19th Nov: Te Araroa 49

7:30 o’clock start with our barrows all lined up and ready to go. Three hours latter we were on the river edge  at Whakahoro, getting ready for our exciting 5 day adventure down to Whangarei.

We were the last to get into our canoes as Eunhwa was nervous and wanted more instructions from TJ , our instructor from Yeti.

We got pushed off the bank and off we went down stream and within an hour we were getting comfortable and enjoyed going about twice the speed than walking and with little effort.

All ready to go

We were going great, sure there were a few moments where rapids gave us a worry but we keeped moving down stream and enjoying the views along the way.

TJ our instructor told us that if we go faster than the current, we would have more control over the Canoe. He also told us that since there has been a lot of rain and flooding, there may be a lot of debris in the river and then proceeded in telling us that another tour operator that one of his customers, while standing on the rocks next the the flood banks of the river, stepped on the wrong brown object and instead of a rock it was blotted cow and his foot went through the cow into the smelly insides.

Disaster struck

For the next two hours we traveled down stream with no problems until we sore the canoe in front of us have difficulties getting around the bend in the river, at one point I thought they were going to capsized. We approached the same band and thought it best to go wide to avoid the small were-pool but as we entered the bend, the front half of the canoe went into a carm section of the river and the back was still getting pushed along by the rivers strong current. Then in no time at all, the canoe became right angles to the river which isn’t good and we were tipped out and this started our down river journey for 40 minutes in the cold water trying our best you push the canoe to either side of the bank.
There we were, clinging to the side of the upturned canoe floating downstream and I could see Eunhwa was having difficulties holding on with her voice starting to change and her lips were turning blue from the cold.

 Other canoes tried to help but at the speed we were travelling in the strong current, it was a big risk for them to be anywhere near us.

After many attempts, we finally made it you the bank where we deterred a wheel pool and it dragged us to the bank so I could grab hold of a fallen tree.

Once on dry land, without eunhwa telling me, she pressed the “I’m not ok ” button which sends a text to the tour operator and from that, they would send a jet boat down and picked us up given the GPS coordinates.

It only took 40 minutes for the jet boat to reach up, and in a short time, the boat was secured and we were heading back to our start point with a disappointment.