Posts Tagged ‘kayaking’

As I exhaustedly laid down in the sand on an uninhabited island in the middle of the Atlantic, I thought to myself, “I think I’ve made a huge mistake and bitten off more than I can chew.”  I had spent 4 days island hopping from island to island in the Bahamas.  That sounds like paradise, right?

Bahamas

Well as usual, I decided to take my trip to the extreme and kayak by myself from island to island.  No, I’m not a professional kayaker.  I did get my Eagle in Boy Scouts, but it wasn’t for my navigation skills!  And let’s just say more than 1 person told me I was crazy.  “A storm could capsize you!”  “You could get lost!”  ‘What if you get injured?”  “A shark could jump out of the water and bite your head off”…well no one said that one, but by the time I left for my trip every other scenario had been covered.

To put my friends, family, co-workers, and random people who heard about my trip minds at ease, I would tell them my training regiment.  I went kayaking everyday either on Lake Houston or Galveston.  Some days I went to my parents’ pool and would practice capsizing, flipping the kayak over, and getting back in.  Unfortunately, I must admit I didn’t think about how ridiculous I looked until the neighbors came over and started laughing.  And no, trying to explain to them what I was doing didn’t help.  But nothing prepared me more than trying to make a fire with two pieces of wood.  It’s a lot harder then I thought and a skill I never used.

Although practicing increased my confidence in my kayaking ability, I definitely underestimated the amount of energy this trip would require.  Everyday I had to take down camp, pack it in the kayak, kayak, set camp up, prepare meals, and get fires started.  By the fourth day I was exhausted and thought to myself, “I think I’ve made a huge mistake and bitten off more than I can chew.”  After passing out for probably an hour or two under a palm tree, I woke up and went swimming to cool off.  As I look around I was amazed.  There were no boats, people, or houses around.  It was just me and nature.  A huge smile came over my face.  This was a once in a lifetime experience.  To be alone on a beautiful island, swimming in crystal clear water with no one else around.

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Right then I realized that although this trip was really crazy, I felt a great sense of accomplishment in having come up with a unique trip and following through with it.  It was incredible to kayak with dolphins or snorkel and see a small black tip reef shark or sleep on the beach under a palm tree.  I will admit, for some this trip may not seem that crazy or hard.  For me however, it is the craziest trip I have ever taken and the best huge mistake of my life.

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Having just wrote about bungy jumping, I thought this weeks travel tip should be directed towards thrill seekers.  If you are looking for a place designed for adventure, then New Zealand is your destination.  It has everything from sky diving to ice climbing to surfing.  I spent a month enjoying all New Zealand has to offer, and it still was not enough.

My suggestions of things to do come from my experience in New Zealand, if anyone else has other suggestions or differs in opinion please leave a comment.  I won’t put everything I did, but just some New Zealand must-dos.

I went bungy jumping on Auckland Bridge through AJ Hackett.  The reason I chose there was because it was fairly cheap and offered a great view of Auckland.  I would also recommend going to the top of Sky Tower.

Rotorua has some great cultural shows and the Luge.  I would highly recommend the advance course on the luge.  My friends and I raced on that course and at the end there is a place where you can get some crazy speed and air.

My favorite place was on the south island called Abel Tasman (I will be blogging about it in the future).  The kayaking was amazing and the ocean is an unreal blue.  There is a feeling of being lost in nature while in the park.  I got to enjoy the scenery even more when I went skydiving right next to the ocean.

I went hiking on Franz Josef glacier and ice climbing on Fox Glacier.  In my opinion, you only need to do one of the glaciers, but whichever glacier you choose, go ice climbing!  It is a lot of fun and ice climbing gave me an entirely different perspective of the glacier. At the end of ice climbing, I got to go down a crevasse and climb out of it.  It was crazy to be surrounded by kool-aid blue ice with no one else around.

The last thing I am going to recommend is Milford and Doubtful Sound.  I only took a boat ride around each, but I heard the hiking there is amazing.  Unfortunately, I was there during the winter so I couldn’t do any hiking.  I would choose to do one or the other even though the are very different from each other.  My personal preference would be Milford Sound, but it’s up to you.

One last suggestion, don’t do any activities in Queenstown.  I found that everything adventurous there was a lot more expensive than the rest of New Zealand.  It is up to you, but if you are trying to save money there are a lot of places that offer the same activities for less.  Don’t forget that New Zealand is south of the hemisphere so their seasons are the opposite of the northern hemispheres.

Let me know what you think of my Travel Tips.  If you have any suggestions, questions, or want a specific travel tip leave a comment.