– MARCH 08, 2015
Today we tried our hand at not tipping a kayak. We hooked up with Glacier County Kayak Tours in Franz Josef and they took us out to Lake Mapourika for an afternoon of kayak fun. Jill and I had never been in a kayak before, so this was a new “check” for our bucket lists.
There were four of us on the tour (plus our guide), as we spent a total of 3 hours on the lake. We had some very interesting stories about a special type of kiwi (the official NZ national bird) and how its population had dwindled to only 200. They set up a reserve island and tagged the male Kiwi’s they place there. The male kiwi’s incubate the eggs laid by the female Kiwi’s, so this tracker allows the Department of Conservation to know where the eggs are. The DOC then goes onto the island and picks up the eggs to take them to the DOC West Coast Wildlife Centre.
On the island the eggs only have a 5% chance of survival due to predators. In the DOC West Coast Wildlife Centre they have a 90% chance of survival. After the eggs hatch and the babies have a year to grow and then they are taken back to the island (at this time they can defend themselves from predators).
The kayak tour then took us around the island and into a small waterway where glacier melt created a much colder temperature. Here the guide cut some leaves into pieces and asked each of us to chew on it and try to identify what it was. A few chews brought forth a very spicy sensation, as it turns out these were leaves from a pepper plant. I had never seen a pepper plant before, so this was interesting for us. It definitely carried a spicy kick!
We then backtracked through the small waterway and hit the large open lake again. We had some more ecological discussion about the lake and glacier that feeds it, then paddled our way back to the shore. It was a cool time and more fun than I thought kayaking would be.
Tomorrow we are scheduled to take a helicopter ride to the glacier and then be guided across the glacier to see the natural caves and crevices. Unfortunately the weather is not cooperating at the height of the glacier’s helicopter landing spot, so we’ll know tomorrow at 11am if this trip is cancelled. We are coming up with a plan B if this happens, as we want to hike the glacier. Stay tuned!
For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.