Thursday, January 04, 2007

more fun

Above: Jules A on the Perth

Below: Christoph the German on the Styx.

Since my last post i've been a bit busy - also been on the coast so that has sort of precluded getting to the internet with the same frequency that I could in Murch.

After it rained a bit in murch we had some fun running stuff with a little more water - though initially the Glenroy (only vaguely creeky thing in murch area) was a little on the high side (big and brown...). After it dropped a bit we had fun - one day we ran it 7 times!. Greg turned up around this time and we headed to the coast for a couple of days. The first arvo we did the Styx which was good fun - generally read and run III-IV bouldergardens. Its a walk in but this only takes and hour or so. Or 2.5hrs if you dont realise the gate can be opened and you can drive the first half! The german dudes we paddled it with didnt really like the walking bit....

The next day we were going to fly in to the arahura at fairly high flow - unfortunately the visibility was crapola and Dando never turned up (the chopper pilot). They don't use instrumentation to navigate so you can see why being able to see the mountains is important... So we went back to murch. After hanging around in murch for new years, and massively hungover, me and the OEG crew drove to the coast again.

The first day wasn't so crash hot in the boating stakes - we flew in just below the Toraroa canyon, but the level was low and the river crap. Luckily its a short flight (ie. cheap). That arvo we walked in to the styx again, but the level was a bit scratchy - was still fun though.

The next day was fun tho. We did the whitcombe again - probably about the same level as the first time. I 'stepped up' and paddled the rapid that I portaged last time - its actually pretty easy, only one or two strokes required. The consequences of buggering it up are not really worth thinking about but i stayed on line and had a good run down. Sammy and Matt (OEG peoples) also stepped up (simply by getting on the river) - theres nothing in aussie like the Whitcombe and they definitely had a 'wide eyes' day....

Below: Jules on some rapid - i think its called ski ramp or something like that.

Below: Sean Mc on my nemesis rapid....i ran it this time...I dropped in from the top left chute, i think sean made it look nicer tho...

The next day was even acer. When i was thinking about what I wanted to achieve paddling-wise in NZ, my ambition was to paddle the Perth by the time I left. Its a reasonably solid run and I figured i'd be happy if i could get down it at some point. So i was a bit nervous when we actually had it organised and were waiting for the chopper!

The perth is a sweet run - way steep for the first 3 km, then it flattens out for a bit then an awesome canyon-gorgey thingi. Barry Badarse (the dodgy pilot we got) took us in- me, Sean and Jules to the Scone Hut (the top) and Sammy, Tegs and Simon to Five Finger Stream (half way down). Once we got on we had about 1km of easy stuff before the river dropped out of sight. The first bit of V was a run through a nasty hole trying to avoid getting pushed under a massive boulder - we took the sneak down the right - I figured i had a 50/50 chance of making the move and didnt want to get nailed....

Below: Sean Mc on the Perth. As you can see the scenery is pretty good too....

The river kept dropping. And dropping. And dropping. Awesome moves aroudn boulders, avoiding sieves (a sieve is where water flows under boulders - because the stream beds in NZ rivers are so mobile (ie. in floods the boulders move) you get sieves all over the shop - its a good idea to avoid them - if you go in to a sieve you dont usually come out...), drops, drops and more drops.

There were two standout rapids - one called pinballs - it used to be unpaddleable, but because a boulder moved out of the way its good to go now, and another called Knuckle Grinder. Knuckle grinder is an amazing rapid - imagine a rapid about 100m long with 6 or 7 two to three meter drops - its like paddling down a massive staircase! unfortunately my camera wasnt working properly so i didnt get any pics of it. I got a good run down it, but i almost got nailed in a suboptimal place....The second drop has a boulder on the right that the guidebook recomends avoiding people have gone under it in the past - I missed the boof and plugged the hole. However instead of sailing through the hole, i got an end or two before escaping from it's takes a big hole to do this to a creekboat and would have been a bad place to come unstuck.

Below: Sean avoiding the mank on some rapid on the perth.

Below: Sean running the entry move on Pinballs

Just after knuckle grinder we came upon the lunch drybag that the others had left at five finger stream. They were going to wait for us, but given it took us 3hrs ot paddle 3km it wasnt unreasonable that they left before us. We paddled a few km of bouldery III before dropping in to the last gorge. Whilst not that difficult, it was good fun and very pretty - massive boulders and scalloped out cavey things in the gorge walls. No real issues here, but from the end of the last gorge there is still another 10km or so of easy moving water intially on the Perth then on the Whataroa to the take out - we were pretty shagged by the end!

There is a story kicking around about one of the germans (not related to river based carnage for once!) Apparently, when they were waiting for the chopper to fly in to the Whitcombe a couple of days ago, this particular german was getting changed and misplaced his paddling gear. So hes staning in a paddock full of paddlers and cows completely starkers. He asks this aussie guy who he;s paddling with "have you seen my paddling gear?" steve responds "nah mate, but (pointing to some boaters on the other side of the paddock) they might have seen it" so said german wanders over to them (still starkers) and asks turned out it was sitting next to his boat....

today we're in Hoki havign a rest day....


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