On our second day in Marahau, (which is at the top of the South Island and about an hours drive from Nelson) Ben and I booked to go kayaking for a day in the Abel Tasman Nature Reserve.
We booked the trip through Abel Tasman Kayaks, and were put into a group of eight. Each kayak seated two people, and a guide accompanied us in a smaller kayak. The day started at 9am at base camp, where we were given a briefing about how to use the kayaks, how the foot pedal steering works, and where we would be paddling to.
After we had loaded the kayaks onto a trailer, we were dropped off at the beach, and handed paddles.
We then set off on our day trip!
Steering using the foot peddles was easy to get the hang of, especially when we didn’t have to worry about digging our oars in like maniacs on one side of the boat to change direction. It also meant we didn’t have to stay coordinated with each other to paddle.
Steering wasn’t a problem, but after a whole 10 minutes of paddling my arms started to ache, and Ben was complaining that his legs hurt from steering! So, on our first stop we switched places in the kayak so that I was at the back and in control of the steering pedals.
The first stop was on Adele Island. This is uninhabited by humans, but lots of seals live there! We parked our kayaks on the beach and sat down for a cup of coffee and a slice of cake.
The seals weren’t very good hosts, and didn’t swim over to welcome us onto the island… so we went to them! We paddled round the island and found them sleeping on the rocks.
Our guide warned us to keep paddling as we looked at the seals so that the wind didn’t drag the kayaks into the rocks. So alas, I have no photos of the little seals (but I promise they were awesome to see!)
As it was so windy, the group maneuvered all the kayaks next to each other to form a raft. Then, the people in the outside kayaks held up a parachute which caught the wind and acted as a sail so the wind could drag us along. Holding the parachute up looked like hard work because the wind was so strong, but luckily Ben and I were in the middle of the raft so we could just sit back and relax!
We then stopped at another beach on the mainland for lunch. We were the only people on this beach because it can only be accessed by water.
On the way home, the sea got a bit choppy. The kayak really did seem tiny in comparison to the waves, and the suggestion to use the kayak to surf the waves back to the shore really freaked me out!
We arrived back without capsizing (thank god) and it was a great day!