position S035 19.100 E174 07.200

Ocean Rival Journey Log
Adam Power Diana Power
Wed 6 Feb 2019 21:26

Wednesday 13th Nov. 

We had to retrace our route out of Golden Bay as there is only one road in and out. A long one way stretch of road is traffic light controlled as a result of washout  with half the road slipped off the hillside. The engineers must be very expert at repairing roads on the edge of precipices.

The road then turns south and cross the Hope Saddle where a view point yields majestic vistas to snow caped mountains in all directions

At Murchison we stopped to have walk round the small town which sits at the confluence of the Buller and Makatikaki rivers. They are both fantastic white water playgrounds for paddlers so I asked in the tourist  office if there were any  canoe hire companies. I was directed to a company in the town running kayak  trips/training and were met by a Yorkshireman who made us tea and  then showed us round his amazing kayak empire including a practice lake and very smart accomodation block.

In the lounge of the accomodation was a wooden paddle above the fireplace inscripted with the words '1st descent of the Blue Nile'. I was very excited as Dad had planned to make the 1st descent with his colleague Lewis Brown and one eyed Norwich architect Bernard Fielden. I remember the three of them testing an inflatable boat on the river Adur in Shoreham. They were thwarted by a group who beat them to it and so assumed that our tea host Mick Hopkinson had deprived my father of his claim to fame.  Actually it transpired that it was John Blashford-Snell who lead a 60 strong group in Avon inflateables in 1968. Mick Hopkinsons descent in 1972 must have been the 1st Kayak descent.  A check on Wickipedia shows that Mick Hopkinson's cv has several other impressive 1sts and he is a member of the International White Water Hall of Fame.  Hence his modest claim to have the best kayak school in the world is probably not overstated.
I was almost certainly out of my depth but asked about a guided descent and Mick did offer me a trip to suit my abilities with one of his team and a driver. It would have cost about $500 and I was sorely tempted but after an attack of sensibles decided to pass. In a parallel universe and fresh start I would choose to live Micks life. 
We took our leave and drove up the
Makatikaki valley to find our bnb for the night. It took a bit of finding several miles up an endless gravel track but eventually we stopped at a little farm with stunning views back down the valley.

It was the most idylic setting and was owned by a french couple who also owned a bakery in the town. Sadly they were giving up the off grid farm as they couldn't manage both and as the farm wasn't producing sufficient income with a few sheep, some goats and a stroppy band of wild cattle. Hence the farm was going on the market. If the rules hadn't recently changed so that foreigners are no longer allowed to buy property in NZ I would have spat on my hand and shook on the deal there and then regardless of cost or practicalities. I could have happily spent the rest of my days sat in a rocking chair, dog at my feet  looking down the valley and occasionally minding some sheep.

Unfortunately the bnb apartment was sited at the back of the bungalow so was deprived of the view and Diana thought that the bnb side of the business was already on the slide as the usual fridge full of goodies or even basic provisions were absent.  All that however was nothing when you step outside and wander through ancient woodland and meadow down to the raging
Makatikaki  river, dodging wild cattle that stand in your way and give you the eye challenging you to a game of who blinks 1st.