Thursday, January 12, 2012

8 January 2012: Kayaking in Anchorage Bay and Cleopatra’s pool

The summer weather that blessed us for the last few days has made way for another southeasterly that brought cool temperatures (mid-60s F), wind (10-20mph), and light rain. Our group of backpackers, who hiked to the campground the previous day, decided to ignore the less-than-summer conditions and tried their hand at kayaking.  The group paddled out of Anchorage Bay, into the Tasman Sea, visited a nice beach, and then headed back to camp.  The wind and seas were fairly rough, but Dr. Moran guided the group safely into shore.  Following lunch, we got on our ‘togs’ (New Zealand for ‘bathing suit’) and headed to Cleopatra’s pool, a site along the Torrent River that includes a 10m (30 feet) slide created by rocks covered in algae and lubricated by rushing mountain water (which felt as though it hadn’t melted too long ago!)  Nearly our entire group gave the slide a ‘go’, with each person on the slide being cheered-on by our group’s onlookers and unknown hikers who were not as adventurous as our group members! After toweling-off and warming ourselves after swimming in the very cold water, we hiked through the fern-lined trail toward camp. We decided to take a short-cut on the return trip and hiked along the delta of the Torrent River, where we searched the exposed river bed (due to Torrent Bay’s low tide) for oysters, mussels, clams, and the odd jellyfish.  We ended our journey by peering into caves exposed as a result of the low tide and taking some neat pictures of mussel and barnacle-encrusted rocks of the shoreline.  Despite the continuing dismal weather, our group keeps looking for the next opportunity to see or experience something new!

Our evening ended with veggies cooked in foil over the open fire, hot chocolate, and yes, more rain.  We’ve become adept at maintaining the fire, probably out of necessity rather than purely charm!  Our group stayed up past dusk (10pm!) to work on their journals, but their fearless leaders, Dr. Moran and me, called it a night a bit earlier.  It’s been a great few days, but goodness they’ve been exhausting!

Look closely and you'll see our group of 3 kayaks paddling in Anchorage Bay!

Our intrepid group of kayakers taking a break on a beach in Anchorage Bay.

Bryan Pujol (Business) slides down the water slide near Cleopatra's Pool.

Walking the Torrent River's exposed river bed on our trip from Cleopatra's Pool to the Anchorage campground.

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