Saturday, April 25, 2009

CACTUS International Goah Greens

46 kms of beach, 3 river crossings, 100 seals, 1 vehicle and trailer tow, 10 ks of lagoon, a 2 ks road run, 10 ks of Lake and Creek, 1 log carry, 1 crows nest and of course 1 CACTUS 5,and 3 hrs sleep in 24 hrs later....

NZ's Daniel Honey, Zak Hamilton, Zak Neale and Thailand's awesome 'M' took out the world record for non-stop human propulsion from a spot 3 kms south of Greens Beach to Hokitika!
Day one - A refreshing start fording the Wanganui at waist deep. 8.8 kms of boulder hopping and beach walking through two colonies of seals (approx. populations 12 & 85)took us to a great spot for the night. Cooking on the open fire and bivying on the beach beneath an awesome canopy of stars and galaxies!
9 pm all asleep - when they will have 20 mins to be at packed and and standing in line - it will be a bid day.
Day two - 12:00 am. Out of sleeping bags. Hoochies folded. Packs packed. Squad 'shun!
3 minutes at attention to think about the day ahead... We're off - destination Hoki - 50 kms away.13.5 kms ahead the Waitaha makes the sea.
4:00 am: We make the Waitaha for low tide. Turning around we see a fire. Last nights embers - still no Wayne. We head for the river to cross but looking back again see a torch. Wayne Jones (previous legendary CACTUS instructor and a mate are there to boil the billy for a welcome milo. They see us across the Waitaha - again wasit deep. We forge on past Bold Head. The hour or so before dawn are hard going - we battle sleep and trudge on. 10 more ks to the Mikonui.
7:30 We make the Mikonui right on time. Alan Stevens our other awesome CACTUS instructor is Waiting. Another milo and some breakfast. 3 horses crash our gathering for a feed of dry weetbix.(Is that hard to swallow or what?). We soldier on to the Totara. Only 5 more ks of beach.
9:40 We make Ross beach. We head down the road, the solid surface underfoot a welcome change. At the turn off to the Old Totara Rail Bride waits the ute with the kayaks on the trailer. The engine seems to have stopped! No worries - CACTUS is here. We happen to have a rope to pull the ute and trailer to the river. (Only 1 kilometre after all.) We struggle on the slight rise and in true CACTUS instructor style Alan jumps out and pushes too.
10:00 Set up for paddling and we hit the water. We are just on the tide and the lagoon is still filling - but it will turn. The team is battling tiredness and fatigue but press on. Light cloud takes the heat off the day. 10 ks to Ruatap. Towars the head of the lagoon we battle beds of reeds. Most are tackled bulldozer style but some require careful negotiation and at one we have to portage. The last 500 m and we are bottoming out as the tide receeds. We make landfall and carefully disembark - the mud is two feet deep in the lagoon.
1:30 We are behind ETA and Alan has had a paddle while waiting. Another brew and a break for lunch and we load the trailer and run the 2 ks to Lake Mahinapua. Alan has the Kayaks waiting again and we're off across the lake. Daniel battles cramp but pushes through. The sun pops out as we make the creek. It is warm and we are tired. We battle fatigue and sleep. I'm sitting in the back of the tandem and I realise that if I stop paddling I will fall asleep. We struggle with motivation and sanity. (Zak estimates I only went mad 7 times on the trip.) I resort to bribery. Fish and chips if we make the boat ramp by 4:00. "Too hard - 5:00." These boys drive a hard bargain. We settle for 4:30. The current picks up. Alan is waiting on the bride on the Highway. My blurred mind wonders what an earth he is doing with the billy - we're not stopping now. My thoughts are answered by an unexpected downpour. M and I sprint out of range and turn to see Zak H get a good dousing. Not far to go. The boys realise we can make 4:30 and dig deep. We stop at the river mouth and I have one of those timely moments. For the first time ever my cell phone jams. Start again. Turn off... turn on.. coverage... initialising contacts... answer phone... We contact family and head across the Hoki for the boat ramp. A log carry to the tancred St round about and Daniel climbs the pole for the crows nest. Zak H leads the essential CACTUS 5 press ups. Mission accomplished.
We made 4:30[deducting time for telecommunications hold ups]. I am still trying to work out how they ate so much fish and chips...
All in a day for CACTUS and an awesome show of mental nad physical determination. Awesome team! A special accolade for the mighty M! A CACTUS novice who stepped up to the challenge. CACTUS Thailand!

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