One definition of the word “adventure” is not ‘knowing what the outcome is going to be.’ That was certainly the case in this kayaking adventure!
A group of 7 of us met up with our guides from Auckland Sea Kayaks at St Heliers beach . It was a bright, sunshiney day. The beach and the sea were full of people enjoying the summer afternoon. We spent a good half an hour getting ourselves ready, spray skirts, life jackets, boat shoes, a thorough briefing on the how to’s of kayaking and sharing what experience (if any) that we all had of kayaking.
We buddied up in our double kayaks and carefully paddled off from the beach heading towards the big marker out in the channel. There was a pretty strong south westerly blowing which made for a lot of sideways, slapping waves against our kayaks. This was OK for going over to Rangitoto but as our guide pointed out, it would be very difficult for us to kayak into that strong wind on the way back. So he made the call for us to paddle over to Browns Island, (Motukorea) instead.
It was quite a choppy paddle over and we were all relieved to get around to the back of the island, out of the wind, where it was much calmer. But not for long! As we headed around the front of the island to where we were going to beach our kayaks, the strong wind hit us full in the face. At times if felt as if you were just sitting still and paddling no-where!
We made it in to shore and pulled our kayaks up high on the beach. The wind was still gustily blowing and we were cooling down quickly so we added thermal layers and wind jackets. Our guides soon had teas, coffees and muffins set out for us which we consumed with much enjoyment and relief.
While we sat and rested and chatted, our guides very efficiently cooked and served up our BBQ steaks and yummy salads. The sun was by now slowly slipping towards the horizon so we set off for the highest point, a bare grassy hill with a stunning 360 degrees view, to watch the sunset.
We huddled together as the wind blasted us and Ian, our guide, gave us a very good history of the surrounding area and islands. For an Irish guy, he certainly knew a lot more than us!
Although there was a bit too much cloud cover, it was still a very pretty sunset and I loved sitting there on top of an island in the middle of the Hauraki Gulf, with a bunch of great people, watching this beautiful sight.
It slowly became darker as we walked back down, past the massive crater in the middle of the island, and to the beach. Luckily, the wind had died down. We loaded up the kayaks, turned on their little lights, buddied up again and silently paddled off through the dark waters, back to St Heliers, watching the lights of the city get closer and closer.
It is such a magical feeling, gliding along with just the sound of your paddle slicing through the water, darkness all around, just a little golden glow from the light at the end of the kayak and the moonlight shining on the water.
There really is no place I would rather have been at that moment. Yes, it had been a bit of an adventure, we didn’t end up where we thought we were going, but once again, it was such a good adventure!