#18 - two day kayak trip for new years!

Abel Tasman Travel Blog

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Our boat being pulled by a tractor to the ater.
*****DAY TWENTY-NINE (WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31st) - RINGING IN NEW YEARS IN ABEL TASMAN*****
I arrived at Abel Tasman Kayaks not really knowing what to expect.  I was put into a group with 6 other kayakers & our guide, Adrien.  We all introduced ourselves & got our safety briefing & sorted out all our equipment.  From the beginning, I was excited about the group that I would be kayaking with - everyone seemed so nice.  There was Nina & Conner (on their honeymoon from New York), Aaron & Louise (a.k.a. Taffy & Bluebelle - from Whales & England respectively..they are living in NZ for 2 yrs), Jamie (from Queenstown), Calium (from Ozzie) and Adrien (our guide from NZ).   There was supposed to be one other person on the trip, but she was a no-show.
That's me. :)
  SO, I actually think I lucked out because then I was paired with Adrien in a kayak!  So great to be on the boat with the guide.  :)
The whole process was very impressive!  They loaded us & all of our equipment onto a boat that was attached to a tractor that drove us out to the water.  We then got all our kayaks attached to the back of the boat & then we were off on a 45-minute boat ride to the top of the park at Totaranui.  That's where we started our trip!  The weather was a bit iffy in the morning as we made our way down the coast to our lunch stop.  We had a yummy sandwich lunch (I was so impressed with ALL the food on this trip - you will see pictures of everything we ate because it all was so delicious I was very into taking pictures of it) and then we were off.
Conor, Louise, Aaron & Nina.
   The weather wasn't actually that great for the rest of the afternoon!  The water got SUPER rough and at first, I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about it.  We were going over these huge waves & I was envisioning us tipping over!  Adrien said there was no way we would tip over, but he admitted to me later that there were a couple times when he was a bit nervous.  I'm glad he didn't say that to me when we were on the boat!  Then,  to add to the excitement of the crazy waves, it started to rain.  By that point I was soaked anyway so it really didn't matter.  I actually found the whole thing rather amusing!  And the waves were actually a lot of fun.  :)
We made our way to our campground & Adrien & the guys got a tarp set up & we got our tents set up *just* in time because the rain started to really come down!  We were all pretty much soaked, so we got into dry clothes, got some warm drinks and DEVOURED a couple bags of chips under our tarp.
The whole group!
 
We ended up having such a fun evening.  Aaron & Louise had brought some cards with them so we all played "Up the River, Down the River" for awhile.  Very fun game!  We played for awhile until Adrien arrived with our dinner.  Oh my gosh - it was so impressive.  We had this delicious chicken stir fry!  And then dessert was this yummy cake with fruit and cream.  We were on the luxury camping trip after all!  :)
Then, after dinner - it was so cool....the rain cleared up and we saw a gorgeous rainbow over the water!!!  So perfect!!! 
We spent the rest of the evening alternating between playing cards & standing on the beach competing for how many shooting stars we could see.  Aaron was definitely the big winner of the evening (Aaron - are you happy now that I declared it to the world?!?  :) )  We had some wine & beer to celebrate the New Year.
Briazz!!!
...but I think Calium actually did most of the celebrating for all of us.  He definitely got his drink on & ended up being some of the major entertainment of the evening.
Here are some of the top quotes from the evening:
1)  That was very, very.....(long pause).....nice........I was going to say exshquishite, or something like that, but I knew it wouldn't come out right (Calium commented on the dinner)
2)  Can someone take the lid off this wine bottle?  (Calium trying to pour a wine bottle that we had used for a candle, so the candle was stuck in the top & the bottle was empty)
3)  Technically, I wasn't playing attentiong (Calium during one of our card games)
4)  Milo's good for you.......alcohol's not (Calium commenting on someone wanting Milo)
5)  Who the hell is this Michelle person?  (Calium said this when someone said something about me)
Some other memories of the evening were when we were sharing camping stories that involved bears.
Happy 2009!!!! (see that in the lower right-hand corner?!?)
  I don't know if I will be able to explain this well, but we were talking about how sometimes when you see bears you have to play dead....and other bears you have to be big.  So, we were laughing at what you would do if you didn't know what type of bear it was.  Play dead....big big....play dead...oh, just be big and dead.  We had a good laugh over that.
Also, I think there will be a new word added to my vocabulary from the trip.....LUSH!  That was definitely one of Aaron's favorite words.  :)
It was such a hilarious evening - he defintiely kept us laughing & I was a great sport about it the next day as well.
We all rung in the New Year on the beach by doing a countdown & then singing Auld Lang Syne (how the heck to you spell that?)!  Such a great way to end 2008 and welcome in 2009!  I was definitely thinking of all my family & friends back home as well & wishing everyone a very happy, healthy and joyful new year!  :)

*****DAY THIRTY (THURSDAY, JANUARY 1st, 2009!) - WHAT A WAY TO START THE YEAR!*****
We woke up to a GORGEOUS day!!  Woo hooo!!!! 
Brekkie was AMAZING!  Adrien made us french toast, bacon & grilled banana.
January 1st, 2009!
  It was defintiely LUSH.  :)

Kayaking today was a TOTALLY different story than the day before!  It was clear and sparkling and alternating between gorgeous greens & blues depending on where we were.  We saw a TON of seals on the rocks & especially loved it when we got to see the little seal pups!  We toured around a bunch of cool inlets & estuaries & had lunch on a GORGEOUS beach.  It was hot, hot, hot today & just so different than the rough, rainy day we had yesterday.  The perfect way to start the new year!  And Adrien told us that were the definitely the BEST group he's had of 2009.  Ha ha.  :) 

I think we were all sad to end the trip!  Not that I could have kayaked much more, to be honest.
I had to do one! :)
...but we all really clicked and enjoyed each other's company.  We actually had so much fun - the folks who were still going to be around planned to meet up for dinner in Nelson later that evening!

Jamie gave me a ride back to Nelson (THANK YOU SO MUCH JAMIE!  That was SOOOO much better than having to be shoved on a bus back to Nelson!) & then Aaron, Louise & Adrien met us in town.  We went to Chokdee - a delicious Thai restaurant & then went across the street to the Lone Star for a beer (I am loving the Steinlager Pure!).  And now I have all these recommendations for beers I need to try - Radler, Speights Summit & Menteith's Summer Ale...oh and Ginger Tom at Dux de Lux in Christchurch.
Best group of 2009 EVER! Jamie, Nina, Conor, me, Aaron, Calium, Louise & Adrien (in the front)
   Anyway, it was nice to hang out some more with our ATK group & a perfect way to end the trip.

Thanks Adrien for a LUSH trip & thanks to everyone in our group who made it such a fun & memorable experience! 

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Our boat being pulled by a tractor…
Our boat being pulled by a tracto…
Thats me.  :)
That's me. :)
Conor, Louise, Aaron & Nina.
Conor, Louise, Aaron & Nina.
The whole group!
The whole group!
Briazz!!!
Briazz!!!
Happy 2009!!!! (see that in the lo…
Happy 2009!!!! (see that in the l…
January 1st, 2009!
January 1st, 2009!
I had to do one!  :)
I had to do one! :)
Best group of 2009 EVER!  Jamie, N…
Best group of 2009 EVER! Jamie, …
Meeting the group.
Meeting the group.
Jamie, Conor, Kim, with Louise & A…
Jamie, Conor, Kim, with Louise & …
Adrien, our guide.
Adrien, our guide.
Our lunch stop.
Our lunch stop.
Conor & Kim.
Conor & Kim.
Aaron & Louise.
Aaron & Louise.
Adrien setting up our lunch & Aaro…
Adrien setting up our lunch & Aar…
Aaron & Louise.
Aaron & Louise.
Check out the clouds!  Oy!
Check out the clouds! Oy!
Adrien & me!
Adrien & me!
Self-portrait kayaking.
Self-portrait kayaking.
So cute - little seal pups!
So cute - little seal pups!
Mama & baby seal.
Mama & baby seal.
My tent!
My tent!
Best snack EVER!
Best snack EVER!
YUM!  Dessert - cake, cream & fres…
YUM! Dessert - cake, cream & fre…
Chicken stir-fry dinner, courtesy …
Chicken stir-fry dinner, courtesy…
A shot of our table.  :)  Doesnt …
A shot of our table. :) Doesn't…
Where all our meals were prepared!
Where all our meals were prepared!
Aaron doing the sun dance.  It wor…
Aaron doing the sun dance. It wo…
:)
:)
Such a gorgeous evening!
Such a gorgeous evening!
Thats me at night in the campgrou…
That's me at night in the campgro…
I think this was the beginning of …
I think this was the beginning of…
Yummmm- breakfast!
Yummmm- breakfast!
Calium & Jamie (notice that Calium…
Calium & Jamie (notice that Caliu…
Adrien & me. :)
Adrien & me. :)
Nina & Conor.
Nina & Conor.
Bluebelle & Taffy
Bluebelle & Taffy
Awwww.
Awwww.
This is where we stopped for lunch.
This is where we stopped for lunch.
Lunch!  Yum!
Lunch! Yum!
Our water taxi.
Our water taxi.
Anchorage - our final destination.
Anchorage - our final destination.
LUSH!
LUSH!
The tractor that took us out of th…
The tractor that took us out of t…
Another tractor picture, courtesy …
Another tractor picture, courtesy…
And another tractor picture, court…
And another tractor picture, cour…
Sharing a drink back in Nelson - L…
Sharing a drink back in Nelson - …
Abel Tasman
photo by: Morle