Monday, 22 December 2014

Day 48. John Coult Hut to Ngaporo Campsite.

Today 42 km kayak + 5.4 km walk. Total 1271 km. 7 hours 30 minutes (0850-1130, 1245-1750).

I woke up today and it was a clear blue sky which was nice but there had been dew in the night so my tent was a little damp.  I had a dry breakfast to try and reduce the toilet need while in the kayak.

We were on the water by 0850 and today was much like yesterday with calm spots where the reflecting of the bush was mirror like on the water and there were some small rapids.

Mirror calm

Exploring side streams

We paddled gently for 18 km until arriving at Mangapurua landing.  It was not an easy landing to try and get our of our boats but eventually they were tied up out of the way of the incoming jet boats. We then walked the 2.7 km to the Bridge to Nowhere with the four guys in Crocs and their Santa hats. I was impressed at how easily they walked in their Crocs.  We didn't spend much time at the Bridge as it was really a plain Bridge only made famous because they never managed to link up the road leaving a proper vehicle Bridge accessible only by waking or biking.

Difficult landing

Santa hats and crocs - not your typical tramping attire

The Bridge to Nowhere (Julien and Romain waving)

Eels under the bridge

We did the balancing acts again to get back in the boats and only went 100 m before pulling in at the Mangapura shelter to have lunch.  Having hiked by myself for most of the TA it is interesting seeing what other people are eating.  They have an interesting combination of avocados,  cheese and peanut butter on tortillas.  They also eat a lot of tuna.

We then carried on with our relaxed pace.  It is nice just floating along staring at the clouds and the bush or watching the birds.  Physically it was easy as the kayaks are so much faster than the Canoes so I only had to paddle a few strokes and then rest a while before paddling again.

Lunch spot

There were some entertaining interludes with water fights between Team USA and Team France.  Fabian and I are happy watching from a safe distance.

Playing with the inflatable ball

Water fight

And peace

If I felt bored I would just talk to one of the guys and if I felt like some time alone  I either floated at the back or pushed in front a bit.

We decided to skip the campsite Fabian and I were at as the others did not have a booking and might have to pay the penalty price.  Also this was a popular stop so there woud be heaps of people. We pushed on another 1 hour 45 and came to Ngaporo Campsite which was lovely and, unlike the other one, we could see the river which was nice.  We set up our tents and ate dinner and talked.

One of the more disturbing moments of the river journey - Joey doing a Titanic reenactment

Night 48

Not a bad campsite

There was a press up competition and I did well but I will not mention the results for great of embarrassing 3 of the men. Fabian did not participate (yes you can now do the maths). In their defence they did work harder paddling their Canoes than I did in my kayak. Once again the guys were generous with their no weight restriction food and shared their chips,  red wine and tea.

We were observed by one cheeky rat who watched us for a while quite openly. We also were dinner for hundreds of Sandflys until covering up and using repellent.

As it stayed to get dark we headed to bed hoping our boats would be there in the morning as there was nothing to tie them to and it was hard to drag them high.

Tonight I go to sleep to the sound of the river and a nearby waterfall. As it is a warm night and does not look like raining I have left my tent doors tied up and can look up at the stars as I am laying here.

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