25-August - Kayaking
24 August 2019
With The St Davids Peninsular surrounded on 3 sides by water, it is not surprising that we have some of the best Kayaking in Europe. With beautiful little fishing harbours, secluded beaches, high cliffs and majestic islands the coast line on the Western tip of Wales really does have it all. This trip is ideal for families and those wanting a leisurely paddle around the spectacular coast line, whilst exploring the caves and inlets. There’s no better way to enjoy the natural beauty of the North Pembrokeshire Peninsular!
The following history of sea kayaking, refers to European-style canoes and kayaks. Elsdon Best’s classic treatise The Maori Canoe, first published in 1925 and reprinted in 1976, contains detailed descriptions of the construction and types of vessels used by the Maori. Vaka Moana edited by K.R. Howe, 2006, reprint 2008, has a list of Further Reading concerning canoes coming to and being used in New Zealand. In the following, years given are the start of an event or trip. 1870 The Wellington Tainui Club, founded in 1870, is recorded as the first canoe club in New Zealand. From 1880 on, members made regular holiday trips to the Pelorus and Queen Charlotte Sounds. 1886 When the Hokitika Canoe Club was formed on 25 August 1886. Its first commodore was F.E. Clark who, 20 years earlier, had constructed the first Rob Roy style canoe seen in the Antipodes, from plans sent to his father in Tasmania by a former schoolmate, John MacGregor. In 1865, after John MacGregor returned to England from a trip to North America, where he had seen bark canoes and skin kayaks, John designed and had built a clinker style, wooden kayak, some 14.5 feet long and weighing 90 pounds, which he named Rob Roy. There are several books about MacGregor and his kayak adventures in Europe and Africa, plus lecture tours in Britain and overseas. This led to a growing level of interest in river and sea kayaking worldwide including New Zealand.
The first solo Cook Strait crossing was achieved in 1896 by 16 year old H.V. Shearman in a cedar 18 foot long Rob Roy kayak fitted with a lug sail. Prior to the crossing, he had taken out an insurance policy for 100 pounds for his mother in case, “I kissed myself goodnight.” 1950-1960 In the post WWII era, Aucklander Ray Forno is acknowledged as the most enterprising sea kayaker. Ray undertook solo trips from Auckland to Great Barrier Island and from Oamaru to Christchurch. 1977 The modern era of sea kayaking in fibreglass Eskimo style kayaks began in 1977. Sisson Kayaks negotiated to build the Nordkapp sea kayak under a one-time royalty licence. With the arrival of the Nordkapp mould in New Zealand, three were built for Nelson Canoe Club paddlers, Vic Hague, Brian Joyce and Brian Ogden, aiming to paddle around the Fiordland Coast from Jackson Bay to Te Waewae Bay. In mid-August 1977 the trio set off from Jackson Bay but after battling bad weather, big surf and seas, they pulled out at Milford Sound. In December 1977, Max Reynolds and Paul Caffyn set off from Te Waewae Bay around the Fiordland coast and limped into Jackson Bay 27 days later, both adamant that their next trip would be across the Sahara Desert, as far away from the sea as possible. 1978 Two weeks later, Paul set off solo from Jackson Bay and with a shore-based support party following. He completed the first circumnavigation of the South Island on 24 April 1978. His story of the journey Obscured By Waves was first published in 1979. Paul at New Brighton Beach The following summer, 24 December, Paul set off from Makara Beach to circumnavigate the North Island. He completed the solo 1,700 mile trip around the North Island, at Makara on 16 March 1979. To return home he finished with a three hour crossing of Cook Strait. The story was published as Cresting the Restless Waves in 1987. His trip took 86 days, with 63 paddling days and 23 either weather-bound or rest days.