Kayaking around the Hauraki Gulf

5-6th Jan 2004.

With a couple of days to spare Jason and his crazy dad got the Kayaks out of the garage, packed some tinned food (unknown to Jason who likens tinned food to dog food), sleeping bags and paddled towards the horizon from Auckland's North Shore.

First stop on the horizon is the volcanic island of Rangitoto. After an hours paddle from Takapuna the 4 odd kilometres were finished. We had already seen penguins and a stack of fisherman all jestering "where are the fish?"

This photo is taken from the eastern side of Motatapu Island looking back West toward Rangitoto. The paddle of several hours had started to break Jason who is not particularly fit at the moment.

The rocks in the foreground had provided us with the mussles for dinner. It's is nice to live of the land but we have noticed how the stocks of mussels have been depleted in recent years.... and there were a lot of complaining fisherman with no fish.

On the walk back to the kayaks we found a large group of wild turkeys and engaged in conversation. Jason gobbled at them and they gobbled back much to dads surprise.

Another hours paddle against the tide took us around the back of Rakino Island for an impromptu cuppa. Thanks to Trevor and Rene for their hospitality and 2 top cups of tea. We then went for a walk around the island met a few of the locals and were very quickly up to date with building issues and the new Auckland regional council tax, before another top island couple pulled over and gave us a lift back to the kayaks.... Rakino is the worlds friendliest island.

Another half hour paddle into the wind we arrived at camp on the back of Motatapu Island around 7pm.

After a 4 course dinner of:

Fruit Salad (tinned),

Beef, potatoes and vegetables (tinned),

Beef curry (tinned), and

Chilli, Garlic, Fennel (growing wild on the island), Mussels (from the rocks) and noodles, we fell into the tent exhausted and totally stuffed.

The moon rose and shimmered on the ocean. There was no one for miles around and then the only noise was the ocean lapping next to our tent, and Jason's bottom from the tinned food.

Breakfast the next day was the 2 packets of noddles we had left after the big dinner the night before.... it was the last of the food and it didn't come from a tin.... but we did have about 5 hours solid paddle into the wind to get home.

The Oyster Catchers (birds) still seem to be surviving but we didn't see a lot if fish or find as many mussels as we wanted.

Hungry and thirsty we arrived at the wharf at Rangitoto Island in the afternoon. Jason had survived this leg convinced that the large ferrys that arrive during the day would of driven enough demand to open a shop. He was so convinced he bet his dad that they would be eating meat pies for lunch.....

With no shop, we were left to go hungry and the "old man" made fresh air pie jokes all the way back to Birkenhead.

The worst leg of the trip was the paddle up the inner harbour into 30 knot winds and 1 metre swells. We were shattered by the time we got back.

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