Abel Tasman

The camp like hostel I stayed in at Abel Tasman had the first really clear star views I have seen the whole trip. It was really amazing and the southern cross was out in full view. They were all so bright and clear. I woke up before dawn again and was checked out at about 8. I just can't seem to sleep in here, who am I?

 I went down to the kayak tour place and they told me I had been upgraded because the tour I had booked the night before didn't have anyone else on it, yahoo off season. Instead of doing the first sort of bay section now I was joining a group of four doing a kayak at a bay farther up the coast. Since I was the only solo I ended up tandem with the guide which was not a bad place to be. All of the kayaks were tandems. It was my first tandem kayak and first true sea kayak with the skirt. Everything I had done previously was close enough to shore to not need the skirt. In order to get out to the point where you start kayaking you take an aqua taxi, a boat. A tractor pulls up with the boat in tow and everyone gets in. They then tow you out to sea. When we went out in the morning the tide was pretty low and we drove out to the water, the tractor came in half way with us then let us go. That was a first for sure. I have never seen that done before.

The boat ride was somewhere between 30-45 minutes long. You hop out the back of the boat on shore and the kayaks are there waiting. The weather at the point was even better than where we left from and it just kept getting better and better all day. Our guide was Barnsie. He gave us a short lesson on the skirt and the rest of the equipment. Before long we were off and paddling. The water was an amazing blue green, the rock on shore was a really light limestone which he later told us was limestone but not. Our first goal was to paddle to an island and try to see some seals. I was soaked after about five minutes even with the skirt, the waves just kept coming right over the bow and onto me in the front. It felt great but at the end I was pretty salty. As the day went on the water felt better and better and each wave that crashed made me smile and laugh. I just keep having these moments of laughter like, I am in Abel Tasman sea kayaking and giving myself a little "this is real" nudge every so often. You have to when everything is so beautiful, your mind gets worried momentarily that it is a dream. We saw heaps of seals of all ages. They blend in really well with the surrounding rock so you have to stop and just watch for a bit to find them. Sometimes they even notice you and start to move to check you out. I say seals but our guide told us that they are really of the sea lion family. They made a bit of noise occasionally but mostly they couldnt be bothered with us. One of the people in my group said "life is good sleeping on a warm rock." It was so true most of them were just lying around keeping warm on the rocks.

 We paddled around the island a bit and then a few coves and rock reefs before making it to Bark Bay for lunch. A wonderful spot that looked almost tropical. We ate and I was bitten a lot by sandflies which no one else seemed to be having a problem with. After lunch the Canadians in our group started their walk back while the other Americans were being guided back by Barnsie. I was to wait for a boat to come pick me up and take me back so I could drive to Picton. When the boat arrived they strapped four kayaks onto it for transport back. It was something to see. Already on the boat were three people who had been walking the whole track for four days. They were exceptionally pleasant for having just been in the bush for a bit. The tractor came to pick us up but this time on a boat ramp as it was now high tide. I said my goodbyes once we landed and jumped in the car bound for Picton.
View from breakfast, Tasman Bay
Tractor to kayaking
Tasman Bay

Kayaks on the back of the boat.