Carnage on the Mighty Mohaka

Weekend Trip - Saturday 6th to Sunday 7th February 2010

Grade 2 White-Water Kayaking

A rather motley and inexperienced group of nine set off for repeat runs of the easy (???) 14 km mid-stretch of the Mohaka River from Mountain Valley Lodge. It had recently been in major flood and was running high and fresh, dropping in flow over the weekend. Can-outs, swims, spills, submarines - call them what you like. Not three, not five, but 53, yes folks 53 occasions where someone was swimming in the water and not competently paddling their kayak. Six runs all together, four of the maddest participants doing them all. The second rapid was particularly vicious, with a nasty boil round the corner. (See photo opposite.) Our various levels of unskilfulness shone through.Brent and Carol upright in calm waters-a rare shot

Highlights, or rather underwater-lights, were:
Don Juan: paddling down a rapid backwards, next making an epic upstream journey to replace Marg’s lost paddle, three swims.
Gone John, gone mighty river-rafting man, first time in a kayak ever and taking a legendary 15 swims, a stoic venture.
Kool Kathy, didn’t fall out on the Whanganui. Ha ha, three much-needed swims out of the double Cabo. Singles can over too.
Mad Max, did only one run. Fell out five times. Extrapolate to six runs for potentially thirty swims. Legend.
Go Jeremy, third time ever kayaking. Unwisely listened to ‘follow me’. Out seven times but learnt the most. Great future talent.
Mayhem Margaret, lost her paddle, broke her rudder, borrowed Don’s kayak then had trouble with his rudder too. Nine swims.
Brand New Brent, averaged one can-out per run (six). Whether swimming or kayaking, colour-coordinated at all times. Spiv!
Devious Dave, mid-river recoveries on sit-on. May have sneaked in other spills apart from the three detected. Needs watching!
Sweet Carol, how to exit the boil? Oops! Out! Managed to kayak up a tree branch completely out of the water. Two swims.

Submarine in second rapidDid we have a great time? You bet. Fantastic team work, support, proper gear and (many) rapid rescues. All our bruises and battered egos will have healed before the next big kayaking adventure planned for early May. Where? Where else but the Mohaka again, same run plus the next 14 km (still grade 2 with trickier boils), making a 28 km extra fun paddle. Watch.

We were: Swimmers (sorry) kayakers: Carol Exton (leader & scribe), Kathy Engelbrecht, Max Clark, Brent Rose, Don Finlayson, Margaret Law, Dave Cray, John Tasker, Jeremy Wilson. There’s always room for more in our dynamic kayaking group.