After the Graperide I picked up Craig from Picton and we drove back to Nelson. We met Ellen in the evening and picked up the sea bear (a huge double kayak) with her. We drove slowly over to Motueka and stayed the night there with her and Annu who’d come across from Blenheim.
We left early-ish in great weather from Marahau after packing more than enough food and random stuff into the kayaks. We had the huge sea bear, my single sea kayak and another one from the club that I had rented. I kayaked with Annu in the sea bear and Craig and Ellen tried to keep up in the singles. We stopped at Watering Cove for a snack. Ellen had baked some delicious fruit bread yesterday and it was just what we needed. We swapped boats. It was all sunshine and lollipops. Continuing we kayaked around the coast and up to Mosquito Bay where we came ashore and set up our camp. We’d thrown out Craig’s tent at the last minute as I’d not been sure we’d had enough space. Amusingly we’d had a communication breakdown and Ellen had brought both her tents meaning we still had one each. Oh the luxury.
In the afternoon, at low tide, we went climbing around the island in the mouth of the bay. Then later on we went out again in the kayaks to watch the sunset. We paddled around the coast until we could look out towards Tonga Island. After bobbing around for a bit we returned to camp for dinner and bed.
We kayaked over to Tonga Island in the morning. There we found some baby seals playing in the water. Three or four came up to my boat and checked it out as I tried to film and fend myself off the rocks at the same time. Next we headed up to Shag Harbour. The seals were plentiful there too. The tide was on it’s way out but still full enough that we could kayak into the inlet. In the swift flowing current the seals swam and dived chasing fish.
We debated the idea of continuing to Awaroa but to save our arms we kayaked back to Onetahuti instead. Kayaks were dragged up the golden beach and we sat at a picnic table on the edge of the camp site and ate lunch. After having a nap on the beach we walked down to the other end of it and watched fish from the bridge. Then it was back into the kayaks and we headed back to camp.
Ellen left in the morning and kayaked around the corner to Bark Bay. This left Craig in charge of pancakes. To be fair we didn’t have the best equipment with just his extra-stick aluminium pan.
It was windy as we packed everything up. We set off towards Sandfly Bay. We kayaked up the river and then back out again and along the coast taking in Frenchman’s Bay as the water left the inlet. We continued stopping at Te Pukatea for lunch. The wind had dropped entirely. It looked like it might be raining further inland. We continued around the head land and across towards Marahau on completely still water. The tide was completely out and we landed well away from the road running out of water. It looked like an hour or more of hauling kayaks across the sand to the road but as we stood there one of the guys from the water taxis stopped and told us to throw our kayaks on the back. Awesome. We were very grateful.
Craig and I ferried the Sea Bear back to Ellen’s in Motueka and then came back to pick up the rental. We left Annu to ponder her evening and drove back to Nelson. A nice trip.