Nick's Farewell trip
Everything started like always a bit later than planned. Basically it was my fault and everybody’s fault and in the end doesn’t mattered at all. We who were Nick, Ross and I had decided to go for a kayak surf before driving to Rotorua. It seemed like a brilliant idea and though we arrived at the beach not before 5pm we were motivated to get quickly changed and fight with the waves. The waves apparently had been expecting us and didn’t think about being small at all. So getting out to actually surf got a good mission. Ross even managed to perform a half backflip with his short boat as a wave – probably two metres in height – started to break right in front of him. I personally was totally exhausted after ten minutes in the waves and two rolls with two attempts each time. Nick and Ross had fun for another 20 minutes and after getting all the wet and sandy gear of our bodies we headed off the beach around 6pm to pick up Alison and finally drive to Rotorua where Magnus and Kristof were already waiting patiently in front of the TV.
On the way we had stopped quickly to get some food for the weekend and of course the all important booze. So arriving at the lodge we didn’t hesitate and started with the beers. Ross -smashed from the waves - gave up quickly after one beer and crashed in his sleeping bag in one of the nice bedrooms of the lodge.The others including me kept on going for a while playing a nice game (I would call it “load, shoot and protect”; don’t know the real name if it has one) and alternating it a bit. At the end only Kristof and I were left but not for long as another couple of hours at 3am the next car arrived containing Karin, Deborah, Quentin, Andrew and James. Apparently James had as usually already opened his vodka bottle as it was only filled with a third of this delicious water look-alike liquid. The rest of it was split more or less equally into the bodies of him, Deb and Karin with no major harm but a big smile on their faces.
After another unknown amount of time and as well unknown amount of hours of sleep we eventually got up Saturday morning finding the common room of the lodge in a lot better condition than ourselves. The plan for this day was to head off to the Aniwhenua and paddle the nice grade two part of it. (The time we left the lodge is left out here for a certain reason; Saying in generally it was not very early has to be enough) Shortly after we had arrived at the get in another five people arrived there having started from Auckland on Saturday morning: Ben, Sarah, Frankie, Kristin and Alana. Also a few more keen paddlers arrived of who I don’t know all the names but certainly crazy Craig was one of them.
As there were only a few beginners we hoped for a good and quick run and as far as I know apart for one or two exceptions everyone did really well and the run really was a good one. I think Kristof and Deborah have to be named here because they are both beginners with a bitshaky roll in the pool and no river experience. Both did especially well on the river with Deborah not flipping at all and Kristof even having managed to roll at one of the times he flipped.
After that everybody got ready, the cars were shuttled as usually, the boats were tied down and most of us head off towards the secret spot. Only a few fellows who apparently don’t like it too warm and like the rugby too much went straight back to Rotorua.
So this night the drinking started in warm water with a cold beer or in case of James with a vodka apple juice mix filled up in a Powerade bottle. We stayed there for a certain amount of time and after that drove back to the lodge with a short stop on the way for more booze or a Chinese snack which apparently was so good that three of four people donated it after a few bites to the rubbish bin in front of the Pak’nSave – a more or probably less worthwhile investment. Other people like haute cuisine chef Nick prepared a lot more delicious dinner with nachos as base and a chicken mushroom carrot apple mustard avocado sauce. Nick could rely at this mission on me as food cutter, Ross as spice expert and the two good eaters Alison and Deborah of who Deborah was one of the honourable donators of Chinese food. This meal totally satisfied our needs and like this we went upstairs to the common room where the excessive drinking and talking already had started.
It was one hell of party going on and everybody drank as if it was the last alcohol on planet earth. All the drinking games that passed over the night added their part too the fun and a lot of persons at the end had to give up because they were either too tired or had saved the queen to often that night. It was no wonder that some people woke up with hurting nipples and bruises around the nipples but what had happened is out of my knowledge. Apparently Quentin and his fast fingers had played a major part in this but he himself didn’t get away totally unhurt.
Nick as organizer of this excellent trip added his part of fun to the night and it seemed that he really enjoyed partying probably for the last time with most of the clubs people who he had met over the last months and who he had trusted his life quite a few times while running down a rapid or being rescued sitting on a stone in the middle of the Mohaka river. Like I said it was one hell of a night and it didn’t end before 5am in the morning when James and Quentin as last men standing – well assisted by some women – switched off the light in the common room.
Of course Sunday started relatively late and decision taking and discussing after such a cheerful night took a major part on this day. Hung-over as everyone was we finally ended up with the plan to paddle Full James – which is not a nick name for our vodka loving fellow James but would have fit this morning with the look of his face. We arrived at the river only to find out that the water level was too low to paddle but not low enough to sit into the hot pools on its banks. So very, very, very quickly most of us decided to go to the spa near the Huka Falls and only a few left directly to find their way back to Auckland. We spend a fair time in the hot spa and after that Nick said his farewell to all. Probably there could be seen a tear in his eyes as he did so but definitely he had a heavy heart saying good bye to the people who – as far as I know – he had such a good time with and after only such a short period of time certainly will miss as he considers them as real friends. Life has to go on and Nick is going to explore the rest of New Zealand for the next two months before he leaves the country to go back to France.
So, farewell Nick!
Here are also some pictures from the trip…