Day 43 on the Road
Kayaking to Sugar Loaf Islands in New Plymouth
It’s Day 43 on New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year and today we are kayaking in New Plymouth, Taranaki to the Sugar Loaf Island before heading over to Cruize FM to record a commercial for the Ducks & Drakes Backpackers.
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New Plymouth is based right on the coast therefore water is in close proximity and where there’s water, there is kayaking. Put the two together you have a kayaking trip in Taranaki.
We drive over in the campervan to Canoe & Kayak Taranaki where we are meeting Peter who is our guide for today. We are sliding into some wetsuits underneath some overtrousers and a over jacket specially made for kayaking. Today we are going to kayak to Sugar Loaf Islands so it sounds like a strip club name but it’s actually a bunch of rocks which are a bit over yonder in the New Plymouth Port. Named because Captain James Cook who explored New Zealand back in the day thought the bits of rock looked like Sugar Lumps and he named it Sugar Loaf islands because of that.
So we start paddling out of the harbour, the harbour was really cold water and really great to just get started. We just follow Peter giving us a bit of a rundown about the Maori history right here and basically there is a really big rivalry between the tribes in Taranaki and the tribes in Waikato where we have been before and this area of Taranaki was the centre of quite a lot of amazing battles. it’s amazing to just kind of like glide onto the water listening to Peter’s story and then the sea starts getting a little bit more rough right. So it doesn’t really show on camera but you know we’re going through quite a lot of swell we have half a metre high swell. And we don’t even notice that we are there we’re at Sugar Loaf Islands. And we’re like whhhhaaaat? We thought this was going to be a big trip. And we’re there in 30 minutes. Not bad. We see some seals on the rocks and some seabirds too. And I love seals. I remember the first time I saw a seal in New Zealand it was the greatest day of my life. And I’m still always happy to see seals. Every time I see them. You can even hear them coughing. I can hear a seal coughing up on the rocks and it sounds so cute.
On this very small island right here that you’re seeing were at it’s peak 250 Maoris living there. And what happened was that when a tribe from the Waikato came into Taranaki and came into a big fight they lost and so they had to escape because at the time when the Maoris were also cannibals so when you have the choice to escape on the sea and try to make a run for it or being eaten alive, well the choice is pretty obvious. So they went onto their waka which is their traditional Maori canoes and they went onto this [Sugar Loaf] Islands which was the closest ones they could find and made a living up there burning a bit of wood that they could find on the island and hunting seals and seabirds from there so it was very fascinating. We kind of riding a few waves back so actually the way back to the shore was much faster than the way in since we were not going against the current but with the current this time. And back on the shore we take the time to thank Peter we actually help him carry all the canoes back to the shore we take off all the equipment, rinse them, give them back to Peter, have a little chat with him and all the politeness that goes along with the end of a tour. We really had fun with Peter and Canoe & Kayak but I mean exploring Sugar Loaf Islands was very unexpected here in New Plymouth and I had no idea about all this Maori history surround those very tiny islands over there.
So we’re going back to Ducks & Drakes now and tonight we are teaming up with Brett to go and do a recording for some pop-up gigs that often happen within New Plymouth and Duck & Drakes is often enough the venue for these pop-up gigs so to help promote it we are going down to Cruize FM to record an advert for them. Do we even need to rehearse that? I think we’ll nail it. He’s giving us a quick script which we have about a minute and half to prepare and then off we go. On the microphone. The taranaki pop-up gig network and Cruize FM presents Jersey Bob Friday July 15 at the Duck & Drakes Boutique Motel and Backpackers. Jersey Bob, wonderful storyteller and raconteur awesome melodies and great stuff. Supported by Taranaki’s own Matt herret. tickets are limited so go on Facebook. Good job guys. Love it. Well done. We also got to listen with Matt which is the owner of Cruise FM to listen to a few music and sounds of Taranaki. He showed us a few artists around. And going to the radio station is just one part of how artsy this city is and as we are about to find out because we have been invited to a few more art events which we will talk to you about later… Pot-a-toes boil’em mash ’em stick ’em in a stew. Boil ’em mash ’em stick ’em in a stew. Boil ’em mash ’em stick ’em in a stew.