Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Huru to heal the wounds

After a dark winging friday evening and a pretty disappointing Phoenix Foundation gig in that bad venue that is the Civic, I needed my heart to be taken to the heart hospital, along with my well wounded mood.

The sunny Hurunui came along, flew us gently, whirled us in its warm water and gave us a bright new smile back. Me and Andie Kennedy (mo) took Greg Seaton down along with his girlfriend and charming Lucy.

Greg, who we picked up after a hard night drinking Wodka (with a W for Whip-your- ass) was fine as long as he was still drunk ...Later on his great entertainer side took over and he decided to show us some solid intestin-backflipping skill. Here, in-between too gaging spasms. This is probably the real purpose of the wetsuit afterall.

Then I decided I would impress people with my boat tying skills, picking boats from the the bridge to the take out. "She ll be just fine, I am just going down the road" And I was right, they were still there.
After some chilling under sun at the take out (without sandflies!), headed to Waikuku beach to dedydimo the boats ( that was the intention anyway), just like in the old days.

The next day at Cattle stop, the weather is with us. Tina and Greg take me this time, lead climbing, because its good for me. Here Tina featuring on what could be used to promote climbing in the Port Hills overseas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Aussie tramping, take 1

This past weekend Jacs and I decided to meet a group of people from the melbourne uni outdoors club we've joined at a hut in the Great Dividing Range for a night. The other group left Melbourne the night before us and we planned to hike up a different route to them, meeting them at the hut. Unfortunately fate wasn't on our side for this trip and a number of factors including a severely overgrown track, cronic hayfever, bad route markers, HOT weather and eventually general frustration led us to defeat. Never mind though, we were in a beautiful area and there was plenty to do despite not being able to join the rest of the group. We camped at a magic lake high up near a skifield and swam into the evening. Heres some photos from the following day.

Tits out for the pretty shelter at the top of the Mountain
The Great Dividing Range
Jacs makes a new friend
And I do too
A magic gorge where there is plenty of potential for rock climbing and a launching ramp for hang-gliders
A random shot - Jacs struts her stuff at the local bouldering wall in Melbourne. A free wall thats been set up under the freeway.

Monday, November 19, 2007

And The Man came to Ball Pass

After a short approach, we set camp opposite the Hooker Hut, and start watching TV. Avalanches trigger all around.

The next day, waking time is 4.30am, we pack, argue on the appropriateness of farting this early in the morning and leave without having met an agreement. The team is happy though.

Joost and Willi coughing the cigarets that I smoke for them the night before, HAHA.

The ignominous ice grasshopper, found in one of the footsteps.

The airy traverse, on a slab that would have probably gone the same day. All about doing fast.

The last shoot to the Pass

At the Pass, looking towards Nazomi and MtCook my nizzle

The happy team after chocolate. some more considerations are taken on the appropriateness of farting in the pure immaculate whiteness of the land of the naked goddess of the Mountains. No agreement is met before the team leaves, once again.

On the way down, a view on the Caroline ridge and its rocky edges

Ball Shelter, where we spend a couple of hours chilling until the sun

View on the Ball Pass from Mueller Hut, the following day

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Our First Peruvian Adventures

Six and a half weeks of squatting, couch surfing and backyard camping and the day finally arrived. Thanks heaps to everyone who provided and offered us a bed, couch or backyard you guys are awesome and we are happy to return the favour as soon as we have one of the above to offer! After a final night out at the Foo San with the core group of chch´s Cool Kids we finally boarded the plane bound for Peru.

Farewell Sunset over NZ

18 Hours of flying with NO in flight entertainment bar the little picture of a plane following a dotted line from NZ to South America and 10+ hours waiting in airports later we touched down just before midnight the same day in Lima. We managed to hook up with a fellow Kiwi James who was somewhat more organised than us and had actually booked accommodation. Soon we were resting our tired heads in Loki hostel in the well to do part of Lima.

Plasa de Armas - Downtown Lima

We spent the next couple of days checking out the sights of Lima; churches, catacombs, museums markets and a crazy taxi ride into down town Lima. No seat belts, lots of tooting (whoever toots first or loudest seems to have right of way here). At one stage we pulled into a petrol station at a set of lights (maybe we need gas?) turns out the traffic had made an additional four lanes through the petrol station and when the lights went green the gas station traffic boosted the gap in front of the legitimate lanes. Go figure!

After that taxi ride we avoided boy racer pimped out taxi´s with blaring music and went for the older drivers with the least dints in their car.

Local chillin in downtown Lima

After two nights in the crowded concrete jungle that is Lima we jumped on an overnight bus to Huaraz. A city nestled amongst the Andes at a bit over 3000 m elevation and 7 hours north of Lima. After a couple of quiet days in Huaraz taking in the sights and sounds, practising our Spanish and acclimatising to the altitude we decided to head for the hills.

Chillin at Famillia Meza Hostel

We crammed into a public bus and headed into the Huascaran National Park for four days of trekking through the Cordillera Blanca, reaching altitudes of up to 4750 m.

Bus ride into the heart of the Huascaran National Park

Mad bus ride thru the Cordillera Blanca!

Used to the solitude of the NZ mountains it was a completely different experience to be hiking though the villages and farmland high in the Peruvian Andes. However the mosquito's and biting insects of this place seem to have just as much affinity to my Dunedin blood as the ones back home! Good to see that some things never change.

We started off well, somewhat slower than back home given the thinner air but by lunchtime the altitude was catching up with Nicholas.

Man down!

We pressed on finally camping in a flat valley by a river looking on towards the mountains and the pass we would be climbing the next day.

By the time we pitched the tent Nicholas was looking incredibly pale (somewhat resembling the colour he had reached when he broke his ankle last year) and as the evening progressed he got steadily worse. Mumbling about my indifference to the altitude and finally putting it down to all those year of singing training. I was just happy that one of us was sweet to look after the other.

Cordillera Blanca

It made for a rather restless night during which he brought back up the little he had managed to eat of the magnificent dinner I had cooked him. After this he struggled to keep down even water and by early morning we made the call to descend retreating to the lower elevations of Huaraz. It was a mammoth effort by Nicholas to walk out in that state (with a significant hill climb included) and endure four hours in a bus on gravel roads back to Huaraz. Proud!!

Otahake Hot Springs

A little out of sequence but better late than never. The long awaited round two. After the success of our (Katie Pie and Em's) new years tramp there was always going to be a round two and what better plan than a relaxing hike in to the Otahake Hot Springs. A long hot soak under the wild stars drinking premium NZ beer. But the best laid plans always go astray and in true team xtreme style as Jono would say it was "poorly executed".

4 pm start always helps to make life a little interesting .... the race against the darkness!!

Determined that we would be sitting in the hotpools by nightfall we pushed on. The first river was a little higher than we expected and with some sloppy foot work by Kate it claimed its first victim in the crossing. Just paying her dues for not visiting the great outdoors for so long. Undetered we continued determined to make the mutiple crossings of the Otahake river rather than take the long arduous flood track. We tackled the first two crossings in true style, believing ourselves triumphant. But as it turned out the river had other ideas and was not about to let two not so tall ladies pass. We attempted to scale the cliff to get past but as we got higher and higher the small trees became rather sparse and we thought better of it especially as it was starting to get dark. So we back tracked and took on the flood track in the dark. Big ups to Katie Pie and her night time navigation but in the end we conceded defeat and pitched our tent precariously against a tree on a rath er steep slope. It seems that camping in the middle of the track has become a bit of a theme of ours trips away together!

Not until the morning did we really get to enjoy our tent location although the roll together should have given it away.

But by 10 am we were happily soaking in the hot springs drinking beer!!

After a couple of well earned beers we headed home.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The photos from the Halloween party

Blured by the dry ice smoke, the atmosphere was very Halloweeny
Green bubbly punch and DJ aviator Jean staying in the darkness, planning trick I suppose
Our highly seducing capon is out, charming anyone with a camera
Having recycled the tatoos that Crusty scraped out of his skin when leaving the party, Capon Man the Leaver re-adjusts his feathers before hitting his favorite hen again. More photos are detained in Nicky's camera and will hopefully be released one day, although I am way more curious to see photos from South america now.

So yep, off snow tramping in the Mt Arrowsmith area for the 3 day weekend. Will hopefulle get some scars.
May you all have the best time. Miss your soft skin and smiles.
Be well

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Luc writes, with his hands. yep...he finally does

So yeah,
Things are happening but not being reported on.
Nick and Emma have now left us and there was a party.
We have now moved on to different lives and this fact was clearly outlined by the half keg left at the end of the night. Thing that wouldn't have happened back in the days.
But hay.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Australian Big River

Heres a few photo's of the aussie version of the Big River that the boys in NZ hit up recently. The only difference is that by "big" in NZ they mean "not big". A long drive for not much really but such is life in the world of Australian kayaking... I think im gunna stick to the surf from here on in.

Shaun checking the put in for snakes / spiders / crocodiles / boogie monsters. It was all safe - I had my safety boots on - by safety boots I mean jandals.

Mac, in the orange boat is think "wow, pretty, wheres the rapids?"
Kate showing perfecting the technique known in the industry as an eskimo roll.

Still, a great day out with beautiful weather and warm water beats the pants off being in the city. Happy days!

Saturday, November 3, 2007


A quick trip up to Sydney last weekend. It was a massive drive up there and back but totally worth it. Here's a few highlights:
spent a couple of nights at Hobbs's apartment in Bondi Beach. Pretty cool area.

Had a night out in Manly with Lisa & Rachels cousin. Bloody good times...
Heres the view from Charlie's (Lisas cousin) balcony looking over Manly Harbour. Dam right, living the high life!
Shaun, far left, paddling at the Penrith Whitewater Olympic Stadium
Road trippin in the van
Posers on Palm Beach which is where Home & Away is filmed (Summer Bay)
The blue mountains. It was a shame we couldn't spend more time here. Some magic walking and climbing to be done in this park.