‘You’re so in sync but you’re not going anywhere’ – Abel Tasman sea kayaking

21st August

Today we tried freedom sea kayaking. So without an instructor, two virgin kayakers, were let loose in the sea secured into a small plastic boat. Alone. Exactly why, we were still unsure and became steadily more unsure the more our instructor talked us through capsizing, drifting, currents and flares…


Before we even set off Flo and my boat broke so we happily skipped into the next one. After paddling out into the blisteringly cold sea in waterproof everything, we quickly discovered our rudder was broken and we were drifting out to sea. Panic not, it was fixed with some string pulled off the trailer. Or so we were told. Off drives the instructor, off we continue drifting out into open waters desperately paddling to the left. Some kind stranger clearly saw the struggle and came to our rescue and this time our rudder was actually fixed.


Paddling desperately between the islands. Meanwhile drifting to the right


We decided to kayak to Adele Island which is a predator free island and so a haven for native New Zealand birds. It took about 45 minutes and so by the time we beached ourselves we were pretty smug that we had survived and made it to our destination with only minor issues. The bird paradise where we landed didn’t share its amazing wildlife with us and we saw only a few seagulls and cormorants. The views, however, more than made up for the lack of birds.


We were soon joined by the other kayakers in our group, Anita, Alex, and Harry. This was possibly the best thing that could happen to us. We found out pretty quickly that Flo and I didn’t have the required skills to secure ourselves into our kayak with the suction spray skirts and get back out to sea. With some man power we managed it.


We paddled round to the other side of the island where we’d been told we’d see seals. We were not disappointed. Although our photo may just look like a pile of rocks if you look closely enough there are actually some sleeping seals.


Flo and I then separated from the group and decided to have lunch on a nearby beach. Big mistake. We figured that if we managed to beach ourselves then we could happily eat lunch without having to get out of the kayak and therefore avoid the kerfuffle of getting back in… A failed beaching, a near miss of underwater rocks, a very wet dry box and an overly inquisitive bumblebee meant that we changed our plans and caught up with the others.



After lunch we all headed home as a group. Although our beautifully in sync paddling was ‘aesthetically pleasing’, paddling against the smallest of currents we soon realised we were actually going nowhere and we soon became the target of kayak bumper cars.


Somehow we made it back unscathed. Logan, the absolute star who worked at the hostel, took pity on us when he saw our powdered milk tea and buttered toast. He returned to the kitchen with a Tupperware box of his leftovers and practically pleaded with us to eat something. We love this man and will miss him dearly.


After dinner came the drinking games, although there was a distinct lack of alcohol so truths and dares were used as a worthy replacement. We can only say we are leaving tomorrow as a far closer group, knowing more about everyone than we thought possible after only 24 hours.

Richard enjoyed his dare a little too much

Tori x



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