We set out early for our full day of kayaking in Abel Tasman park. I was so excited, visiting Abel Tasman park was the thing I was most looking forward to on this trip. Guesstimating from the map in the brochure, we would be doing about 16 KM of kayaking and I was beginning to worry I wouldn’t have the strength to complete the entire trip, especially if the conditions were bad. We got to Kaiteriteri beach and 8:00 and met our guide and the other people who would be kayaking with us: three Danish girls and an English guy who was spending 3 months traveling around the world.
We got a full safety briefing and got suited up in our life jackets and skirts. This took about 30 min. I realized that I had left my hat in the car, and asked our guide if he happened to have one I could borrow. What he gave me was some sort of a water frisbee that could, in case of emergency, be used as a hat. I recognized the challenge when he handed it to me with a mischievous look on his face; if I refused to wear it, I would be deemed a snob. If I did wear it, I would look like a fool. I decided to wear it. Anything to keep the age spots on my forehead from getting darker!
We took a water taxi to our starting point, Bark Bay, going by the famous “Split Apple Rock” along the way. At Bark Bay, we quickly launched our kayaks into the water. It was overcast, but didn’t look like it would rain. As we headed to our first “stop,” Pinnacle Island, where the seals hang out, I realized what a long day of kayaking this was going to be. But at least the water conditions were ideal. So far…
At Pinnacle Island, we saw lots of seals lounging on rocks. They were so cute! It was a leisurely day of kayaking, so much so that our guide had to go get the Danish girls who were either really taking their time or struggling to keep up. We hugged the coast line and paddled between various rocky outcrops. We also saw a lot of different birds hanging out on the rocks. It was hard to get good pictures of them, and it was difficult to always be pulling out my camera from its waterproof bag. The views as we paddled were all amazing, and the clarity and color of the water was astounding.
Here’s a video of us out at sea.
After a couple hours of paddling, we pulled into Anchorage Bay for lunch. There were sandwiches, muffins, cookies, hot tea, water, and fruit. The sandwiches were pretty good, ham and cheese and veggies with sliced hardboiled eggs. It was very filling and good fuel for the rest of our trip. As the guide put the sandwiches on the tarp, he turned away just for a few seconds and some seagulls managed to fly over and dig in to one of the sandwiches. Luckily there was enough extras. Lunch was leisurely, and we explored the beach afterward. I had worn my swimsuit under my shirt and shorts, but it became apparent no one else was going to swim. Oh well! I HAD to swim in the Abel Tasman sea, so I did. It was cool, but refreshing.
Soon we were back on the water. After an hour or so, I was beginning to get tired. So, I was glad when the guide had us line our 4 kayaks up. We each held on to the kayak next to us, and those of us on the outside held onto a huge sail. We caught some wind and sailed along! The Danish girls started singing some Danish drinking songs. It was a lot of fun. I had wanted to walk the entire length of the park, which is a 3-4 day hike and involves staying in the park overnight, but this was turning out to be a good compromise. Near the end of the day, we stopped at another beach and explored some caves. It was a great trip and our guide was both fun and knowledgeable. I was also very thankful that the conditions had stayed so favorable. It was a very enjoyable kayak trip and we were able to see a lot of the park.
Here’s a video of us “sailing.”
We went back to our cottage and showered up. We decided to go to Motueka for dinner, and chose a pizza place. After that, it was back to the cottage for more time with Gray Kitty and enjoying the peace and quiet of the countryside. It was St. Patrick’s Day, and the Irish bar in town was packed. I wished we had the energy to be more social, but we were both tired out from the long day of kayaking.