Had a leisurely start to the day today getting underway from John Coull Hut about 0830. Given the state of the river we knew that the 29 km or so would not take 6hr - rather we expected maybe 4hr max, including a side trip to the Bridge to Nowhere from Mangapurua Landing. For some reason today the Suunto decided to stop recording part way down. When I noticed this I restarted, so there are two tracks for today, with a bit of a gap!
The river had dropped a bit overnight so with a bit of help from our hut wardens (Ian and Peter) we were soon on the water. The river was much the same as yesterday both in terms of the majestic scenery and the state of the water (rapids etc). We did hit one standing wave that just seemed to get bigger as we approached it - we hit it with a thump which got us a bit wet but the old tub ploughed on through it fine!!
We were a bit apprehensive about getting into Mangapurua Landing because it is a challenging place to stop. But Ian and Peter had given us some tips, including actually reversing down the river at 45 degrees so that you can paddle into the landing as you float past (apparently called a "ferry glide"). This worked a treat, especially with someone on the riverside to grab the painter rope.
We took the 40 minute walk up to the Bridge to
Nowhere in lovely sunshine. Despite having seen lots of photos, it is still a very impressive structure, as much for the folly and the sheer effort of getting all the steel and concrete there as anything else!!
Then it was back on the river for the next couple of hours to Tieke Kainga for the night. The biggest issue was the wind which was blowing up the river - this slowed us considerably on some stretches, but still 6kph+! We pulled into Tieke Kainga with a bit of assistance from Murray and Ralph, a couple of guys from Auckland who we had met at JC Hut yesterday. They kayak the river a couple of times a year and have been doing so for many years, so know it very well!
The lovely hut warden, Marianne, provided us with a cuppa when we arrived - she had hosted no people for four days as the river was too high for paddling, so she was pleased to have some company for the second last day of her stint! We had an "informal formal" welcome to the marae (this is a DoC/iwi co-managed site) as part of the evening as well. It is a very pleasant spot to stop, with good company to pass the evening. Murray and Ralph were there, as well as Kevin, Gill and Greg. Turns out the latter group are also planning a stop at Jerusalem tomorrow night (Greg and Kevin are paddling to Wanganui) and Gill is leaving the river to pick up the car, so she kindly offered to get extra luxury food items (chippies and bananas) and bring them along for tomorrow night!
Belinda and Anthony (aka Tony) Hadfield made a decision, in their late 50's, to do something a "bit different" and walk New Zealand's 3000km Te Araroa Trail over summer 2015/16 - although updates will now tell you that this plan will take longer now!!. As the old saying goes - "don't leave home 'til you've seen the country"!!