January 27th 2017
Poukaria – Ohauora
Total distance: 833 miles
The pain in my upper body wasn’t the thing that stopped me sleeping well, the fact that the campsite was not at all flat and I had a crater under my right shoulder meant every time I woke up I was squished against one side of the tent. It was pretty uncomfortable. I felt a lot better when I woke up, not quite as sore, but by no means tip top.
We packed up with the intention of leaving at 8, the barrels are a bit of a pain in the arse because you have to lug them up and down a hill to and from the canoes. It’s like having a bear canister and a giant bear canister. The sand flies were pretty hideous and we were standing in the water in a futile attempt to stop them biting.
We all stayed in the same positions we were in yesterday, and set off for an 8 hour day of paddling at around 9am. The day went nice and smoothly compared to yesterday. No flipping disasters. We linked up our canoe with a couple of others for a while and we noticed that Belinda sits a lot lower in the water than all the other canoes. We seem to be putting a lot of effort into the paddling and we aren’t able to keep up with the others / we keep getting overtaken, which is really frustrating! Unfortunately the flotilla decided to break up just before a rapid which ended in disaster just like it did last time, and Vicky and Remi ended up in the river.
Paddling can be a bit boring at times, but so can walking. The scenery was nice and the tall sides of the gorge were great to paddle through. There were small waterfalls and rapids all throughout the morning. The day started out a bit grey and drizzly, but it started to break up by the time we stopped for lunch about 3 hours into the day. We were all completely starving by the time we stopped and took a nice long break at a campground.
After lunch we did a couple of hours paddling then linked up with some others for another flotilla, our canoe was in the middle for a change which meant we had to do nothing at all. We just let the raft float down any which way it pleased, which was backwards quite a lot of the time. A few people got out and had a bit of a swim. We saw Vicky and Remi stopped and were surprised to find out we had reached the half way point of the afternoons paddling. We beat the predicted time and we floated a lot of it! We carried on and decided to paddle for a couple of hours and then float the last bit to the campsite.
The sun was out in full force now and really strong, although I had applied plenty of suncream the tops of my knees felt like they were burning, so I undid my shorts and pulled them down so they were covering my knees, which meant I was just sat in my pants but that was ok. We noticed that Vicky and Remi’s canoe also sat low like ours, yet they had no trouble at all picking up speed. It got really annoying in the afternoon to watch all these people pulling away from us when we were paddling as hard as we could. We saw the other group who left the day before us at a campground before ours, they gave us stick for actually paddling.
I was staring to get very painful hands, my right hand was becoming a claw and I have developed a couple of blisters on the palm side of my knuckles. (It’s very painful to hold the phone and type this). Eventually the sun went in and we hooked up with 3 other canoes to float the last bit to camp. We successfully negotiated a rapid as a flotilla and all too soon we were approaching the camp.
It was a long day, but I found it easier and more enjoyable than yesterday. I would just like to be able to use my arms equally because it’s destroying my back. The camp is up a hill and we again had to lug all our barrels up. The ground is much flatter here which is nice, but there are a lot of us and it’s a small area so we are all set up very close together. There is another big group with a lot of kids here too. But there was plenty of room for all of us and we all got a flat spot.
We sat around eating and chatting and laughing and being bitten repeatedly on the feet by the midges. It was nice to have a communal dinner and have a picnic table to sit around. We stayed up until 9:30pm and it was too dark to see. I have been bitten so many times on my feet and ankles, the itching is outrageous. I want to chop my feet off they are itching so much. I pop an antihistamine, but it doesn’t seem to have worked.
We see rats running around the campsite and I pray that nothing chews through my tent. Hopefully everyone has been good with their food storage. Dave had a possum chew through his tent last night and it ate his chocolate and left possum slobber over his things. Gross.
My hands are the most sore things tonight but I’m enjoying being on the water more than I thought I would. I have no nausea and it’s so nice to give my feet and legs a rest.
I’m walking thousands of miles for Just A Drop because everyone should have access to clean water. Please donate here, every little bit helps.