Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Easter Weekend: Te Ara Moana

While still recuperating from the Oxfam the weekend before, the Ninja Tortoises were busy planning Easter Weekend activities. We were talking about doing an overnight tramp, but a lot of the huts were already booked up. So Peter suggested and organized a trip doing part of the Te Ara Moana.

My partners in crime were Peter, Banu, Banafshe, Todd, and Mia. Beth stayed at home to do homework and some packing. The plan was to pick up the kayaks on Saturday afternoon and leave from Duder Regional Park, a place I haven't been since the P6 Adventure Race, and return them Monday afternoon. Getting the kayaks took a little longer than planned as they were beasts and the place didn't have straps. So Peter had to buy a few sets and learn how to tie a truckers hitch. With the kayaks firmly attached to the cars we left to meet up with Banu, who was finishing up with her Coast Guard duties in the area. The drive over to the launch point took some time as we opted to take side roads instead of trying our luck on the motorway with several thousand dollars worth of kayaks strapped to the roofs of 3 cars.

At Duder, we met Mags, who is with the Council, who directed us to park behind a Council owned building as it was a little more secure than leaving it in the park. We quickly unloaded the kayaks and gear as Todd and Banu were going to drive to our exit point and leave a car there. We proceeded to load up the 2 remaining kayaks with our gear and set off. The pair were Peter and Mia, Banafshe and I, and Todd and Banu. The 2 Bs had never kayaked before so we gave them a little instruction before setting out. The first evening, was a quick paddle around the point, which took us about 40 minutes.

We  set up camp our first camp and waited for Banu and Todd to get back from dropping off the car. They didn't have the best of luck as the White Pearl, Peter's car, decided it wanted to start overheating. In the mean time, we cooked our dinners. Its always fun to watch what people eat on these types out of adventures. I had chicken stock couscous, dehydrated peas, and garlic mussels and feijoas for dessert. Banafshe had nachos.

At around 10:30, I crawled into bed. Mia was already in the tent snoring away. Evidently Banu and Todd made it to camp around 11. They were paddling under the Full Moon and thought the flashing light from the other bay was our camp. Its lucky that Peter was texting them and directing them into the correct camp. Just prior to to lunar eclipse, Peter knocked on the tent. I poked my head out of the door and watched. I took some photos, but they didn't turn out well. Mia didn't budge.

The next morning, we had breakfast and my gas canister finally ran out. We had a big day planned of 24kms of paddling. We said goodbye to our campsite and made for Waitawa Regional Park. This was going to be our lunch spot, but we ended up eating on Pakihi Island instead. We ended up getting a little rain at this point as it had been threatening all morning. Here we met the only other people on the Te Ara Moana. Peter ended up scaring them off right after giving them some chocolate. After a quick bite to eat we were back on our way to our 2nd overnight location, Tawhitokino. Why did we choose these spots? They were only accessible  by water.
 On our way there, the skies opened up and it rained pretty good for 30 minutes. Once we got to the campsite, we didn't want to get out of the kayaks as it only took us about 2.5 hrs to travel the 24kms. We ended up playing a bit in the kayaks and with the camera.
On the beach was the remains of a fire that Mia nursed back while the rest of us set up camp. I ended up losing my sunglasses at some point here. We all hung up our rain gear and started playing card games. This went on for a good while. We then walked up and down the beach. We then gathered around the fire and talked about random things. It was well into the evening when we finally ate. I crawled into bed not that much later. We packed up early the next morning and made our way to Tapapakanga Regional Park where Banu's car was waiting for us. Peter, Banafshe, Banu, and I headed back to Duder to pick up our cars. We stopped to have the first of 3 pies in Clevedon. We got back to Mia and Todd who helped to mount up the kayaks. From there we started back to Auckland. Pete and I went back to Duder where he nursed the White Pearl down the highway before abandoning it on the roadside. We made it Papakura and had 2 more pies. Peter called a local shop to get it towed and looked at. Sadly, the White Pearl is on its last legs. Returning the kayaks was uneventful and now we are planning the next adventure, The Nugget.

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