3 December 2007

A change of plans

For the first weekend of December the plan was to head down to Waikanae to paddle the upper Otaki. We were going to meet Chee on his way up from ChCh and walk in. Jamie had been talking to the big dog upstairs and had organised for it to rain on thursday/Friday. Unfortunately the big guy must have been busy in the middle east or somewhere and he forgot to turn on the tap. So we pulled out before we ended up on one of our classic goose chases that seem to end up scratching down rivers instead of paddling.
New plan....
Saturday morning after checking the flow with Butters on the way we decided to head north for a guaranteed PADDLE! A few quick phone calls later and we were on route to Rotorua for the ever reliable Kaituna River. Butters and Jamie had the pleasure of taking Sanga for his first Kaituna experience and what an experience it was!

After two stellar runs of the Okere Falls section we meet up with some boys from St Pauls in Hamilton and one of their instructors and we got the opportunity to tag along on a trip down awesome gorge. So we snapped it up and after 30-40mins of the best roller coaster ride of our lives we all only one word to describe the section of deep narrow gorge...and of course that word was awesome! This was especially cool because our time to do this section could be limited because the rapids within the gorge are at threat of being lost forever because of New Zealand's energy needs. There are plans in the pipeline to have this section damed for electricity generation.

After a leisurely stroll back to the carpark we were kindly driven back to the top by the other groups shuttle bunny (a very dedicated father) for our third and final run. Here are a few photos from that..

Sanga lining up the weir

The team just below Tutea Falls

Tutea falls

Sanga, Butters, and Jamie getting in there for a wee photo

At the bottom of this run is the famous Kaituna Hole. This play hole is excellent for showing off to tourists and using that last little bit of energy that you didn't even know you still have before calling it a day.

Ben posing for the cameras

Jamie looping it up in his creek boat

Ben doing the same in his new mini mystic

After all of this fun we were on our way back to Taupo to meet up with Chee and Derry for the night where the fun times just kept coming... lets just say things got a little crazy, there was some confusion between the two pre-determined sober drivers leaving us with no sober driver, and a very sore wallet.

Dedicated as we are this didn't slow us down too much as we were back on the road (hungover again) and heading for the Wairoa by 9am (still a little behind schedule) arriving at the put in in not too bad time. We had organised a few people to meet up with but we were a bit slow off the mark so we were left high and dry. This was when we met Matt, a Wairoa local who showed us some sweet lines down some of the Wairoa's awesome drops. Chee and Sanga had a wee incident with a toaster (visualise a kayaker instead of bread) but all turned out Ok. The run finished with 'just some grade two and three boulder gardens bro' and then out of nowhere another river wide 2m waterfall ! - casual grade two - three? The St Pauls boys were charging hard again and we caught up with them at the bottom. The Wairoa turned out to be another primo day and it was crazy to see so many people on one river (almost bullerfest-ish). All in all considering the fact that we all only had a mere 3 hours sleep we all seemed to be on our game for some very fun boating full of clean lines and challenging water.

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