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Kelsey: Camping the Caitlins

November 3, 2011
One adventure I went on about a month ago was me and other 3 girls (Anna, Tor and Steph) all hopping into Dan’s car (after particular packing by Anna) and headed down to Purakaunui Bay where we would spend the weekend camping. We got to the camp ground just an hour or so before sunset so we had plenty of time to set up camp before the sun went down. Us girls left it up to the men to find out when of the spots on the campground was going to be the best for the weekend. The men proceeded to do the most manly thing possible and drive through a stream that they didn’t bother to check the depth of before, hit a rock on the way over while making a huge splash and realize that it will be even harder to get back over stream after their ride around the beach. Before going back over they actually decided to check the water depth and where there weren’t very many rocks.

After the tiny river debacle we started setting up the tents and ran into another problem. One of the two tents that we brought required 3 poles, of which we only had 1. So instead of setting of the tent in the grass by itself, we were forced to place it in between 4 trees so conveniently placed in a cluster so once again we handed the reigns off to the boys to do their fancy work and the tent ended up looking like this…

In order to actually get in the tent you had to crawl on your stomach and slip up into it but it worked fine for the whole weekend and we were lucky that we didn’t have to do that for both tents! After the tents were set up it was time to gather some firewood and sit by the fire to relax before our planned day the next day. Throughout the night more and more people showed up that were friends with Dan’s friend who we met up with so by the time we went to bed it was a party out on the campground with people everywhere and music thumping. We managed to get a few hours of sleep before getting woken up by the early bird campers and the sunrise. 

Saturday morning me and Anna got to walk on the beach before most everyone else got up and then Steph and Tor met us down on the beach where we walked around for a bit and got a bit close to a couple sea lions. After some breakfast Dan, Anna, Dan’s buddy Jay got suited up in wetsuits and went diving to sea if they could spear any fish or gather some Paua.On the way over to the place where they would all be getting in the water we were all walking over some rocky areas and Steph (behind me at this point) decided that she was going to walk on the grass instead and pretty much stepped on a giant sea lion that proceeded to growl at her which made her jump and literally run across these rocks screaming.  They didn’t get to spear anything but gathered about a dozen or so Paua that we watched them gut and got to pick out our favourite designed shells since Paua shells are known for their colourful shells. 

After being there for a bit we decided to go back to the campsite to have an early lunch before heading out on the ocean for some more activities. Lunch consisted of the Paua that the boys got which I thought was pretty gross (VERY fishy tasting) but the boys loved it. After lunch we all got wetsuits on in preparation to go out on the kayak and hopefully get a bit of fishing in. It was me and Dan to go first since Dan has the most experience and I called dibs. We carried the kayak out there to about waste deep and Dan is giving me this worried look and says that he’s not sure we should be attempting it and we could try later, to which I replied that it’s totally fine and I didn’t feel like dying today anyways. But knowing both my stubborn personality and Dan’s adventurous personality, we decided to just go for it anyways with his warning that I will be doused in the front seat and that I shouldn’t panic if it seems as though we’re going to flip. We walked the kayak back out to about waste deep and I waited for Dan’s signal to hop in the kayak, missed the first time but eventually got settled in and started paddling for my life. The waves coming at us were about 4 feet taller than I was sitting in the kayak and were pretty scary so every time one came up Dan yelled “stop paddling and lean forward!” to which I did for about 7 or so waves. We had one last wave to go before we were pretty much in the open sea and it was huge but I did what I was supposed to and tucked my paddle in, leaned as forward as I could go in that tight wetsuit and all I hear from Dan in the back is “Oh shit I’m going over!” to which I turn and see him flying off the side of the kayak. He pops back up between waves and me not knowing what to do in this situation just staying in the kayak and him yelling “you’re going over on this one!” and sure enough, the next wave, despite my efforts to stay in I was thrown off the side and got tossed around a bit with the kayak rolling over top of me and finally popping up to see the paddles and kayak floating about 10 feet from me and Dan frantically looking for me. I wasn’t hurt one bit but I was a wee bit shaken up from it so Dan just grabbed my hand, shoved the paddles in my other hand and dragged me and kayak back to land. After reassuring everyone that we were all good, we just had to laugh and say “THAT WAS SO AWESOME” and continue to retell the story from our point of view. Unfortunately no one else tried to go out on the kayak because the waves were just too strong, we instead grabbed the surfboards and rugby ball and played around for a bit on the beach and in the water despite the sun not being out at all, it was still fun. 

After drying off and putting on many layers to warm up, having a quick cat nap time, we made some burgers for dinner and tried to gather as much dry wood as we could before one of our camping partners gave us a giant machete to demolish some of the trees around us for our fire that night. We tried or about and hour and half to get our fire started and getting more and more frustrated (hence; more and more wine) before we finally got the fire started with some help from our machete friends. A lot of sitting around the fire and hanging out with every body before it was time for bed again.

Sunday morning we all woke up to watch the sunrise, which was gorgeous, and had some breakfast before taking down the makeshift tent and normal tent and packing up the car again. Once the car was all packed up again the boys had the idea of checking out some other beaches and hot spots before heading back to Dunedin. We headed down to see Parakanui Falls, which was a short walk and a waterfall. We then stopped at this ropes course that the boys were talking up which ended up being a lot of fun. We were just playing around before we started at the beginning because there was no regulation of it and it was pretty well hidden in the woods. It included us walking on tightropes about 20 feet off the ground, climbing ladders, sliding down poles, balancing, swinging on ropes and sliding through wooden triangles (my favourite, NOT) and many other activities on this old ropes course. After completing many of the activities we got back in the car, did some “donuts” on the beach (which was hilarious with 5 people in the car) and stopped at one more beach and Nugget Point and saw the gorgeous lighthouse and rock formations before heading home. 

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