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Trip: Taylors Mistake
Saturday August 9 2008 10:34:00 PM
Date: from Aug 10, 2008 to Aug 10, 2008
Surf trip description:
Hot August nights in California and no surf, so here is a trip way down under!
Mid winter, East Coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Cold gray morning with low dark clouds that promised rain or worse as we drove from Christchurch over the hills to Taylor's Mistake which is located between Whitewash Head and Penguin Point. Even the apple orchards by the side of the wet narrow country road looked bleak and devoid of color.
(The name is said to have been given when Captain Taylor of the US ship Vulga mistook the bay for the entrance to Lyttelton Harbour. Though more likely it was mistaken as the entrance to Sumner Bay. The Maori name is Te Onepoto, which probably refers to the short strip of sand beach with ground up shells.)
As we cleared a rise we could see the large rocky bay below. Wind was stiff cross-shore and lumpy shifting peaks rolled in from the South Polar Ocean. By the time we hit the cold wet sand snow flurries stung our cheeks. Back in the day the only wet suit was a simple zip up bare arm vest so thus clad we paddled out by the northerly point. The water felt warm even thought it was a chilly 48F compared to the air, which with the wind chill factor was probably 28F!
Waiting for sets you jumped off your board and immersed your body up to your nose ... it was so cold that the old paraffin wax on our boards froze solid and became as slippery as blue ice. My buddy took off on a big peak hit the bottom, turned and started to walk when his feet slipped out from under him and he caught a nut cracker rail sandwich. As we helped him from the water we were all turning blue our hands and feet totally numb as we crunched through the now snow covered sand. Huddled close in the car and shivering uncontrollably even with the heater going full blast we drove back to town in what was no doubt the coldest most miserable session ever!
Christchurch kayaker Peter Adams and companion Colin Ross were returning from a trip round the Canterbury coast when they saw a gaint whale.
"It was pretty damn big," Adams said.
The pair were kayaking between the Taylors Mistake beach to the Boulder Bay walkway when they first noticed the nine-to-12m creature.
"It was about 2pm and all the people up on the hills were watching it. At first we didn't know what they were looking at, but then we looked below us and there it was. It was within about 20 or 30m of the rocks.
"It never came out of the water and it was moving really slowly. It would come up and float near the surface for a minute or two. We could see where it was going because of where the tail was in the water."
Adams, a training manager of Papanui, said it was about a metre below him.
"It didn't even seem to notice we were there," he said.
Adams said he believed it may have been a southern right whale.
Southern right whales, or tohora, are distinguished by a long arching mouth that begins above the eye, and also can be identified by the lack of a dorsal fin.
They exist throughout the southern hemisphere and are seen around mainland New Zealand during the breeding season in winter and spring. The whales grow to over 15 meters ... that's 50 feet folks!
Modified: Sunday August 10 2008 07:16:12 PM