We had to be at the office of Sea Kayak Adventure Tours by 8:30 for our unguided kayak/hike ($85 per person). Guided kayak/hike tours were $120-$130, and Marc has sea kayaked before, so we thought we would be okay. It was located up the Queen Charlotte Drive on Anikawa Drive, and I had asked Marc to figure out how long it would take to get there. He thought 20 min. We left at 8:00, after helping ourselves to some of Lynn’s (the owner of Tombstone) freshly baked scones.
As we headed up the Q.C., we realized it was 26 KM along the twisty road to Anakiwa Drive. I had horrific images in my head of us showing up late, keeping a dozen people waiting, but when we made it exactly at 8:30 am, we were the only ones there. One other couple was going, two guys from Ireland, who were doing the kayak/mountain bike. It occurred to me to inquire how far the hike was, and I was told it was 12 KM. 12 KM? How far is that in miles, I wanted to know. We were told it was 3 KM to a mile… I wanted to believe him more than I actually believed him… If I had known we would be walking that long, I probably would have worn different shoes… Both of us were wearing Keen sandals that we wouldn’t mind getting wet in the kayaks.
We got an extremely thorough briefing on kayaking, then headed out. They launched us from Anakiwa, and we had been told to keep eyes on each other, but the Irish guys met up with a solo kayaker whom they knew, and then they headed far out from the shoreline, whereas Marc and I wanted to hug the shoreline, knowing we’d see more stuff that way, and after an hour we’d lost sight of them.
The first half of the kayak was marvelous. Calm waters and no wind. There were tons of jellyfish in the water, and at one point Marc exclaimed “Holy sh*t!” and I looked into the water. It was a sea of fluffy white jellyfish. We also saw lots of birds perched in the rocky crags who didn’t fly away at our approach.
Here is a video of our kayak trip, you can hear a lot of bird calls in the background.
Here is a video of the hundreds of jellyfish in the water!
Here’s a video of me walking along the track near the starting point. Pretty grasses and foliage and the sound of birds in the background:
Although I hated the kayaking and Marc hated the hike, it was a very memorable day. I absolutely loved the hike and there were so many picture perfect moments. A return trip to NZ will definitely include walking the entire length of the Queen Charlotte track, even if I have to walk it sans spouse… We drove back to the hostel and although we had been consoling ourselves along the trail with talk of fish and chips and Guinness at the local pub, we suspected that after showering off the sweat and saltwater, the only thing we would have the energy for would be dinner in. We decided to stop and get cake for dessert, and at the grocery store I bought a carrot cake and some Kapiti Coast hokey pokey ice cream. I made the same thing for dinner I had made the night before, more fish and cole-slaw and sliced tomatoes. When Marc was done eating, he put his fork down and exclaimed, “That was the best meal ever!” He was right, it did taste pretty darn good after all that exercise. We each had a fat slice of carrot cake and I had 2 scoops of hokey pokey without any guilt. Marc turned in early and I stayed up late reading, knowing we’d be sleeping in the next day.