NZ again, woohoo! And into kayaking now!

6/2 Arrived in NZ, couldnt sleep on the plane. I hitched to Murchison on (amongst others) an old truck. So old that it didn’t have seat belts yet. Suddenly the cable that supplies air to the gear shifters snapped and so the truck couldn’t use gear 1-2-3-4-5 anymore, only 6-7-8-9-10. Luckily we didn’t have to climb very steep hills anymore. Then the handy truck driver fixed it in the next gas station. And a little later the engine got overheated. So we filled all available plastic water bottles with cold water from the river nearby, repeatedly, until the water tank was full again and we were ready to head off again. That evening I was so extremely tired that the only thing I was capable of doing was going into a hostel and pay for a bed. I slept from 18-23.30 and again from 00.30-9… Yes, it was necessary.
7/2 went to the local library and did some research on Russia and the transsiberian – transmongolian railway I would like to take to get back home. That’s for June but I don’t wanna wait too long applying for a Russian visum because of the Ukraine situation… And in the evening I went to the kayak school, where Mick showed me around and where I met my roommate Claire from Melbourne, with whom I seem to get along with quite well, and 2 other fellow students from US/Singapore, Anne and Troy. Later I met Ela, from Germany, who also joined the course.
8/3 first day! Each day of the course consists of three sessions. Starting at 8am with the first one. In the pool. Second one starts around 11am in a more quiet river for theory. Last one starts around 2pm in a wilder river.
Today we immediately jump started to learning to roll over. I wasn’t particularly gifted with that skill… There’s much more to it than one would say. Than I would have said anyway. And power does not do the trick. After video analyzing there was the second session where we talked and practiced all the strokes (and some rolls). Sweep, forward, making carving turns and going into an eddy. Third session was in a wilder river. A section of the Buller river.
9/3 second day of hoping to get better at it. There was also a new student joining, Josh from UK/Aussie. During the swimming pool session today I practiced a lot. Some successfully but basically making the same mistakes over and over again. It’s amazing how when the situation changes, you cannot remember the 3 little things you have to work on. It’s like the head knows, but the body doesn’t listen… 🙂 The river sessions in Buller river were variable. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.
10/3 third day. I got a really good feeling after the swimming pool session. I couldn’t roll anymore in the beginning, but at the end I did 5 successful rolls in a row! The river session in the Matakitaki this time, unfortunately, made me close to frustrated. The rolls didn’t work like I wanted to, and I swam again… 😦
11/3 last day of kayaking. Successfull rolls in a self made current in the swimming pool. One big trip to the Matakitaki in the afternoon. Rolls sometimes work and sometimes don’t. All in all I had 4 lovely sunny kayaking days learning a lot with very skilled guides and getting along very well with the rest of the students.
12/3 relaxing day in Murchison. All of our group (except Ela) stayed at least one more night in Murchison. We all went to the same hostel, The Lazy Cow. Finally we could sleep a little longer. When we woke up today we would already have had ended the 2h swimming pool session on other days… I spent some time on internet, and on just doing nothing. We made a walk in the afternoon, the skyline walk, with a nice view over the Murchison and its surrounding mountains. After that Claire and me drove to Nelson whereas the others were gonna kayak one more day.

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