River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 22 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 3, water clear.
Weather Conditions: Warm with gusty Nor-Westerly winds.
Number on Trip: 9 kayakers (with 7 doing second run of Maori Gully).
Time on River: 1.5 hours (2nd run was about 1 hour).
Comments: While the trip list indicated that the trip had no organiser, Neil kindly stepped in and made sure it happened. We had 9 paddlers and it was decided we would just do a couple of gully runs. It was a beautiful, warm autumn day and the water looked invitingly clear.
We had a good play around on the Magic Roundabout, though I took a roll after an attempt to ferry glide into the eddy between the two rocks from the left bank failed and I got swept into the buffer on the face of the down stream rock. The roll worked fine first time but I was feeling pretty knackered from the effort.
There was plenty of eddies to catch and everyone one enjoyed themselves as we worked our way down the river.
In addition to bringing two boats on the trip, André did the first run in his play boat using only hand paddles. This lack of a paddle certainly didn’t cause him any problems and it was quite impressive to see him make moves using only small bits of plastic strapped to his hands.
Cheese Grater was interesting again, after watching everyone else go down right of centre, generally successfully, I lined up for a similar line and drop over the lip. I slid down the green tongue to the right of the underwater rocks that mark the centre, with my kayaks nose pointing towards the right bank. When I reached the bottom, my kayak stalled then shot hard left and I was up against the rock wall on the left hand side, just like last time. In no time at all I was upside down with rocks bashing against the back of my helmet (adding more scratches, just like last time), but this time I didn’t hold on quite long enough to roll and just pulled the deck. I swam into the eddy towing my kayak, it was quite a nice day for a swim. John R offered some advice that made sense, he noted that both Em (she also ended up in a similar situation to me but with her boat on the opposite side of the river to her) & I had just drifted over the drop and thus didn’t have the boat speed to punch through the hole at the bottom, something to remember next time.
We stopped for a bit of a play at the Pop Up Spot and tried our moves with varying degrees of success. My last go, had me almost vertical with a nice spin to land upright and facing down stream. I was happy with that and joined the rest of the group heading for the take out.
By the time I reached the get out, I’d decided to flag doing a second run as I didn’t really feel up to it (especially not repeating the walk up the hill at the end again). So we ended up running the shuttle and playing fetch with Baxter, a rather large dog with a very loud bark. As he didn’t want to get out of his depth and have to swim, often the sticks would float by a few inches from his nose and then disappear down the river. He did seem to enjoy himself and that kept us amused until the rest of the group returned from their second run. Then back into town, with the obligatory “debrief” at the Cooper Road Cafe & Restaurant, just south of Amberley. As a bonus for just running a short trip, I was home shortly after 5, keeping everyone happy.