January 8 -- Anchorage

written by bryan on January 14th, 2009 @ 01:01 AM

Bryan from Anchorage Campsite, Abel Tasman National Park

We woke up this morning to the sound of crashing waves. After we packed up our tent, our guide Adrian served us a fabulous hot breakfast of french toast, fried tomatoes and fried bananas.

It was already quite hot, we could tell that it was going to be a scorcher. Luckily we were going to be spending the day on the water where a slightly inefficient paddling style would continuously splash water as a coolant!

We started out with a trip to the Tonga Island seal colony. This small island is home to 400 seals, and we arrived in the middle of calving season, so we heard and saw a few pups as well. These are a breed of fur seal unique to New Zealand and Australia. The male is twice as large as the female. He comes to the island early in the spring to stake out a prime area and then collects a harem of 4-8 females. However this strategy is not particularly productive as most females breed in the water with stray males they wander across!

After lunch we walked inland a little ways following a tiny stream to a waterfall. It was interesting how quickly the water cooled down as we walked upstream. Tiny little crabs scurried out of our way as we walked through the sand and let the mud squish between our toes. The source of the stream was a pool at the bottom of a tiny waterfall where we sat and cooled off while some tiny little fish nibbled at our toes.

After lunch the wind picked up substantially and we tried a technique called sailing. We brought all of our kayaks together, we “rafted up”. Bethany and I were on one outside edge with the guide on the other. Bethany happened to be in the back of our kayak at that time, so the sail was tied to the end of her paddle and I held another corner. Bethany held her paddle in the air and we let the wind do the work for us, and moved considerably quicker than we would have while paddling. We may have saved as much as an hour paddling.

Our guide caged some fridge space from the ranger at our destination, Anchorage Campsite, so we had cold beer and wine with our supper. This certainly felt good as we relaxed from our trip during New Zealand’s hottest day this summer so far.

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