Archive for December, 2011

 

It wasn’t much of a sunrise but the adventure ahead lit up the lush sheep paddock airstrip as we bumped and bobbed down the green runway in the single prop plane.  With just a single hole in the grey-bird morning skies the destination in New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park seemed impossible.  My trusty pilot Rog cranked the G’s and corked the plane up into the hole and we were soon basking in the morning sun surrounded by the Southern Alps.

 

 

Within 25 minutes we had crossed the great divide and were screaming through some of the most remote valleys in NZ.  Like water we were soon swallowed by the West Coast and touching down on the Tasman sea shore at approximately 7:30 AM on Monday morning.

 

Just another case of the Mondays….

As this was the last day of the NZ Whitebaiting season, there was more than plenty of work to do.  After our morning toast and tea we all suited up for the tasks at hand such as hauling 10-meter stands out of the river, organizing fishing gear, cleaning buckets and general end of season maintenance.  As the tide and hours pushed on so did the rest of the crew as the flights in and out must be timed with the ocean.

As the plane roared overhead loaded up with a season’s worth of memories and good people, I settled into the West Coast lifestyle knowing that Waz and I had another full week to surf, fish, dive, hunt and mission.  The evening’s surf session just on dark was short and punchy but we both got our share of waves peeling off the reefy point break solidifying the reasons why we were both there.

The rest of the week was chock full of 5 star meals such as fresh venison stew, roast pork, fresh seafood chowder, smoked trout, pulled pork and pumpkin curry, crayfish pizza and of course a few drams of whiskey.  Seeing as the season was coming to a close, it was only appropriate to eat what couldn’t be flown or boated out later on…

The nearly non-stop rain also kept us indoors for a good portion of the week making kitchen creativity a good sink for our energy.  Being held captive by the weather soon got old and in the height of one of the wildest storms we donned the wetsuits and floated down the river and out to sea in search of waves and crayfish.  We certainly got our fair share of both but we also ran into a playful pod of Bottlenose dolphins keen to perform for our hoots and hollers.  (Video to come soon!)

(Swell)

With the weather pattern opening up again I realized eight or nine days had slipped by and I had to hit the play button for life on the other side of the mountains.  Rather than stick it out for another week I hitched a ride out of the coast just as quick as flew in.  Flying above one of The Hobbit film locations was not much consolation as I came to the realization that the trip was over.

 

Film Location for The Hobbit

Looking back, it was certainly an epic week and I’m looking forward to the next trip back in.  If you’re interested in a trip, check Helisurf.co.nz for a glimpse of what’s possible. 

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