scheduled time for picking us up.
help on putting the kayaks back to the van’s trailer, where there are our clothes as well so we can change, and we’re driven
to the offices in Motueka, where our motorhomes have been waiting for
The rest of the day is just for driving to
Punakaiki to visiting the Pancake Rocks, so we take that direction. One
hour later, just where the Motueka Valley Hwy reaches motorway 6, which
will bring us to Punakaiki, we stop at a restaurant.
Menu looks good and it seems the specialty is something called
“Porterhouse Steak”, which basically is a 250g piece of beef, something
similar to what we know as “entrecote”, made following the preferences
of everyone and delicious.
As we spend a lot of
time enjoying our meal and talking about our kayak experience we cannot
reach Pancake Rocks at daylight today, then we look something close to
spend the night and choose another Top 10: Seal Colony Top 10
Holyday Park, in Westport. As can be guessed by its name, it is close a
seal colony and first thing tomorrow will be to make everybody in the
group get their own experience with seals.