Tuesday, January 23, 2007

lower hoki and murchison PLUS bonus mega carnage on the Turnbull

Above: If this is where your boat gets stuck, its probably time to start looking for a new one.

Above: Pete and Laura at our Pirates and Ninjas party

Above: Jen finds her own way down the Lower Hoki

Above: Jen and Tammy (the tampon) on the Lower Hoki

Above: me, styling it up (against the wall) on the Lower Hoki

Above: Cows are a quite common and tasty addition to the NZ landscape.

Above: Jen on the Glenroy

Above: Pete ripping up the Lyell Creek wave on the Buller

Since Pete and Greg turned up we've done a bit of paddling. First up we hung around in Murch for a bit and paddled the Bulller, Matakitaki etc. Then we went to Hoki and flew in to the Lower Hokitikia. This was an exciting day for Jen and Pete. Jen because it was her first fly in and one of the harder/more committing thing's she's paddled and Pete because he paddled it in his C1 RAD... This was a largely successful venture except for a mistimed swim in the rapid above the biggest rapid. Pete got out in time, but his boat ran it without him. It took a bit of time to tidy this little mess up, then we paddled the rest of the run without any dramas. Its a nice little run and a good first fly in.

Above: Loonie surfing on the Lower Hoki

Above: Jen looking stylish on the Lower Hoki

Above: Dando couldn't find anywhere next to the river to land....Lower Hoki

Above: looking concerned at the prospect of being upright, Pete resumes his upsidedown journey

Above: Me on the Glenroy

Above: Greg doing what he does best (?fucking up cars?)

After this We went back to Murchison and paddled the buller etc. for a few more days before coming back to the Coast (seeing a pattern here?) This time we went way way south, to the Turnbull. Having obtained the key, we arrived at the put in with what seemed like flow on the chunky side of good. The first rapid was an indication of what to expect - pushy class IV, bigish holes, places where you didnt want to be. We paddled on down on this style of water for probably 500m, before a massive horizon line warranted a scout. The left channel was a huge class V+ rapid - 50m of steepness with big holes and one solitary eddy before the next bit - more of the same except with a big drop and very narrow line to make. We elected to run the lower volume/more manageable left channel.

Above: When we were in Hoki, bizzarely enough, some carnies broke in to the Caravan park and stole a whole bunch of food. Here I am matching my fingerprints to those on our cheese.

This went fine, however the next rapid provided some issues. Even though we were technically running a sneak line (a 3m drop off a midstream boulder) the hole at the bottom created issues for more than one member of the team. I got a sweet line, but the other 5 more or less plugged it, with Yan and Manfred swimming out.

Above: Manfred chose an interesting place to get out of the water.

Yan's swim was OK, but Manfred got recirculated in to a boily spot where two or three boil lines were converging. He spent a fair bit of time in there bobbing up and down, getting really tired. Eventually he flushed, and drifted in to the lead in of the the next class V rapid... Swimming down a chute at the beginning he got himself on to/pinned to a midstream rock, where we got a throwline to him.

Above: Me on the Turnbull. Peter, Greg and Stefan also avoided swimming here too.

Meanwhile his boat had run the rapid, and a bit later on one of the other guys, who had left his boat on some rocks while we rescued Manfred, found his boat had floated down the rapid too... This was a really sketchy situation and could have gone either way - lucky it all worked out OK.

Above: Shortly before Manfred's demise

After about 5hrs of frigging around on the left bank, the final tally was

2x swims
2x busted boats (including one that was/is still stuck in a rapid downstream)
3x lost paddles

Above: You don't need to use the drainage plug if you split your boat.

lucky for me and greg we had avoided loosing any boats or breaking anything or swimming, so we went back to Greymouth early the next morning to drop pete off.

Yesterday arvo we walked in to the Styx for a paddle - the level was OK - a little on the low side, but the main issue was that with the sun so low in the sky, there was heaps of glare coming off the water and i found it quite difficult to read the rapids....


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