Monthly Archives: October 2014

5th October 2014: Hurunui River

Date:    5/10/14
River:    Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions:   42 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+(3), water clear.
Weather Conditions:   Cold, strong gusty NW winds.
Number on Trip:    9 (6 doing Maori Gully) kayakers.
Time on River:  3 hours.
Comments:   The official club trip for the weekend and it was off to the Hurunui. The weather looked ok despite the promise of strong winds in the afternoon. The wind was already blowing hard and cold, straight off the snow clad mountains, when we got there. A double shuttle was required as Matt and Tori just planned to do Gully runs while the rest of us paddled down from Jollie Brook. This time we put in at the camping area, rather than at the swing bridge and thus got to run the entire Jollie Brook rapid, which was pretty bouncy with 42 cumecs. The water was icy cold and I once again appreciated my new gear and the additional polar fleece layer under my dry top.

Murray breaks out of an eddy, snowy mountains in the background

Murray breaks out of an eddy, snowy mountains in the background

We had a strong group and spent a reasonable amount of time catching eddies and playing. On the long straight below Jollie Brook, we noticed a lone kayaker behind us and assumed it was a member from another group as all our paddlers were accounted for. So it was somewhat of a surprise to have Tori catch up with us after just a single Gully run, Matt having decided to head back to town due to the strong winds and other commitments. We carried on down to Devil’s Fang Falls, which we’d looked at on the way up. It had seemed ok, with a clear path down the right hand side and I watched the others disappear from view over the horizon line, without any apparent dramas. On my turn, I slid down the tongue, smiled for John H, who has on the bank with his camera, braced at the bottom as I crossed the positively effervescent waters around base of the drop and joined the others. Ian had tipped in the foam and hadn’t been able to roll up right and had then swum, plus others had rolled too. So much for no dramas and after a short pause we carried on to Seawards, in to a strengthening and increasingly unpleasant wind.

Tori at the Magic Roundabout

Tori at the Magic Roundabout

Two of the group got out at Seawards to run the shuttle and after a snack and a stretch of the legs for some, it was off into Maori Gully with a now gale force wind at our backs. There was a brief play at the Magic Roundabout, but I chose not to join the fun due to the wind, the cold and the boisterous flow, then past Simon’s hole where one of the guy who hadn’t paddled the Hurunui before, casually boofed the hole before paddling hard to escape its’ clutches. The two boulder gardens slid by, then down the Elevator and on to Cheese Grater, which at this flow was a smooth chute with several large standing waves at the end. The corner rapid was pretty big too.

Playing on the wave at the end of the Corner Rapid

Playing on the wave at the end of the Corner Rapid

A brief play at the Pop Up Spot for some and then down to the get out, with a dry head and dry feet, just the way I like it. My kayak was still nice and dry inside when Jim helped me out and even the climb up the hill didn’t seem so bad. It was nice to get in to dry clothes and out of the wind (which did provide the bonus of keeping the sand flies away). Drove back to town via a beer at Brew Moon, feeling somewhat tired after a busy weekend of paddling.

4th October 2014: Ashley River

Date:    4/10/14
River:   
Ashley River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions:  
5.1 cumecs at Ashley Gorge. Water clear, swift and cold. Grade 2.
Weather Conditions:  
Cool but sunny, overcast with light snow (hail) later.
Number on Trip:   
7 people.
Time on River: 
3.25 hours.
Comments:  Being unable to go one the club trip on Sunday and after being teased unmercifully at the WWCC drinks on Friday for paddling the Ashley at 6 cumecs last weekend, Graeme decided to go one better and do it at 5 cumecs and make the most of a sunny day. As I was up until 1am on Friday night (not at the club drinks) and I wasn’t exactly sure what the weather was going to be like, I held off fully committing until the morning, but the sky looked clear and the forecast good, so the boat went on the car and I drove off to The Peg.

There were seven of us there and so we took three cars and drove to the middle bridge to get changed. It was could but sunny and looked like being a very nice day, even if the flow was a little on the low side. We ended up chasing another sheep down in to the Lees Valley after she refused to leave the road or let us past, we think she was racing us. Once on the river, we bounced our way down to the Townsend confluence and the played, caught eddies and generally enjoyed the river as we made our way down stream. This time I made sure I kept my nose clip on and didn’t get too cocky so there was no repeat of last weekend’s embarrassing incident. At the main boulder garden rapid, I managed to spot the wire fence tangled around the large rock about half way down on the river right, the fence trails off down stream before disappearing below the water’s surface. It didn’t cause any problems for our group but there is definitely the potential danger there, so be careful if you do this run.

Surfing on the Upper Ashley. Photo by Steffan

Surfing on the Upper Ashley. Photo by Steffan

There were the odd rolls and swims, but it was great to see people trying new things, pushing there limits and challenging themselves. Prasasta wowed us all when she tipped whilst surfing a wave, then rolled up again while still surfing the wave, we all cheered as it was pretty awesome. Contrary to some opinions, there was plenty to do and only rarely did we find the bottoms of our boats touching the stony river bed and then only on the occasional gravel chute, where the river widen or was braided.

As we near the end, the sky darken and it grew noticeably colder and then began to snow. Not the light, feathery flakes but more rounded and probably closer to hail but more airy, it was quite pretty but it didn’t settle and fortunately stopped before we reached the get out. We got changed, covered up against the sand flies and the cold while the shuttle was run. Then headed back to town via a stop at Seagar’s for a coffee and a nibble. Another fun and tiring day out, time better spent on the river than in a mall.