Today – Kayak 17km Paihia to Waikere Landing 3.6km Walk to camping at a local Trail Angel 273.8km
Today was a rest day of sorts but also a day which I had no idea how it would end up. We left the Pickled Parrot backpackers and went to get our food for the next section.
I had rung Dan, at the local kayak rental place Bay Beach Hire , the day before , to suss out some kayaking and get a feel for his recommendations concerning the weather for today.
We met around 12pm, and he took us through a really awesome safety briefing, with high emphasis on what could happen on the water given the forecast.
Forecast for winds, but more concerning rain, which could make us cold and wet and therefore not a good time for those who feel the cold, but also could present some challenging conditions for less experienced kayakers. Cheers for keeping it real Dan, I hold a lot of value for safety and genuine concern, rather than a place just looking to get as much $$ as possible.
With that been said, we had a group of eight of us jump in the kayaks and after being armed with paddling techniques, sea kayaks & skirts and map and a radio in the unlikely case of emergency, we hit the water.
It was a good kayak, following the Opua harbour inland and up the Waikere river. We followed Dan’s good advice on keeping left to avoid as much as possible of the North Westerly wind blowing in.
Luckily it meant the wind worked in our favor behind us, giving us an extra boost.
We stopped for a quick snack break on Marriot Island, and decided to hit the water again to keep warm and moving when a dark cloud appeared in the distance.
It rained for a while but we were in our raingear and moving so stayed warm, and soon the sun hit us again.
We kept an eye out for an orange trail marker which meant we were nearly there and relaxed on the last paddle through the mangroves into Waikere Landing.
Dan the man showed up with great news, he had scored some fresh snapper off a mate and was treating us all to some dinner and hot cups of tea all round.
What a bloke. Thanks Dan, you really brought some kiwi hospitality and good spirit and laughs to our day today. And thanks for bring your super cute pooch Rusty.
After bidding farewell to Dan, the plan was to hike to a camp a bit up the road, or a few km further into the Russel forest.
We all felt good so kept going past the first camp, until just shy of the forest when a voice came from behind.
We wandered over and it was a lovely lady called Phillipa, who said we could camp on some lovely grass by the river on her property. Just amazing. The kindness of stranger and supporters really blows me away and makes me so proud to be a kiwi when I see such lovely gestures of kindness.
We made camp and then spent a lovely evening getting to know some more new faces, an awesome family from Maine, USA, and two new faces from Denmark and UK/Isreal.
Looking forward to the forest tommorrow. Wet feet section ahead!