Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

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Roady
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Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by Roady »

I'm not really in the folding kayak club just yet as my Wayland is still shipping, so...while my wife and I were on holiday we went out on a guided kayak trip today. We met the ferry at Lake Manapouri at 0645, had a bit off a briefing then headed down the lake on the launch for nearly an hour. Even though it is the beginning of summer the snow on the mountains was down to the bush line. I went upstairs to take a couple of photos but was soon back. No-one was staying on the upper deck for long but the view was something to see. At the end of the lake the waiting bus took us over the Wilmot Pass (on New Zealand's most expensive to build gravel road) down to Doubtful Sound. Our guide, had us all kitted out in thermal survival gear and given a full safety briefing before launching out into the fjord. Due to Covid, most of the tourists are now gone and there were only five us alone on the fjord to enjoy one of the most amazing places in the world. Our guide told us that this was the original set for Jurassic Park but after two weeks of torrential rain they gave up and went off to look for somewhere kinder to film crews, like Hawaii. Although prepared for some of the worst local conditions we were very fortunate in that the odd shower of rain and short blast of wind was the worse we had to deal with. Our guide told us once when a storm front was approaching he and a client had to tie off on a shore line tree while a 130 knot squall came through. The wind speed was courtesy of a passing fishing boat that radioed them to see if they were alright. For us, however, at times the sea was flat calm and we were able to see small penguin and bottle nose dolphin. The towering mountains and numerous waterfalls competed with the silence to create an awesome (if too short) experience. The kayaks were plastic doubles. After a soft skin, I think the best way to describe these ones is, well, hard. I think it fair to say that Doubtful Sound would have be the highlight of our road trip so far. Perhaps next time it will be in a fold-able with ten days of provisions. Roady
Last edited by Roady on Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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gbellware
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Re: Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by gbellware »

Roady,
Thanks so much for that delightful trip report, nice of you to share that unique experience with everyone. Looking forward to hearing of your adventures with your new folder!
Best,
g
"There is nothing--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats"

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Roady
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Re: Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by Roady »

Thanks for the kind words g.

AndrewFold
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Re: Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by AndrewFold »

Thanks for the fascinating write-up. Great reminder of NZ seascapes - we were inspired by a rental kayak camping trip along the Abel Tasman coast to buy our double folder.
Andrew
Andrew
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Roady
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Re: Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by Roady »

Hi Andrew, We did that same trip at Abel Tasman in rentals a few years back. Along the way we stopped for lunch in a lagoon where we were sheltered from the sea. On leaving the river mouth we were met with large waves and my sister in law and her husband capsized in the heavy seas. They washed up on the beach and my wife and I spent 30 minutes out at sea turning around and getting back on the sand bar which was by now a surf beach. We rode a wave in and got dropped on the top of the beach, more by sheer luck than ability. While there another couple in singles, not so lucky, got dumped on our little steep beach too. The girl capsized and lost all her gear. We dragged her out and fished out most of the floating gear. Her kayak gave me a good smack in the process. We all (now six) ended up spending a wild night "ship wrecked" on the lagoon sand bar hoping that the midnight high tide would be kind to us (it was). In the morning, we woke to a beautiful day and a flat sea and paddled off one day late and a little wiser. My take away lessons were: 1. Never turn your back on the weather, conditions can change so quickly. 2. Never land on a steep beach in surf if you can possibly avoid it, it's going to hurt. Apart from that, we had a great time.
I hope your trip went more smoothly than ours!
Last edited by Roady on Sat Dec 26, 2020 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

JohnSand
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Re: Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by JohnSand »

Great story!
A shipmate of mine says that if there are no challenges, it's not an adventure.

AndrewFold
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Re: Doubtful Sound, Fiordland, New Zealand

Post by AndrewFold »

Hi Roady, I can appreciate the circumstances and also learnt lessons - my wife has often jumped out of the kayak and swum ashore after similar wave changes in the SW of England, leaving the landing to the remaining paddler! We encountered placid waters at Abel Tasman, though we did take a short cut through breaking seas over the bar at Marahau to get back in time for the pick-up and were equally fortunate. It's a great location and rental service though. Andrew
Andrew
Nautiraid Grand Raid 520 Expedition Wood
Ottersports PBK20 kit (non-folding) PVC Canvas on Wood

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