A Not-So-Sunny
Day in Abel
Tasman National
The 'split apple' rocks we saw while
January 9, 2006

There is a good chance I am completely spoiled. I’m not sure if it comes from being from a place like Northern California or if it
comes from all of the places that I have traveled to.
Everybody made it sound like I was going to be beyond blown away by
New Zealand. I had only heard one person say that she wasn’t all that impressed. But everybody else couldn’t wait for me to
get here so that they could hear what I thought about it.

So far, I’m just a bit indifferent.

I was trying to keep an open mind while driving throughout the North Island. I had heard from the majority of people how
superior the South was to the North.

Now I’m not saying that the countryside isn’t beautiful. It is. I guess it’s just that everything I have seen has reminded me of
things that I have seen in other places.

Let’s take our day today in Abel Tasman. This is the national park that is in what is said to be one of the sunniest regions of
New Zealand. I have one thing to say to this…


It rained and rained
allllll day.

Our two and a half hours of kayaking? Rain.

Our lunch that we ate outside near the beach? Rain.

Our jet boat ride to see the seals? Rain.

Our almost two hour hike around Abel Tasman? Rain.

Our jet boat ride back to where we started? Rain.

The drive home? Rain.

Yup. All of this in the ‘sunniest region of New Zealand’.

Just one more thing to say…

Double Ha!!!

With that being said, we definitely made the most out of the day. It started off with kayaking (in what should have been
turquoise blue waters). While I have kayaked before, I have only used the ‘sit on top’ kayaks. This was my first time slipping
into a kayak and pulling my ‘skirt’ over the rim. Kat and I were partners in a two-person kayak. I sat in back which made my
job more than just rowing. I also was in charge of the foot pedals that aided in steering the kayak. I don’t want to brag…but I
didn’t do half bad. We were always the last boat to arrive to the places that we rowed to but I saw it as a small success that we
never crashed into any rocks.

While we passed cool rock formations, got out of our kayaks onto a beach where we collected some unique shells and where we
also found a penguin, I was reminded of something that I always tend to forget - I am not a big fan of kayaking. I don’t know
why exactly. I think it is just kind of boring to me. I will have to remember this for the future.

We got on the aqua taxis where the driver treated us to some ‘donuts’ (360 degree turns) in the bay before getting to the seal
colony. We even caught sight of some itty bitty baby seals. Some of them even waved to us. At least that was what it looked
like when they went underwater and kept their fin above water. Maybe this is their normal behavior but I would like to think
that they were providing us with a bit of entertainment to make up for the crappy weather.  

When we got to the island, I couldn’t help but feel that I was a bit misinformed. We were told there was a 2-hour ‘walk’. I
asked the girl who worked out here back at the kayaks if I should change out of my flip-flops. As Kat was my witness, she told
me that flip-flops would be fine. Flip-flops were
not fine. This was more a hike than a walk and the muddy conditions made me
have to watch every step I took. Even with being so cautious, there were still several times where my flip-flops unwillingly
glided down the hills in the mud. Gliding was not a sensation I wanted to have while walking up and down a pathway that
bordered on a cliff. Jim blamed me for my stupidity. I tried to defend myself by saying that I would have switched into walking
shoes if the girl at the kayak place hesitated at all with her answer. But in the end, I was willing to own up to my 50% of the

The rain continued to come down on us as we waited for our boat to head back to the bus. At this point, I accepted the rain and
was just happy that it was light. I kept assuring Kat that it could be much worse. I think I was also trying to assure myself of

We would conclude the night looking for a place to eat while walking in the new burst of rain coming down from the sky. A
fitting end to the evening indeed…
Back to New Zealand.
Sailboats in the water.
During our hike.