New Zealand 2003 travel blog

Moody waters

Hiding in the cave

Around Elizabeth Island

Sailing Home

Ninja Starjumps

Maupo Island

We slept very well (after we had exterminated any flies in the tent) and we were up at 7am. It had rained overnight and was still very wet, but we were told that this was one of the best times to see the Sounds, when the rain is falling and water is cascading down the side of the mountains.

Bevan was absolutely right. Once we were packed up and back out on the water, it was really magical to be paddling in the rain. The raindrops hit the flat water and sat in little beads on the surface. Up above, the peaks poked their heads through the mist and the water thundered down the rock in hundreds of waterfalls and rivulets. It was really impressive. However, it was very wet and it was a good job we brought a waterproof camera.

We had plenty of time today, so we decided to go around Elizabeth Island and then return, hopefully with the wind behind us. The waters were more choppy around the head of the island but once around the corner the wind was sufficient for us all to raft together and get the sail up. The wind didn't last long but we got some way back up the sound before paddling into a bay and having lunch. It was raining hard now so we set up a tarpaulin and did some of Bevan's ninja starjumps to keep warm.

We then leisurely paddled back to the start in Deep Cove, first hitching a ride on the strong current of the tailrace from the power station. Out of the kayaks, it took us a while to get everything put away and changed back into dry clothes, then we drove back over Wilmots Pass to Lake Manapouri.

It had been a great two day trip and we definitely had the weather the right way round - dry the first day, wet the second. The scenery was stunning and we couldn't have wished for a better way to have seen the Sound. We couldn't stand the idea of doing one of the cruises that you see going up and down - kayaking is a much more intimate way to experience these places. We should definitely do some more when we get back.

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