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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Cockpits full of rain and Annie's fruit bars
Friday, February 29, 2008

Still here, horrendous wind and rain. Cockpits full of rain. Best part of the day was eating stewed Annie's Fruit Bars and Porridge - yum! Hope for southerly wind tomorrow. Good fire in hut.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Passed 1000km mark and running out of toothpaste
Thursday, February 28, 2008

Rest day, lots of wind and rain. Eating lots. Reached the 1002km mark yesterday! Hope to get to Milford Sound in two paddling days but the weather will decide. Nearly run out of toothpaste...

[alex on behalf of jc]

Neck Cove after 72km hop
Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Light winds and a sunny day helped us cover 72km to reach Neck Cove. Stunning views along the way including dolphins. Tired not but in comfy hut. Due to be strong northerly windws again tomorrow so good to have covered the distance today.

S45°11.58' E166°58.48'

[alex on behalf of jc]

Retreat Retreat!
Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How unlucky?! Only managed 13km today!Paddled to fjord exit but NW wind was too strong, so came back to same place. Put tent up in small hut on barge. We need the tent because of the hoards of sandflies. And it's still raining!

Sunday Cove
Monday, February 25, 2008

Reached Sunday Cove after 35km paddle. Wind was behind us as we went east, and against us as we went north. Raining all day but in a beautiful steep Fjord. On a moored barge for the night.

S45°46.154' E166°31.06'

[alex on behalf of jc]

Barry catches tiddler
Sunday, February 24, 2008

Went fishing with new friends this afternoon. Barry caught a 15kg Grouper! We're about to eat it. Had crayfish first. Really fun day. Happy birthday to Barry's mum and son Adam.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Crayfish with divers

Reached Dusky!But not without a fight. Covered 17km. Looked calm at first but then the headwind increased to force 7, 35knts. Very slow and hard progress. On a boat eating crayfish with divers! Sleeping here.

S45°46.15' E166°31.06'

[alex on behalf of jc]

Surviving on whale carrion?
Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not quite dusk yet. Up at 5am, there was a storm due so we decided to try a dash. Had a calm 3 hours before the wind started. Landed in Lee Bay. It's wild here now. Though we're unlikely to starve as there is a dead whale on the beach!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Landing Bay - calm before the storm?
Friday, February 22, 2008

S45°59.94' E166°28.14'

Landing Bay after 25km calm day. Didn't push the 30km more today because strong NE wind due and Justine not feeling 100%. Could be stormy tomorrow, or early rise in order!

[alex on behalf of jc]

First day back on water and its a doozy!
Thursday, February 21, 2008

S46°08.58' E166°37.76'

Rounded Pyusegur Point, hurrah! Covered 70km in 12hrs! Tired, but rare low wind and swell prompted us to take our chance. In hut in stunning fjord. Lie in called for tomorrow!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Champing at the bit
Wednesday, February 20, 2008

This just in from satellite phone again!:

Give me a kayak any day! 6hr walk down lovely coastline. Sore hips but energy back! Fueled by great cake from Jaqui. Back in schoolhouse. Will paddle first chance we get.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Reversing the backwards progress
Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Paul Caffyn phoned Barry and I up here shortly after we arrived back in Riverton and kindly pointed out that we'd actually gone over 50km backwards this week! Tomorrow we start to nudge back in the right direction. The Andersons have been fantastic and they are kindly driving us to where the road ends tomorrow and then we're going to walk about 20km back to Port Craig along a marked trail. We could have paid for a helicopter ride and taken about 6 minutes to get there, but the weather is looking windy for a while yet and the walk is meant to be beautiful. It will also be a good test for how well I'm recovered. I'd rather test myself out on a fairly flat walk where I can stop at any time, than run out of energy on a committing 50km paddle in 4 metre plus swells! I'm actually feeling so much better today, with 100 times more energy so hopefully I'm pretty much recovered. I still took it fairly easy today, enjoying chatting to Tim & Sarah in their lovely garden in the sunshine and generally relaxing. Barry and I cycled into town for some groceries and cooked a meal tonight ( a small return for all the delicious meals we've been given here). Thanks again to the Andersons for loaning us the delightful ( but safe!) helmets!

Barry also has been great looking after me. I'm trying to milk it for one more day but I think he's on to me!

The weather isn't looking too good for a while but at least when we're at Port Craig we can be ready to make the most of any small break in it to inch forwards. Ahead of us lies about 300km of roadless wilderness that is Fjordland. It's probably the most beautiful stretch of coastline that we'll paddle and also the most committing as the nasty weather from the SW hits it first. I think we're just about ready to have a crack at it!!

Recovery in Riverton
Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm feeling much better today, although I'm still low on energy. A 10min walk to an ice-cream shop was as much as I exerted myself and it was enough! Co-incidentally the weather has been mostly terrible while I've been sick and we wouldn't have made much progress anyway, but tomorrow the winds are dying down ( although the swell will still be about 5 metres from the SW!), Wed and Thursday could be light winds with reducing swell so it's a very good opportunity. However, it's already Monday night and I'm not sure if I'm up to getting back to Port Craig tomorrow and paddling the next day. I'm off to bed now and we'll decide in the morning. Thank you so much to Tim, Jacqui, Sarah and Ruby for looking after us so well. We also had Peter, Belinda and Dana for dinner tonight which was great. more fantastic food! Thanks everyone for all the comments on the blog.

I've uploaded our GPS routes from onto day 8 - day 14 if you want to see where we paddled. you can click on the image, switch from a map to a sat photo, zoom in etc. For some reason which I'm not sure yet the times were were on the water are recorded as too long on most days so our average speed etc is wrong a lot of the time. I'm not sure yet why that is. If we don't leave tomorrow and I get time then I'll upload the maps for the other days tomorrow.

Helicopter Evacuation
Sunday, February 17, 2008

We're both fine ( don't worry mum!), but yesterday Justine was helicoptered out of Port Craig to Invercargil hopsital, with Barry coming for support. This is Justine writing and I've been feeling really low on energy, with a very sore back and getting fevery. I've been struggling to eat and often feeling sick. On our 2nd night in the old school house at Port Craig I woke up at 3am freezing and I just couldn't get warm, even with layers of clothes and Barry's sleeping bag aswell as my own. I was so cold I was shivering uncontrolably which put my sore back into spasm. A hot chocolate with extra sugar and honey sorted me out but over the next couple of days I'd constantly swing from being really cold to really hot and sweaty. Walking a hundred metres would wipe me out. There was obviously something serious wrong so we phoned Dr Bob Mark, a UK doctor ( and seakayaker) who agreed to be on the end of a phone for us if we had a medical problem in a remote place. After chatting to him about all my symptoms he diagnosed me to start taking antibiotics ( which we had with us courtesy of another doctor seakayaking friend Suzanna Gaynor). I immediately started taking these but 24 hours later I was feeling even worse, my breathing was really heavy and laboured and I was really week. Barry went to fetch Faye, a nurse staying a the nextdoor hut and she recommended that I get taken to hospital as she was worried that my laboured breathing meant there might be something else wrong aswell. so an hour later we were on a helicopter with a nurse and a paramedic and 20 mins later we landed at the helipad outside Invercargil hospital. The hospital staff were great and after various tests and measurements they diagnosed that I 'just' had a bad infection, I was on the right anti-biotics and I should start to feel better within 24 to 48 hours. They discharged me about 11pm and Tim Anderson, who we stayed with before in Riverton, kindly picked us up from the hospital and brought us back to his house again to recover in more luxury. It's the next afternoon now and I'm feeling much better - still a bit weak but I am starting to want to get back on the water and continue our trip. Our kayaks and kit is still at Port Craig which is a 17km hike from the nearest road, so our next adventure will be getting back there! The earliest we might paddle is Tuesday, we'll see how it goes.


Day 21 - Holed up in Port Craig Still
Friday, February 15, 2008

Still holed up in Port Craig! Strong South Westerly winds and Justine feeling weak with sore back and low energy. Slept lots and being trying to eat lots too. May be here one or two more days. Good weather is due on Monday.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 20 - Day Off, Helicopters and Viaducts
Thursday, February 14, 2008

Day 20 sees a much needed day off. Got a lift in a helicopter to an old viaduct! Justines back is a bit sore, hope it's OK tomorrow. Southerly winds today. Need a good day for the 50km exposed dash 2 Green Islets. Staying in a hut, would be very comfy without the sand flies!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 19 - Port Craig
Wednesday, February 13, 2008

S46°13.15' E167°21.76'

49km paddling against a weak headwind finds us at Port Craig. Another calm day, saw lots of birds. Staying in a nice hut tonight.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 18 - Colac Bay
Tuesday, February 12, 2008

S46°22.77' E167°53.10'

Stopped at Colac Bay after 50km paddle. Calm day with lots of tide at the start. Staying with Tim and Jack so able to have great bath and lots of nice food!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Spoilt rotten in Riverton


We were sad to say goodbye to Meri and her husband Ian in Bluff this morning, they were lovely people, great fun and very kind - doing a great service to the seafaring community. We lingered for longer than intended but still caught a lot of the ebb tide west, travelling the first 20km at almost 5 knots. There is always some swell in NZ but today it wasn't much, a few feet from a few different directions and we made good progress towards Colac Bay. We landed around 3pm and phoned up Tim an Jacqui Anderson, local kayakers just down the road in Riverton. They immediately came and picked us up, drove us to the supermarket so we could buy the last few supplies before leaving the road system and heading into the sounds, then they brought us home to their lovely house with beautiful relaxing garden. We've been thoroughly spoilt with a hot bath, lots of hot drinks, a delicious dinner and a banoffee pie to die for. Freya and Babs stayed here too, so you'd think they'd be sick of looking after foreign kayakers by now, but they have been incredibly friendly and helpful, as have so many Kiwis that we've met.

The forecast isn't so good for tomorrow, westerly winds will slow us down but they aren't meant to be that strong so we're hoping to do another approx 50km day to Port Craig or perhaps a little peninsula a little further south ( and less 'out of the way'), but a little less protected. We shall see what the weather allows!

More photos
Monday, February 11, 2008

hurrah! A day off after 6 days on the water in a row. The mission for the day is to catch up on sleep and build up Barry!! Those people that know Baz will know he's not exactly fat, so although we are eating well, what few extra pounds that he has have been used up on long days of paddling. A hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast this morning, has been followed by meat pies, chocolate brownies and fruit. Later on we'll have fish and chips and ice cream! And we even bought some guiness ... for the iron, you understand! We're off to see Meri now and film her doing one of her radio buletins for the fisherman. Then it's probably back to sleep, hopefully we'll paddle again tomorrow, although we haven't checked the forecast yet.


Safe and sound in Bluff
Sunday, February 10, 2008


We landed in Bluff harbour before around 12.30 this afternoon, really glad for an early finish and the knowledge that we have at least a day and a half to rest, chill out, and prepare ourselves for the next stretch. Around the south coast the tide is much stronger than on the East coast; yesterday we had it against us for most of the day and today we got up early to try to ride the ebb tide into Bluff. It worked and we cruised along at almost 11km/ hour for a while, averaging over 8km/hour over the 40km journey. It was a grey fresh morning, a lazy south easterly giving us a bit of a helping shove aswell. Amazingly as we got within 2km of Bluff, we spotted a kayak coming out towards us. It turned out to be Sam, a Kiwi who is just starting his attempt to kayak up the East coast of the South and North Islands. You can follow his progress too, I think on ( although he said the website isn't up yet)

We tried to use our ICOM VHF to call up 'Good as Gold Meri',a Bluff legend who reportedly never goes anywhere without her VHF which she uses to give weather reports to fishermen, kayakers and anyone else out there. We didn't get through, but co-incidentally Meri was looking out her window as we turned up and she came to greet us ( radio in hand) as we landed on the beach. Her and her husband Ian drove us to a campsite where we are cosily set up in a cabin ( the same one that Freya stayed in, as it happens!), and we've washed everything - clothes, and bodies! 3 showers in 16 days, we'll go soft if we're not careful!

So many stories over the last few days - Moeraki was great,it was lovely to see Ian ( who Barry went to school with many years ago!!), and thanks to him for bringing us a few bits and pieces down. Fleur's resaturant is truely wonderful - it's right on the sea and all the fish is fresh caught and only washed by seawater. We had wonderful green lipped muscles, gurnard and moki with Ian, then the next evening Fleur invited Barry and I to come and have dinner with the staff. We enjoyed chatting to everyone, especiallY Sue and Joe. Thanks to Sue for securing the remains of the 'staff dinner' for us!! We enjoyed tucking into the potatoes and chicken on the water for lunch the next day. We stayed in the restaurant quite late chatting to various people, in particular John from the tourist board in Wanaka. At the risk of making us sound like greedy pigs, we'd like to thank John for the remains of his dinner!! which we polished off for him that evening!!

A few other highlights were having an albatross (actually it as a shy mollymawk) land a few metres away from us and drift to within a paddle length away, then sit and preen itself. I think it was a female as Barry paddled off and I stayed filming for a while, then the mollymawk flew off and landed for a second time a few metres away from Barry! Either that, or I smell worse?

Many people have been really kind to us and we've really enjoyed meeting a lots of different people. When we landed at Taieri river mouth, we impulsively decided to get a lift 30km into Dunedin to buy some more food as we were running short of a few things. Getting a ride back with a heavy IKEA bag full of shopping proved a bit more tricky - we got 2 short rides then walked about 4km ( after paddling 50km!). no-one was picking us up and eventually with the sun about to set and still 15km away, Barry asked a man in his garden if he could order us a taxi. Alan went one better and drove us back to our tent himself. Thank you so much! Once we were back, Nathan filled up our MSR water bags and charged some batteries for us, aswell as giving us some new potatoes that we scoffed for breakfast, alongside fried eggs.

As we approached Nugget Point, we looked in vain for a breakwater which we'd read about in our 1971 NZ pilot. We couldn't see it so we took on 3foot surf in a sandy bay. We walked up the hill to a house with an amazing view, where an artist Janice gave us a cup of tea and a chat and pointing out the old breakwater just a few hundred metres north of where we'd landed! The next morning she brought us a museli bar each and waved us on our way.

The next day to Tautuku Peninsula was 'a short day' at only 40km. The conditions were good with the wind behind us so we felt a bit guilty not going further on but the previous days had all been pretty long without much time to relax and enjoy our surroundings so we decided to head for the protected bay and have some quality time on land. The peninsula is full of cottages, 'cribs' or 'batches' as they call them here and they were pretty much deserted when we arrived. But at low tide that evening, a couple of cars drove there through a small river. Richie and Kate took us in for a beer and drove us to a yellow eyed penguin colony where we got pretty close, without disturbing them.

We'll try to write a bit more tomorrow and post a few more photos, plus upload the GPS tracks that our Garmin GPS has been recording every day. Right now, fish and chips are calling once agaiN!

Day 15 - Waipapa against the tide
Saturday, February 09, 2008

S46°39.38' E168°50.73'

Camping at Waipapa Point on the Catlins Coast. Paddled 52km with tide against us most of the day. There were tide races round the headlands. An Albatross landed only 1m away from the kayaks. Was a colder day today with low cloud. Hoping to reach Bluff tomorrow if good weather.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 14 - Tautuku Peninsula
Friday, February 08, 2008

S46°36.03' E169°26.15'

Arrived on the Tuatuku Peninsula after 38km paddle with lots of surfing. Nearly wiped out by a breaking wave off Nugget Point shortly after setting out. Albatross came very close. Had a good landing.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 13 - Nugget Point
Thursday, February 07, 2008

S46°26.43' E169°47.91'

Arrived at Nugget Point after 8 hours and 59km paddling. Lots of fast surfing, conditions were quite rough. Looked for the breakwater at Nugget Point but couldn't find it so landed on a pretty beach through small surf.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 12 - Taieri Mouth
Wednesday, February 06, 2008

S46°03.33' E170°11.74'

Covered 48km on what was a hot and surprisingly calm day today. Launched through small surf, but had a sheltered landing in the mouth of the Taieri River.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 11 - Otago Peninsula
Tuesday, February 05, 2008

S45°52.5' E170°42.93'

Partway down the Otago peninsula. Travelled 68km with a following wind. Sea was rough! Landed on a great beach with penguins and even an elephant seal.

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 10 - Day of rest
Monday, February 04, 2008

Had a rest day today. Nice friend Ian visited and had a lovely tea at Fleurs Restaurant. Going back for staff tea tonight. Hoping to paddle tomorrow with renewed energy.

Day 9 - Half Day from Moeraki Harbour
Sunday, February 03, 2008

S45°21.60' E170°51.06'

Now 32km from Moeraki Harbour. Wind with swell behind and more southerly winds due. Stretch coming up with no good landings for quite some distance so will probably put in a half day. Likely to rest tomorrow. Campsite pretty, paddlers tired!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Day 8 - Arriving at Omura

S45°06.41' E170°58.08'

Arrived at Omura after 51km of paddling. Had headwind in the morning and surf in the afternoon. Staying at Jodi's house. Windy and cold!

[alex on behalf of jc]

Homeless Sea Urchins
Saturday, February 02, 2008

'Homeless sea urchins' is what we were called by Jodi, an Omaru local who witnessed 2 bedragled kayakers dripping their way across the road to the Omaru rowing and fitness club, hoping for permission to camp outside and maybe even a shower! We got the shower, and even better she's taken us into her home, and she's even left us here while she's gone to work. Jodi works at the local whisky distillery and pub so we're going to visit her a bit later, just to be polite of course!

Today was just as Karel's forecast predicted, SE force 2 winds in the morning, swinging round to an Easterly F3, then a North Easterly which kept getting stronger. As we were heading south and then SW, we considered having a later start this morning and hoping the forecast would be right, but since we had 50km ahead of us, we played it safe and got up at the usual time of 6am and got on the water before 8. The first 3 hours were painfully slow and I wished we'd had an extra hour or 2 in bed; even a small headwind combined with a swell against us slowed us right down to 5.5km/hour, but as the wind swung round we gradually picked up speed and ended up surfing into Omaru harbour with a Force 5 pushing us along nicely.

Yesterday from Timaru was pretty eventful. It was pretty windless all day, with the odd Southwesterly gust which lasted about 10mins, but the clouds definately looked very ominous, big grey swirls in odd shapes that we'd never seen before. The pressure was steady but we paddled pretty hard, waiting for the predicted southerly. After 39km, the wind instantly picked up to a Force 6/7, sending spray flying and creating choppy waves for us to bounce through. Typically, we were half way along a 5km lagoon, where a narrow spit of gravel separated the sea from more water. There was absolutely no shelter along it that we could see, and we didn't fancy putting a tent up there. We weren't keen to go back so we battled on for an hour, making almost 3km progress towards some trees. After an hour of hard work, we were both pretty knackered, the trees were still about 2km away but we spotted some low bushes on the top of the beach and we figured we must just about be past the end of the lagoon. Landing didn't look fun, with a confused swell of a couple of metres slamming vertically into the beach. We put our helmets on and Barry went first this time. He tried to surf in on the back of a wave but it didn't take him far enough up the beach and the next wave sucked him back into it, broke on him and then surged him up the beach. He jumped out, pulled his boat up then came back to help me. I also failed to surf the back of a wave in and the next wave broke vertically on me and almost looped my kayak. I leant into the wave and it spun the kayak around 270 degrees and shoved me up the beach. Baz grabbed the kayak and started pulling. I jumped out to help and straight away got knocked over by the next wave,,, and the next one! All in all, quite eventful! But fortunately, we realised that we had landed within 30 metres of the end of the lagoon, right besides a line of trees which offered shelter from the wind. As the rain started, we hid in the tent, slept a bit, cooked dinner and slept some more!

you can see some new maps with blue lines on, on the blog. These are our actual GPS tracks for previous days. We aim to put these up for every day, thanks to one of our sponsors, Sanoodi. You can zoom in or out of them, view the satelite image or the map, and get more details about our speed, time on the water etc by clicking on the 'more info' tab at the bottom.

Day 7 - Turns into epic battle to reach shelter
Friday, February 01, 2008

S44°42.74' E171°10.01'

After 5 hours of total calm, the wind suddenly blew up to force 7 right on the nose. Had to battle the last 3km to reach shelter. Covered 42km total, and now resting in the tent, in the rain.

[alex on behalf of jc]

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