I woke up at 5:45 a.m. today to go for a kayak. The guests at Raetihi Lodge usually eat breakfast at 8 a.m. and start their day around 9 a.m., so I wanted to have enough time on the sea before any of them would want to use the equipment. The rule is, staff can use the equipment as long as it doesn’t “disadvantage” guests. That seems fair.
It took some contemplation to get me out of bed to do this. On a day off, it’s always nice sleeping in, but an urge to go further than before got me up and out of bed.
Today, I had two goals:
One, was to see the Amokura up close and personal (the last time I saw it I stayed a good distance away because children were playing around it unattended, and I didn’t want to just stroll up and look like some kind of molester).
The second goal was to go further into the sound than I have before – in the direction of the Kenepuru head.
I achieved both of those goals!
The Amokura is a vessel from the late 1800’s that is now shipwrecked in St. Omer Bay just a 30 minute kayak ride from where I live. Here’s the story:
The Amokura was stunning, a rusty beast washed ashore, it was a like starving, skeletal giant.
The Amokura is quite the sight to see. The contrast between this beaten up piece of history laying ashore, and the wondrous natural surroundings of the Sounds is glorious.
Since I’ve been in New Zealand, two particular descriptions have really stood out for me. I have heard New Zealand described as “untouched,” and the Sounds, specifically, have been described as “magic.”
When I see pictures like this, I know exactly what those people were talking about:
The country is beautiful beyond comparison. Whenever I witness guests taking photos off the jetty being blown away by the beauty of the Sounds, we end up talking about how spectacular the view is and promptly, how lucky I am to be here. People always ask me where I’m from, and then they tell me that where I am is also beautiful. “Canada is a different kind of beautiful,” I always say.
Being out here has made me realize I never appreciated living so near to the Rocky Mountains. When I go back to Canada, I hope I learn to appreciate their beauty. Better late than never I suppose.
After visiting the Amokura, I continued into the belly of the sound. I had my phone and some cash in the waterproof pouch of my life jacket. The phone was for music and photos. The cash was there in case I ran into a seaside pub. The pub thing did not happen ='(
As I was paddling along the shoreline, I happened to look to my left and see a slick looking bird watching me. Perched in a small tree, it observed me. I stopped paddling and the tide pulled me closer towards it.
Conveniently, my clothing and hands were so deeply moist, that trying to wipe my screen clear was an amazing challenge. Even using the touch screen had me frustrated. The static of my fingers wouldn’t travel through the droplets, making it impossible to zoom in.
As I got closer to it, I realized what kind of bird was upon me – it was the Royal Albatross. The Royal Albatross is a bird I have been wanting to lay my eyes on since I arrived in New Zealand. The reason for this is because of the song The Weight of Living Part 1 by Bastille. The song mentions an albatross, which is a metaphor for bad luck. The song resonated with me some time ago.
When I realized what kind of bird it was, I instantly realized what music was playing – Bastille. Thought it wasn’t the right song playing, it was still Bastille. So it’s like a half significant fact. Whatever, it’s close enough.
As I got closer, I was about six feet from being completely underneath the bird, and it seemed to become uneasy. Out of nowhere, the bird took a large, liquid shit into the water, then took off. It did that thing where it takes off and seems to run on water to accelerate. I thought to myself, it was probably just cleaning its derrière, using the sea as a bidet.
As I paddled my way back to Raetihi Lodge, I thought to myself, “maybe that was just a seagull…”
I don’t know for sure. I guess I could get a zoologist to look at the two above pictures, but where am I gonna find one of those? I can barely find a cell phone signal.
Maybe it was just a seagull, but for me, in that moment, it was the mighty, Royal Albatross.
After my 2 1/2 hour voyage at sea, I made some eggs. I’ve gotten quite good at making eggs, scrambled in particular. Better than when I lived in Canada at least.
After my eggs, I decided to slice up some apples and fry them with real Canadian maple syrup.
Until next time, stay happy, stay clean, pluck your eyebrows, and don’t be mean.