All For One ...
As the new girl on the block I am instructed that as part of my initiation to VUCC I am required to write the trip report for the inaugural Mighty Mohaka Trip. I am assured that this task is steeped in vuccken tradition and being all for tradition I accepted the task with foreboding excitement. I was even fortunate enough to have a deadline set for me just so I wouldn't lose the whole "Vibe" of the trip!
Once upon a time there were 7 young Vuccaneers of all sorts and backgrounds who decided in the sanctity of their practice field, magnanimously named the "Freyberg", that they would venture forth past the gorge to uncharted territory in the Bay of Hawkes.
Hence a plan was hatched and nicely timed to coincide with the other paddling soldiers' final inquisitions. Consequently their intentions became a source of little amusement especially for some peasant folk. The disquiet reared its ugly head as the brave soldiers prepared to depart their primitive equipment enclosure underneath the castle where taunts and jeers were hurtled in their direction.
After the short delay (nothing to do with vuccken organisational skills) the Vuccaneers set off in their trusty steeds with their admirable equipment and weapons of choice crammed into every orifice.
The horses selected for this journey belonged to Vuccaneer Stew, with his fine stallion Hondacivikie, and Sir Duncan with his virginal filly Tokyo Subaru. They both appeared reliable creatures and definitely worthy of being ridden. The Vuccaneers had decided for tactical reasons that one would take the high road the other the low road and then they would meet again in the Viking Capital of Danne-vegas.
Unfortunately Tokyo Subaru was drawn to a halt in a little village called Masterton as Vuccaneer Knickerless smelt a 10 dollar roast cooking on a local hearth. He considered it rude to bypass with out indulging in this feast and so the group was pulled to a stop. After reaching absolute blissful satiety they returned to mount Tokyo Subaru to find he was dead. No light in his eyes, no spark in his plug so we hit the pavement to give him a lug. No sooner did we stick our hands on his butt than the local townspeople flocked into the streets offering gifts of tow ropes, pushes and jumpers leads.
Impressed with the reactions of this fair town they left with smiles on their dials and food in their thumbs. Now though team Tokyo Subaru were rather behind the other Vuccaneers so in order not to hold up the convoy they communicated via analogical smoke signals and told the others to push on to the Bay of Hawkes and set up the camp at the Brown's. Tokyo Subaru finally arrived at the homestead a little before the stroke of 12 to find the straw had been laid down for a good night's sleep and the woman of the house had coffee brewing and chocolate cake baking. (What a lovely women, I'll bet her first born is absolutely amazing as well)
I am told that this kind of treatment confirmed the legend of Hawke's Bay hospitality and subsequently the Brown's left a lasting impression on the Vuccaneers.
The Vuccaneers arose the next morn to find Sir Duncan's horse had died once again. Artificial shock treatment was implemented and Tokyo was temporarily resuscitated before being taken to the Auto-Vet for a new heart. The surgery complete Tokyo Subaru became like a beast reborn. Go Tokyo Subaru.
As the sun crept faster across the morning sky we were aware that waiting for us at a near by castle were 4 local knights, Tarzan Timon and Jane. They were going to join the Vuccaneers for their first day on the Mighty Mohaka Trip. Although the Vuccaneers had been way laid by Tokyo's trouble nobody seemed to mind the wait because it was such a beautiful day in the Bay.
Now personally as the newest Vuccaneer (fifth time caller, long time listener) I thoroughly enjoyed the day meandering down the waterway taking in the Peter Jackson style sights and pondering life's battles. It was a change in pace for some but well appreciated by all.
The highlight for me was the 50 foot high bank that 6 Vuccaneers and 2 local knights seal launched off. Unfortunately though there was a casualty as a result of this tom foolery, Vuccaneer Stew over corrected and face planted into the raging torrent and came out with a rather red epidermis....doh amigo. I tried to console him but in true Vuccaneer style he battled on.
The Vuccaneers exited the water some 5 hours later and camp was set up for the night at the animal dehairers quarters on the banks of the Mighty Mohaka. With the beds ready and the sun still retaining plenty of heat the Vuccaneers sat on their porch drinking juniper berry juice, the Dionysian drop and some malted amber liquid while consuming chicken livers and crackers.
The Vuccaneers then remembered that there was a big sporting final on that evening and there was no theatre close by to watch the Storm with Violent Wind play the Jaffas. Some good kiwi improvisation was implemented with Knickerless, Rowanne and Care-re transforming themselves in to the actors in this production. They definitively reproduced every dive and tackle, putting their bodies on the line for the others amusement. Needless to say it was a less than memorable game, but one to go down in the history books as the year the Storm with the Violent Wind came so close.
The call of the evening though had to go to Knickerless for his response to Stew's observation that it was good to see that I had shaved my legs for the trip. While still contemplating why Stew was looking at my legs Knic exclaimed "Stew, no.....you have to look at a woman as a whole". Now I would have been more than happy to revel in this chivalrous comment if it wasn't for Care-re who deleted the second 'w' in Knickerless' sentence, bringing the tone of the conversation right down to gutter levels.
After the palava quietened down a feast of durum wheat and tomatoes was laid before the Vuccaneers by Sir Duncan and his right hand Eaon. This feast was followed by an exquisite chocolate pudding whipped up by Stew and Liberty. A bit under the influence we all retired to our respective quarters, except Sir Duncan who vigilantly kept guard all night on the deck. The logic of this action escaped the Vuccaneers but they did not complain because there was some pretty mean sounding (and vuccing annoying) ravens out there to be protected from.
The next morning with the horses all rested and prepared for the long shuttle we set off. While some Vuccaneers tended the shuttle, Knickerless, Rowanne, Care-re and Liberty entertained themselves with an excellent piece of literature that goes by the initials FHM.
The paddling was a bit more interesting on Day 2. Liberty checked out if the fishing was good and her suspicions where confirmed a couple of times. She even managed to slice herself open with a little help from Vuccaneer compatriot Knickerless who cut in front of her just as she was about to go through a narrow drop. Never fear though Nurse Eaon was at hand to ensure the First Aid kit got its first workout of the trip.
By far the most challenging event of the day for me was the extremely high Te Hoe drop. Even though there was some scouting and carefully arranged battle plans set out, I ended up being flipped over just before the drop. A resounding holy VUCC swirled around my head as I headed on the path of the full McEwan. At the last second I managed to roll up finding I am not where I want to be but its too late and a half McEwan it was. Not graceful, but I lived to tell the tale.
Precipitation began to fall rather steadily as we departed this section, forcing a change in plans. Instead of camping beside a river in the rain the Vuccaneers headed back to the Brown's for lashings of flatbread covered with a variety of toppings and a soak in a hot bubbling pool. It is a tough life I tell you.
Another night in the extremely comfortable Brown homestead was spent and the plan was set to paddle a third section of the Mighty Mohaka. At this point I departed the more experienced Vuccaneers company opting to go do some hunting and gathering in the Pacific Ocean. So I have invited another brother from the fold to make an entry in this Vuccaneers Log.....
Vuccaneer Log Guest Entry
Following much liquor induced debate and banter by the fold the decision was made run the Lower Gorge section of the Mighty Mohaka. Unfortunately I got the impression that our Hawkes Bay friends thought we were a little nuts, or a best slightly eccentric and they declined the many invitations to join us for this little jaunt, citing the many terrors of Long Rapid as an excuse. Fortunately there were more than enough Vuccaneers prepared to do it alone.
After leaving Ms Liberty Brown at home to undertake a hunter-gather role, Rowanne, Caree, Knickerless, Sir Duncan and I left Taradale for the shuttle from Nam. We arrived at the get out at around 11:00 am, loaded all the boats onto Sir Duncan's well endowed Tokyo Subaru, strip down to our briefs and headed off (the latter essentially done to minimise onboard weight and not as has been subsequently suggested by others as some sort of sleazy gawk feast). We arrived at the get in an hour later after much wagon crunching fun and intermittent dashes by Knickerless proudly showing off his skimpy little poly-pro number to the delight of the on-looking locals at each closed gate way. Finally after Rowanne's proud reenactment of `look at me I'm a little fire truck' and the regulatory salami sandwiches we head off down the river.
The first stage of the section was quite flat - lulling the unaware into a false sense of calm and comfort. This lasted until Sir Duncan directed us to eddy out at the top of long rapid. We scouted the start of the rapid from the top of some large boulders (as the name suggests the rapid is quite long and winds its way down through a gorge affording the intrepid paddler only tantalizingly small glimpse of the whole rapid) picked our paths and headed back to our boats and down the first section. Of the rivers I have paddled I would say it was very similar to the middle Earthquake Section of the Matakitaki, i.e. it had large boulder gardens and pour overs to play in. After paddling the first pour over and experiencing my first tail stand for the day with a brief glimpse and pray to the heavens as I flipped over backwards and landed on my head I quickly learnt the advantages of leaning forward as one paddles over pour overs. Fortunately the remainder of Long Rapid was largely uneventful in terms of my involvement although true to form Caree managed to go through every hole there ever was, while Sir Duncan managed to get temporarily pinned half way down the rapid - although to his credit he managed to get free without any external assistance.
The scenery after exiting Long Rapid was something else with vast tall cliffs up either side of the river - a real bummer if you had to walk out - and huge boulders with names like "Hotel Rock" further down and yes these boulders were HUGE. Unfortunately as the day progressed and it got a little late all we could think about was the get out. At this point Caree decided to change codes and practice her DR skills and go for it down to the get out with Rowanne paddling like a crazy man to catch her up. Unfortunately this is where things started going a little wrong with people getting a little sloppy - yours truly managed to get pinned for a moment and then managed to top that act off by travelling down a chute upside down and back to front. So a mental note to EVERYONE even if you do get tired toward the end of a long section don't get lax or you could quite easily screw things up and getting yourself, and perhaps even more importantly other people into potentially dangerous situations.
A final noteworthy event that occurred on the trip was when we encountered a particularly nasty pour-over toward the end of the section. At this point two quite large half-buried boulders (ie each about the size of a bus) had choked the river leaving only two nasty little chutes to run. Here we saw much arm waving and shouting with Rowanne "I can run any rapid in the world" Biggs on one side of the river having frank discussions with Knickerless "there is a big f**k-off undercut waiting to swallow you up at the bottom" Smith on the other side of the river, about the merits of running the chutes. Fortunately after half an hour of scoping out the rapid common sense prevailed and we ended up practicing our seal launches off one of the boulders instead. Fortunately the get out wasn't far below this rapid as by this time everyone was getting quite tired and ready to go home.
We reached the get out at around 6:00 pm, packed up our gear, did the shuttle and headed back to Taradale to find that Libby's day had been well spent gathering yummy treats for our dinner. Thanks Libby.
Yeah, thanks for your contribution too, Stew.
Anyway, once I had fed the tired Vuccaneers with my successful paua catch-of-the-day and vegetarian patties we got on the road to head back to the Castle.
The trip back to back was a long one and all the Vuccaneers were exhausted. This was evident when Tokyo Subaru lost its load out the back of Palmerston North. We heard a thud but didn't really pay much attention. However Knickerless turned around to see a boat spinning in the middle of the road. Intelligently, the driver with out slamming on the brakes and losing the rest of the load quietly pulled over and the steed was retied by the moonlight. Very romantic. Tokyo Subaru arrived back in the capital at about 1am safe and sound and Liberty had the luxury time of 4 hours sleep before having to rise and face the dawn of yet another day in the real world.
This report is not a 100% accurate account of the Mighty Mohaka Trip; the people mentioned are actors, names have been changed to protect their identities and no animals were harmed in the making of this trip. Libby Brown cannot be held liable for anything written in this report and does not take any responsibility for its repercussions.
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