Weekend Trip - Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th August 2009

A wee warm-up trip for the real McCoy later in the year.
Ten kayakers: Two men and eight women (five alpha-females - bloody hell!!)

Some apprehensive beginners on their first white-water experience, others either in training, or has-beens, for the Coast to Coast. Three runs Saturday, two runs Sunday, with not everyone doing every run. Some complaints about the early frosty starts, but ‘Toughen up!’ I say. Only one can-out the whole weekend, with a lost paddle (found the next day). The two men, possibly overwhelmed by all the robust femininity, quietly concentrated on their kayaking, managed to stay upright, didn’t cause any problems, and were hardly noticed (except when asked to lift the heavier kayaks on to the vehicles). As you would expect, the rest of us were chat chat, paddle paddle, chat chat. Some would say more talk than paddle actually! A good mix of experience levels and supportive team work.

A fine roast dinner, even better than David’s previous gastronomical delight, and a welcome glass of red wine Saturday night at the Taumarunui Holiday Park. Eight people in the six-bunk cabin, very cosy and friendly.

An unexpected rebellion on Sunday morning saw just two hardy females (alphas of course) set off at 7.30am in the heavy frost with icicles hanging off the kayaks. The eight woosies who stayed snuggled up in bed should be ashamed of themselves. A very satisfying last run on Sunday gave everybody the confidence for the big trip in September.

Teamwork from Lydia Huggard and Max ClarkWe are now all set for the three-day 145-km trip from Taumarunui to Pipiriki, 19-21 September. A little tweak of the gear list then bon voyage. Spaces are still available for experienced kayakers with their own gear, especially the men, as we need you to wash the dishes and hang out the wet clothes.

So, you’re all dying to know: How did five alpha females possibly get on? Surprisingly well, as it happens, considering having each of them leading down the same rapid at the same time would have been carnage. Here’s how it panned out:
One AF felt sick and only did one run.
One AF had a family crisis and turned up late Saturday afternoon. She was so busy trying to catch up she had no time to be bossy. Still, she did three runs.
Two AF’s were beginner white-water kayakers and looked after themselves. Between them I think they broke eight fingernails, so their scratching ability was curtailed. Still, they got in three great runs.
Our final AF, in training for the Coast to Coast, was in fine form doing all five runs, and entirely in her own way.

We were: Carol Exton (scribe), Jackie Hillman, Sandy Stevenson, Tina Jacques, Willi Williams, Lydia Huggard, Sharynne Cook, Sarah Garret. Token men: Max Clark, Ryan Whittle.