Turns out that previously we’d launched out into the hardest part of the river in the hardest to steer, most likely to tip vessel, in low water ( meaning the rocks are all exposed, and there are loads of areas to run aground, be turned and flipped by the current). They are also Grade II rapids, so not perfect for beginners really. We’ve been sea kayaking before, but river kayaking is another matter! Not being able to stop is a bit disconcerting and having obstacles all around and hidden under the water is tricky, plus the likely hood of smacking your head on boulders underwater if you drop out. The sea is definitely much easier! Nothing to hit if you fall out :)
All the other beginners were bundled in a van and taken down to Ohinepane to start on the easy stuff ;) So that was the plan second time around plus with our pro-guide Josh on board, and the river nice and full of water, the rapids softened for us, we headed out to have another crack!
Ps. Ohinepane is my favorite kiwi word so far, pronounced something like Oh-Heeneh-Punny, which sounds like Oh-Honey-Penny with the middles switched around. Tricky words these!
Our first day back on the river was exactly what we had imagined the Whanganui would be like, a big deep and wide river with very little white water or obstacles. In retrospect we should of started from Ohinepane in the first place, we probably would made it all the way with no troubles. I would probably recommend avoiding shallower more technical stretch from Taumarunui unless you feel pretty confident in a canoe.
So here’s our teenage companions for the next 4 days, Josh our guide who is 17 and his mate Mitchell aged 14, who Josh has brought along in case we’re really boring! Quite an odd duo, but more on them later ;)