New Zealand semesters enter final sections
When the students on NZSF-4-9/26/2013 returned to the branch this week for their intown switch (from Sea Kayaking to Canoeing), there was an easy consensus about the highlight of the section: It was the day hundreds of dolphins surrounded the kayaks, leaping and diving and skimming the surface. The dolphins stayed for more than an hour, and if that wasn't exciting enough, the group watched as the dolphins were eventually chased away by a pair of orcas on the hunt. Instructor Yuri, who's been paddling the Marlborough Sounds for four seasons, told me it was the most spectacular display of wildlife she's ever seen out there.
The course traveled in the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds for 20 days. With mild to moderate weather conditions, the group was able to travel 93 nautical miles. Paddling conditions included winds to 15 knots and seas to two feet. Storms with winds up to 45 knots kept the group ashore some days. They had mainly sunny days with a few days of rain. In addition to the dolphins and orcas, the group saw New Zealand fur seal, little blue penguins, manta rays and a variety of sea birds such as terns, oystercatchers, Australasian gannets, kingfishers, wekas, shearwaters, shags, albatross and more. The curriculum in this second section focused on strong sea kayak skills (strokes, rescues and rolling), leadership skills and natural history.
Thank you to student Marilyn Farrell for providing these photos.
And here they are ready to go Canoeing:
We also had a chance to see NZSF-3 last week during their field switch. Our driver picked up the group from the Lake Tennyson campground in Nelson Lakes. From there it was a short drive to the small town of Hanmer Springs where the group camped for one night, cleaning gear, taking showers and meeting their new instructors. We are sorry that were unable to take any pictures at the switch. We will catch up with this group again in early December when they complete their Mountaineering section and return to the branch for graduation.
Meanwhile, I do have one group shot from the Canoe section that didn't make it up on the blog earlier. Cheers!