One of the things I had been looking forward to in New Zealand was doing some white water rafting. In Christchurch I found there was a good stretch of river nearby on the Rangitata and that the rafting company was willing to pick me up from the city and drop me back at the end of the day. For the 2nd time on the trip some of the world got to see the distressing sight of me in a wetsuit, though the worst was hidden by the bulk of a lifejacket. The good thing about this stretch of river is that the rapids build up in grade from easy little ones to much more challenging stuff. We didn’t loose anyone form our boat but a couple of people fell out of other rafts. At the end of a fun, exciting and wet run in the rafts we passed through a section of river where it narrows to the length of the boat. After shooting it in the raft you are invited to jump in for a swim. I’m 2nd man in, but the flows at the original landing point must have been higher than before since the first 3 people in couldn’t swim to the shore. It ended up with all 3 of us clinging to a rope and getting dragged to the side totally exhausted. All the people following us were brought out upsteam of where we had been sent.
I then caught the Stray bus to Kaikoura, a town famous for seal, whale & dolphin watching and dolphin swimming. Given the choice of standing on a boat looking at marine mammals or getting in amoungst them is an easy decision so I had to climb into the 2nd wetsuit in 3 days. We had been warned (after paying) that there was a bit of a swell at sea so I legged it to the nearest chemist for some drugs. The boats themselves were out of the water on trailers and we were to board the boats prior to them being floated. I’ve seen this done with smaller boats but never before with ones this big. Once out with the dolphins we jumped off the boat to snorkle with them 4 times, all of us making silly noises to get their attention. The one time a dolphin swam round and round me was when I was humming the notes from Close Encounters of the 3rd kind… coincidence????? It was good fun and unlike anything I’ve done before. We then hung around watching as dolphins leapt about showing off before heading to shore. Sorry, but I don’t have any pictures of the dolphins as my camera isn’t water proof.
I’ve now got to plan through the next few weeks because if I catch a bus tour I’ll have to extend my stay in New Zealand. Whilst I’m really enjoying myself and there’s lot to do travel in NZ is almost too easy as its so like home. Think I’ll spend the next day in the Marlborough wine region………
PS was lucky enough to stumble across Michael Moore’s latest book, “Dude, where’s my country”, just after its release. Bought the book, thoroughly enjoyed it and left it to do the rounds at the Green Tortoise. I saw on the news yesterday that it has been release in the UK; I recommend reading it.