Sea Kayaking and Stunt Plane! New Zealand ROCKS!
Kaiteriteri, New Zealand
So after a great night I was up early to get down to the beach for Sea Kayaking. The sun was already shining and the sea looked calm and steady so I was really looking forward to it. We hopped on a sea taxi which took us to the other end of Abel Tasman national park, stopping off a few times to hear info on local culture in and around the area. Dropped off last we got to a beach where there was the start of many walks plus our kayaks for the day. Pete and me partnered up so too did Sean and James and Jasmin and Faye. These bright yellow kayaks were cool; they were comfortable, designed to cut through the water and even had rudders on the back to help with steering..(steering, harder than it sounds haha!)
We set off pretty fast, way ahead of the other guys. Little did we know that we had another 10km of paddling to do haha! heading for seal island. I managed to take some great photos of the seals in a sheltered cove just playing around in the water or basking in the sunshine. Unfortunately for us we weren't as lucky as other groups because our guide, Callum, told us that the seals actually climb onto the kayaks when they feel adventurous, how cool would that have been!
Anyway it was getting near lunch time so we headed to a beautiful cove called Te Pukatea Bay; there we sat down for something to eat then wandered off up a trek to check out the views. Reaching the top was gorgeous. The 360 view was stunning; the beaches either side were golden and the sea was turquoise. I would have sworn I was in the Carribean if I didn't know any better! Amazing sight in the beautiful Abel Tasman national park.
Back to the boats we soon set off again after some fun photos on the beach (I could have stayed there for hours if I'm honest) heading back to our hostel on the beach. We went through a cave, went swimming, plus alittle sabotage on Sean and James haha! Lifting their rudder from the water so they couldn't steer and stealing Seans paddle lol...James wasn't too happy about that one!
All too soon we were back on the beach near our hostel, I was pretty sore from the constant paddling but it was well worth the effort. Another great day in New Zealand.
We were due to leave Kaiteriteri the next day but before we did something caught my eye at the hostel... Flying a stunt plane!! I rang up and booked a flight for the morning- making sure I had all the details correct..."I was going to be flying the plane!" AWESOME!
Sean came with me just as excited having been persuaded to come the previous evening. We got picked up at 10am and got to the airstrip at half past. We got a brief explanation of everything and before we knew it we had our gear on and the plane was prepared. The plane was a Pitts Special, top of the range in stunt flying. It was one of those old school planes- kind of like the WW1 planes, propellar powered. Oh my god I was excited...but still very nervous!!!
Sean went first; he got in the front seat, gave me a wave and went up the runway. Pretty soon he was up in the air and lost in the clouds. About 20-25 minutes later I caught sight of him coming in to land haha... brilliant! As soon as he touched the ground and got out of the plane we were both like little kids at christmas; jumping and laughing- him because of what he had just done and me because of what I was about to do. He was buzzing and kept on saying how awesome it was...guess it was my turn to find out!
I got in the front seat and Vincent (the pilot) went through some details, where to put my feet, hands, which way to turn my head in a barrell roll and loop the loop so I wouldn't get disorientated.. plus the stick to fly the plane haha! So excited!
I put on the cap and goggles and we were off. The plane drove forward to the start of the runway. A few final checks and we accelerated down the long tarmac strip. I think we were alittle off the ground when Vincent said to me "right Nathan, we are going to go up...NOW!" and after a sudden pull back on the stick we were flying almost vertical- my stomach was at my feet; I was expecting a steep incline but not so sudden and spontaneous! It was a matter of seconds after that when Vincent said "you have control!" I couldn't believe it...
He asked me to do a few movements with the plane- side to side. The plane was so responsive it did exactly what I wanted, so accurate and incredibly easy, almost like steering of a bike..well except I was flying haha!
What an experience! I did four part barrell rolls (like 90 degree turn and then hold), full barrell rolls, which were awesome, loop the loops, figure of eights (when you fly a steep incline, flip the plane over then come down upside down back into another steep incline), reverse figure eights, flying upside down and a vertical flight until the plane can't go any higher so it just flips over and then falls straight down towards the ground...the gravitational force I felt on the pull up was crazy, my arms felt 5 times their usual weight! Such an awesome experience!!!
We watched the video together and our reactions were brilliant. I repeatedly said "ok" and "yep" to directions plus nervous giggles when I did them. Sean of what I can remember swore quite alot haha! Vincent had his hands at the side of his windshield just to show that he wasn't doing anything and it was entirely Sean and me flying the plane! Wow! Flying a stunt plane over Abel Tasman! Not many people can say they have done that before. 25 minutes of flight time, well on my way to become a pilot haha!
Back to the hostel everyone asked us what it was like. It was hard to describe but we did our best. I'd say after our accounts that 99% of people wanted to do it but just in time for the bus we left Kaiteriteri off to Westport. Two more activities done and I have to say two more of my favourites! Got to love New Zealand!!!
Until next time!