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4 days of activities exploring the East Cape - Labour weekend 

An incredible few days which gave us a taste of this stunning region and what more there is to discover too. On the first day we headed to Rere Falls & Rockslide just out of Gisborne. Here we ditched the kayaks in favour of body boards to slide down the 60m rock face. It was very funny and most of us ended up sliding backwards but it was great fun. Watch the video:
 

The following day we paddled up the Waimata River as sadly it was too rough out on the sea for our planned route to Wainui. However, the river was very pretty and sheltered from most of the wind so it was an enjoyable morning. After paddling we had lunch at clubbies Geoff & Jan's house, which is right on the beach and enjoyed the views.
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Soon after we headed to Dive Tatapouri to experience the Eco Reef Tour and learn more about the sting rays and feed them. It was thrilling walking out on to the reef and seeing these magnificent creatures with the opportunity to feed them. A must if you're in the area.
That night we stayed at Tolaga Bay holiday park and enjoyed a pot luck dinner before heading off to bed. In the morning some went and did the Cooks Cove walk which offer magnificent views from the top of the cliffs. In the afternoon we paddled from the beach, under the long wharf and out to Mitre Rocks and Pourewa Island lagoon. A stunning secluded spot where we could avoid the swell, take a wander and go for a swim. It was incredibly beautiful. next time we hope the swell is less so we can paddle round the whole island as originally planned.
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On the last day we paddled for a couple of hours up the Uawa River, exploring it's tributaries. Beautiful famland surrounded us and it was a pleasant wind down paddle before we had to drive all the way home.
All in all a fantastic few days with a great mix of members from various regions.


Matauri Bay, Northland, with Auckland Yakity Yak Club 

We had almost perfect weather over the long weekend, and ended up with 17 enjoying this stunning area.   Some of us arrived on Friday and were able to fit in a short, late afternoon paddle with flat, calm conditions, followed by a beautiful sunset.

Saturday  - again we had perfect weather with no wind and just .25m swell, so we headed over to the Cavalli Islands which are just 3km away.  The rock gardening there was excellent with plenty of caves, and the sea was flat enough to enable the less experienced to get in amongst it.  Mat and Billy saw a large flock of birds working and headed off to see what they could catch - they came home with enough fish to provide entree, mains, and breakfast to those who wanted it. Yum, thanks guys.

Sunday - with the swell up to 1m, this meant that on our coastal trip northwards, the experienced paddlers had more excitement than anticipated, and those less experienced had to be cautious and stay outside most of the rocks.  We had 3 experienced paddlers take a swim that day, and it was great fun.  After watching a gap for a few minutes, Russ went through, closely followed by Larraine.  A large wave suddenly appeared and as Russ punched through it a previously well-submerged rock poked its head up.  Russ managed to dodge it, but the next wave found him off balance and actually sucked him out of his kayak not even giving him the option of rolling.  He had to swim his kayak out from the rocks far enough to enable Larraine to hook onto his boat, and John brought Russ out using a bow carry, before he was able to get back aboard.  Tim got some great footage (see both the video and photos links below).
Further on Mat managed to capsize while trying to not damage his Greenland T on the rocks.
Then Larraine had almost too much excitement.  Several others had already safely gone through a long section of rocks, but as she got to the end a large swell appeared, and with no time to do more than turn straight into it, it threw her sidewards and backwards, rather too close to the rock wall behind for comfort.  A strong draw stroke kept her off the rocks, and a quick recovery meant no swim, but plenty of adrenaline!  Witnesses saw her kayak almost airborne at one point (see video taken from the deck of her kayak).
With the swell rising, we had to stay further out as we went on up to Taiaue Bay where we stopped for lunch.  There was a good surf rolling in there and John played in that for a while, which is where he had his turn at capsizing, though Andrea claims that if you capsize in surf it doesn't count!
After lunch the swell was still getting bigger, and as we had all had quite enough excitement for one day, we took the direct route back to camp. 
Monday saw the swell up to 1.5m and rising to 2m, so we called it quits and headed home early.
This was a fantastic trip, with that area said to be some of the best in the world for kayaking - I believe it!
Photos from Tim...
Video from Tim...
 
Trip Review- Lake Maraetai & the Mangakino Stream
Despite the rain clouds gathering and the odd shower before we got to the lake, it actually turned out to be a superb day without any rain. With 19 of us on the water and with club members from all over - Hamilton, Taupo, Taranaki and of course the Bay of Plenty, it was a really relaxed way for everyone to get to know each other.
The lake was like a mill pond and the water surprisingly warm, warm enough that Bev even did a couple of kayak rolls before we headed off (the rest of us just watched in admiration and with dry hair!). As we paddled up the lake to where the Mangakino Stream joined the lake, another couple of clubbies joined us from their father's bordering farmland.
Lake Maraetai
Heading up the Mangakino Stream there are impressive cliffs, inlets and sunken trees, completely different to the lake. It was incredibly sheltered with little flow, making the travel upstream easy. We stopped for lunch on a small beach on one of the meanders and watched whilst Averil got a quick lesson in getting your neoprene hatch covers back on - they are notoriously awkward!
We paddled as far as we could go, to the small waterfall and then turned and headed back downstream, back in to Lake Maraetai and to the coffee and ice cream shack by the lake.
All in all a very pleasant, relaxed paddle great for beginners in a really pretty environment.
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 Lake Tarawera Multi-Day Trip

  
As an extension to the Hot water Beach ANZAC Day paddle 6 paddlers in five kayaks continued on with a 3night 4 day paddle around Lake Tarawera, including a portage to Rotomahana to see the thermal area on the western shore.
After packing and leaving from Boat shed bay we caught up with the day paddlers as they reached Hot water beach, we shared a lunch break and while the day paddlers took a dip we put up our tents anticipating possible afternoon showers. After waving the day paddlers off for their trip home we headed down to the end of the bay by kayak to the hot pools up a small creek. Unfortunetly these were not as nice as usual, a little flooded and full of small fish that really wanted to eat us ! Some rain in the evening.
Lake Tarawera Multi-Day Trip 
Day 2 we headed off at 9.00am for a portage over to Rotomahana. All kayaks and wheels behaved really well and we were up and over the hill in record time with very few misshaps. The t...hermal area of Rotomahana was lovely and warm as was the day with the sun shining and no rain to be seen. We watched geysers spouting water and listened to water boiling under the rocks with steam floating everywhere.
Our return trip back up the lake was pretty exciting for some of us and a learning curve for others as we 'surfed 'our way back to another hassle free portage back to camp at Hot Water Beach. Thanks to Dave and Adian for the muscle power getting kayaks in and out.
Day 3.Wanting to miss the westerly winds out on the main lake we once again set off at 9.00 for our short paddle to Tarawera Outlet our next camp site.
Everyone was holding their breath as we got closer to the entrance of the calm bay, expecting to see white caps but we were in luck and headed around the eastern corner into calm waters with a slight tail wind. Adian used his sail and i dont think he actually made may paddle strokes in that 9km paddle. As we arrived at the Outlet the weather changed and we had to deal with crashing waves as we landed on the shore. The forecast westerly had arrived but we were safe at camp. Later in the afternoon we walked down to view Tarawera falls.
Day 4. We had decided to leave an hour earlier this morning to avoid the head wind, that we expected to pick up as it had the day before, but it actually didn't seem to stop blowing all night so we were discussed our options. Pam decided to hitch a ride back on a fishing boat, while the others continued with the plan to head off at 8.00 into what we thought would be a hard head wind. Nature was with us once again and as we paddled along the shore the wind and waves got less and the sun shone more so we ended paddling back on glassy waters, and after a short break at Humpheries bay we arrived back at Boat Shed bay at 12.
I had a great 4days - Thanks Dave, Karen, Pam, Erin and Adian for joining me :)
 
Thanks to BOP leader Sandy Clark for arranging the trip, great feeback from the others about the trip. Well done.
 
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Beehive Island

Well we (8 of us) finally we knocked the b…. off. The fourth trip plan came to fruition.  The group’s first dilemma was whether to cover the arms in sunscreen or a paddle jacket. The sunny day clouded over but after a visit to the restored Copper mine and  a quick blast up South Cove we arrived to our Hauraki Gulf paradise – Beehive Island. The sand was white, the water blue, the birds in abundance and the Austins tried to set the scene a bit more by bringing a pineapple. We all had a lovely relax and a walk around the island (takes approx 5 minutes). We must have slept through the predicted ‘variable 5 knots’ and instead had a good workout back to Martins Bay. We will have to have another trip when the water is warm as well as blue!
 
Photos...
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Waiheke Island Circumnavigation

As we, Andrea, Cary, Martin and Shaun, were preparing to leave St Heliers mid afternoon on the Friday, light rain and poor visibility made us question our motives. Without being able to see Rangitoto we headed off to Motatapu Island and after two hours paddling with a light south easterly we arrived Home Bay on high tide. After a damp night, we left Home Bay reasonably early knowing that we had a big day ahead of us and took advantage of the outgoing high tide to assist us across the channel between Home Bay and the north western end of the Waiheke Island coastline. We were making good progress towards Thompsons Point at the eastern end of Onetangi Bay, when low and behold we were surrounded by a pod of playful dolphins that played either side of Andrea’s kayak - a sight that we will never forget.

Whilst crossing Onetangi Bay the southeasterly suddenly got up and paddling got a whole lot harder, so much so that we headed to a steep stony beach for a short respite. Recharged we set off again, and the wind thankfully had disappeared as we made our way past Thumb Point to the southern end of Hooks Bay for lunch. We set off again in slightly choppy waters and headed south with a bit of rock gardening before meeting Paul, Linda and Cheryl at the northern end of Man o War Bay. By now the afternoon sun was upon us and Man o War Bay seemed to go on forever. Once past we made steady progress and waited for the forecasted south westerly to take effect as we rounded the southern tip of the island – luckily the weather gods were on our side and the wind never materialised allowing us to make steady progress to enter Rocky Bay, nine hours and fifty kms after leaving Home Bay on Motatapu. A sandy beach, a comfortable campsite and a couple of whiskies later made it feel all worthwhile!

Again, we left to take advantage of the high tide and the smell of bacon wafting from St Heliers approx 20 kms away. Luckily the south westerly winds didn’t really materialise and we had a good crossing to arrive back in St Heliers in time for a well deserved and most welcome brunch. A fun group and great trip made all the better for Andrea’s prior experience of paddling Waiheke. A total of 83.2kms, 14.5 hrs on the water at an average of 5.7kph.  

I feel a rock gardening expedition along the north eastern coast of the island is certainly worth considering.

 

Whangamata weekend

A big thanks to Judy for allowing us to use her family bach again.  This is a stunning spot with the bach right on the beach.  We had 20 paddlers for our 5 new trip leaders to experiment on.

On Saturday morning we split into 2 pods - each with 2-3 new leaders and a couple of 'supervisors'.  We were expecting a bit of a swell, but were surprised to find that the 'Donut' Island had quite a surge running through the tunnel making it inadvisable to go through into the hole in the middle which was a bit disappointing.  We ambled up the coast with the swell crashing onto the rocks quite dramatically.  Looking at the surf pounding onto the exposed beaches we thought it unlikely that we would be able to land for lunch but Denis found a short protected stretch of beach that was tucked in behind an island.  It still managed to tip a couple of people out, but I am sure that was only because we haven't been practising much over winter.

We lounged around on the sunny deserted beach over lunch before heading a bit further along the coast.  Several of the group went between the main land and a large rock which had plenty of space, but while Judy and Lynda were going through a particularly large swell caught them out and broke over them.  We had an anxious few moments until we saw them pop out, still upright - well done ladies!  Judy later commented that that was a bit too much fun!

The return trip was uneventful, and even though the surf was rolling in very nicely at Whangamata Beach, all managed to land with dignity. Several unloaded their gear, donned helmets, and went straight back out to play for another hour or two.  The rest of us sat in the sun with beer and nibbles and watched, entertained by some of the very stylish surfing and dramatic capsizes.

It was a good day for wild-life as we saw a sting-ray, several penguins and even a couple of seals frolicking in the surf.

We had a yummy shared dinner on Saturday evening, followed by a spot of rugby.

Sunday morning brought quite a surprise when we found that someone had come along in the night and picked up some gear that had been hung up to dry overnight.  We were shocked at the gear that had been stolen - they must have been very drunk.  Who in their right mind would be interested in stealing Nick's well used paddle shorts, and Russell's smelly boots?  Leaving behind some very choice BA's and paddles!

Unfortunately the weather packed in over-night so that was the end of the paddling, concluding another fabulous trip.  Congratulations to our five new trip leaders who all did an excellent job - Shaun, Glenda, Laura, Cheryl and Anita.

Photos from Larraine...
Photos from Diana...
Auckland Yakity Yak Club

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