Hey everybody. Well it finally happened... I started an actual website. This means that there will be no more updates posted here but all the latest happenings in my world can be found at www.allovertheshow.co.nz. I hope you all enjoy my site.
Sunday, 5 July 2009
So I'm soon back to work for another month... sigh. But here is a quick roundup of how my two weeks in Norway panned out.
ESKTREMSPORT VEKO: Classic times as expected. On my first morning in voss I teemed up with a British crew and we had a high water blatt down the Lower Myrdalselvi (click here for some pics) which turned out to be a little more 'full-on' than any of us really signed up for. Top start to the week, right what's next? Ah yes partying... and that pretty much filled the rest of the week.
Thanks to Colin filming there is some good video footage of me getting spanked on this run... it is good to take your medicine though because if you don't take your medicine you might get sick!!
Norwegians are not quite as boisterous on the dance floor was us kiwis and given there was an over representation of us fellas from the deep south we turned a few heads with our impromptu mosh-pit antics. On the Saturday night I had my own private mosh-pit going but I have a suspicion that not everybody around me was as happy about it as I was.
Voss is a good place to just turn up and meet new people... most of the people I hung out with for the week I had not met before arriving including a group of three rowdy ausies. Somehow we seemed to get along in spite of them referring to me simply as 'kiwi' (it's hard to think of that in negative terms though). After getting loud on Thursday night I joined them on a Upper Brandseth run although I probably shouldn't have been in a boat. I managed to get two good hole trashings and had to roll probably a half dozen times in all, oh and broke my boat to but that was coming for a while. Not the best trip ever for me but I did get some good photos which is what you're looking at.
After esktremsports veko was done I headed to Sjoa to hangout at the Australian embassy as the aussie boys dubbed there trailer complete with 'pool room'. High water boating on the Åmot and Skjørva kept the days interesting... maybe a little to interesting for Leon. He got a couple of good rodeo rides but on the plus side he showed me where not to go ;-) The nights were filled with home brew, bbq's and parties. The party shenanigans got a little out of hand on my last night when I got blind sided by a Tasmanian Devil... my shirt will never be the same again!!
Good times all round in Norway once again... this really is a great place so if you haven't been then it's time to make the pilgrimage, especially if you are a boater. Well it is back to work for me... not sure yet but the next mission might be a winter one in godzone.
The result of being was attacked on the sly by a Tasmanian Devil... he might have one the battle but I won the war!!! (Photo: Leon)
Friday, 26 June 2009
Mikey on route to the top qualifying time
So I'm back in Voss for another Esktremsport Veko, my second to date and so far it has been just as good as the last. The sun is blazing, the water levels are up (maybe a little too much), and there are crazy people trying to kill themselves left right and centre!! Even at the kayak downhill competition we were 'swooped' by some sky divers... it seems even on the river people keep dropping out of the sky?!?.
The water fall in the middle of the course... not always so easy to get a fast line on
Base thumping looks awesome but they weren't running a try it and see if you like it program so I didn't 'give it a shot' and same for sky dying. Maybe I'll do a course some time... they don't really seem like the sort of sports that one can purchase the gear and just have nudge at. Something about the laws of gravity being the same for beginners and experts alike... some guy tried to explain it to me but I didn't really follow what he was on about. Oh and most of the other sports have races to see who can get down the fastest (like kayaking - fastest down wins) so why is there not a similar competition in sky dying?!? The rules would be quite simple - first guy to make it inside the finishing circle (alive) wins... I think it really has some spectator potential.
Anyway moving on to the kayaking as that is what all the pictures are of. Yes I did make up the numbers (can't claim to have competed) with a mid field finish from a rather average run. Eddying out is my secret to a slow time although it is not as glamourous as the tricks of others such as sliding backwards in the slot at the end. I did try that one two years ago though and it is a good wee time taker. You could really tell some people had put some effort into there slow times though, maybe even some practising. I think eddying out and rolling just above the waterfall was the most creative way I saw to add seconds to the clock... maybe I'll give that a shot next year. The real key to an outstandingly average time however is not practising combined with heavy partying the night before!! Works a charm
The race turned out to be a good one for the kiwi's with Sam and Mikey both on the podium and Sam had the fastest run of the day by a couple of seconds but just got piped on combined times. Top work fellows and don't worry I'll be 'not' practising for next year.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
There goes that crazy french man... look out!!
My buddy Luc, or the crazy french man as he is known in our circle of friends, is back in France and seeing as I have not been to France before I figured that he would be the perfect person to introduce me to a country I have heard many stereotypes about.
Krzysztof on line to glory
In standard fashion I didn't really organise any of the finer details like the address of the house we were staying or how I was going to get there. I took a train to Grenoble and figured I would text Luc when I got arrived and magically it would all be all right... quick bit of advice for the future - make sure that your phone is going to work before you attempt this approach. After that hiccup was straightened out we had a few beers, a nights sleep and headed up into the French Alps for a weekend boating mission.
Krzysztof, our guide for the weekend found us some sweet wee class 3-4 luge runs. Nothing stressful, just quality white water and beautiful scenery... perfect. That night I got to practice my French (well... my French laugh that is) while hanging out with the Grenoble kayak club who despite no one really speaking English made rather good company... or perhaps I was just drunk and having my own fun (the beers were very much cold and the G&T's very much G).
Three runs the first day, two runs the second, one swim (don't worry Luc I wont mention any names), and good times all round. I finished off my flying trip to France by visiting the other crazy french man I know, Franck who fed me like a king. That is one stereotype that is very much true about France: the food is great and the cheese amazing.
Cheers for the adventures guys, vous voir la prochaine fois
Wednesday, 10 June 2009
Looking up to the Jungfrau... pretty sweet mountain to be kayaking in the shadow of
Right now I'm hanging out in picturesque mountains of Switzerland. Work is over for another month and it is play time and what better place to start than crashing on Fraenzi's couch in the adventure tourist hot spot that is Interlaken. Balmers provided the entertainment by night and the days were filled with 'whatever' and that sometimes included kayaking on the Weisse Lutschine.
Oh my god it's thee Eden Sinclair... he's a pretty big deal around here!!
Eden and I managed to drag Stu away from his womanising long enough to go boating and through some inventive borrowing of gear we had enough kit and a crew to make it happen. First step... catch the train. It certainly is the first time that I have taken the train to go boating but they have them everywhere in this country so it makes sense... I guess. The train stops at Lauterbrunnen about 200m form our put in - a luge track!!
Eden making himself streamlined... maybe stupid fast wasn't fast enough for him!!
It is I... and dam I make this shit look good
Step two: put on. Doesn't sound so unusual... until you relies that the put-in is a water race complete with turns, low hanging branches, and even a small drop!! I took Eden's word for it that it was "sweet as bro" and heeded his advice that it would be unwise to roll - "just don't flip", cheers for the heads up. One question was nagging in the back of my mind though, "how do I steer" but apparently that is easy - "you just bounce off the walls"... glad I asked!!
Styling the boof -stomp... but hey I'm a pretty big deal around here
Step three: paddle the river. Finally some normality... by this stage I was half expecting to be told that we actually paddle this one up stream... fortunately the river was just good quality white water. Until the catch that is... you have to walk a section because it is illegal to paddle it. Well I guess I shouldn't have expected anything less on this trip!!
The level was kind and the stupid hole that I saw here two years ago was nothing but a playful pussy cat
Step five: paddle out. Yes I know I skipped step four but it was just some running, some good luck to get our boat shuttled for us, and some annoyance that a bunch of fisherman had prevented us paddling a sweet looking rapid. Moving on - the paddle out is just that a paddle out but it finishes 50m from Fraenzi's place so I can't complain. Another first for me, to paddle back to the house I'm staying at... like I said not your average trip but great fun all the same. The photos are from a few days later and they tell the same story... I have to apologise though as I have forgotten the name of the person who took the pictures, cheers for the effort though. Ka kite :-)
The rapids below the weir drop... not too shabby
Monday, 27 April 2009
Driving into Milford Sound
So my trip back home has turned into one long road trip, the river gods of The Coast decided that kayakers had already had there share of perfect flows for the season and having sampled the boating at its best in years past I opted out of the low water scrape that was on offer and headed in the opposite direction with a new ally Ine (a backpacker Crusty and I commandeered during are goon train adventures that we shall not speak of).
It is all too easy to ignore the places close to home that are 'easy' to go to anytime. Before you know it they are not close to home anymore and you never went! One such place for me is the bottom of the South Island. In particular the Catlins so I was happy to be given a chance to redeem my previous apathy and mission it south in my trusty van, complete with 4WD stickers and all. 4WD stickers really are the way forward... it is like being given a free licence to drive places you really shouldn't without having to put up with the judging steers of those who have to help pull you out... "Cheers for the help mate... I would have got back up there but the 4WD broke (heeheehee)". The best part about the van though has to be the sweet as bed in the back... no camping in a tent for me, that's sooo last millennium.
Our tour de south took us form Queenstown to the bottom (with mandatory stop in Milford Sound), around the bottom to Bluff, back up through the Catlins, inwards to the southern lakes and Aoraki, and finally through Arthur's Pass to the Coast. At times it was like travelling with another kiwi as Ine is pretty apt at taking the piss, something we kiwis pride ourselves on, so if I ever started to go on about how much I love being in New Zealand, Ine would begin telling me how great Australia is or try to make Belgium sound like there was more to it than beer and chocolate... yeah right. Ine never could tell me who the president of Europe was though... "It's the country you come from, how do you not know?!?" Good times all round ;-)
Ine having a stand-off with a kea. It lasted until the kea got board and started investigating what he could steel from my van
We learnt some important lessons in Fiordland such as the camping is free if they catch you in the morning. Apparently you have to pay or leave if they catch you in the evening because they can 'evict' you but that doesn't really work in the morning... "yeah sweet as mate we're leaving anyway". Parking the van out of site is also a good approach to avoiding the unwelcome and introduced pests that are the DOC rangers. However you may need the 4WD stickers for this to be plausible.
Fiordland rain forest
The bottom of New Zealand is well worth the effort to go and see and that goes doubly for the Catlins. South Westland is my favourite spot but the Catlins are an equal match with rain forest right beside the coast... all it needs is some world class creeking and I would have serious trouble choosing between the two. We found plenty of waterfalls, beautiful beaches, and even caves at the bottom of sea cliffs. My camera battery ran out of juice just before we arrived so I don't have any photos to show you... perhaps another time.
Mitre Peak - Milford Sound
Having completed our tour de south we headed to the Coast to catch up with thee Eden Sinclair. It was the first time I have seen Eden since he left Norway after we were there for five months, over two years ago, so made for quite an emotional reunion... ok so actually we just got pissed and talked shit like always. Eden was kind enough however to show us his 'secret' spot for gold panning and the three of us slaved away for an afternoon to secure no less that 1.5 grams of of the shinny stuff with a street value for up to 50 kiwi rupees... hmmm you might have to rethink your retirement plan buddy. Well at least Ine has a nice souvenir to remember how pointless hard work is.
Moss covered beech forests
So all in all New Zealand has continued to treat me well, I had a great time just by being here. The really beauty of the place is in the photos though so I'll let them tell the story of my travels. I will offer one piece of advice however for anyone travelling with someone form Belgium... don't call them German... well actually do, it's pretty funny (just be prepared for retaliation hahaha). Ahh good times Ine, your welcome back in New Zealand any time :-) Ka kite
Crazy fungus... Ine was to scary to try and eat it despite my reassurance that she would be 'cool' if she did
Wicked starry sky... I think it is the little things like being able to see this many stars which makes New Zealand such an amazing place
Nothing in particular, I just like this photo
Ine learning about waves... they are the things that wash up the beach and get your shoes and pants wet when you stand in the wrong place
Moraine from the Tasman Glacier at Aoraki
Heading towards Arthur's Pass
Walking into Punch Bowl falls
Punch Bowl falls
An old rimu tree... one of my favourite types of tree on the Coast
Chilling in the Hokitika Gorge... good times
Friday, 10 April 2009
Crutsy doing... well you can decide for yourself!!
"Stuff this Crusty... turning right is not happening, we're going left!" I exclaimed after waiting not so patiently for nearly ten minutes at an intersection with constant rush hour traffic. Not the best time to leave Christchurch but when you only decide the 'roadtrip' is a go at 4:00pm there is not always so much choice in the departure time. "So where does left take take us then Crusty?" I ask all ready knowing the answer. "To the coast au" is his response empathised in colourful kiwi slang which I have missed so much while overseas... something tells me that good times await.
On the road
THE FIRST RULE OF ROAD TRIP: The two of us left Christchurch on a Wednesday afternoon with a van full of toys, fresh vegetables from Crusty's garden, top work Crusty, and a plan that hadn't progressed past leaving the city. The decision to head to the coast was made for us by our inability to turn right at an intersection and that is how the rest of the trip would would pan out. This is also when we decided that 'the first rule of road trip is... you do not talk about road trip' thus ensuring that the randomness would continue. And so there we were headed to the coast and into the unknown with neither of us truly prepared for what lay ahead.
Crutsy is sponsored don't you know... by Nippy's
ROCK SCISSORS PAPER: "Good old rock... nothing beats rock!!" I chuckled to myself as I cruzed round a sweeping left bend having just one and in the process decided that we would head south and not north at the first junction we had seen since leaving Christchurch nearly three hours ago. We hulled up for the night in the small South Westland town of Franz Joseph and set about making our presents known to all in sundry. The Kiwi Experience bus was in town, as it always is, and the drunken Europeans kept the atmosphere lively while the locals add a sharp contrast and made the place feel real. Crusty made 'not' friends with some fishermen passing through by discussing quoters but fortunately the locals were far more accommodating. I started talking shit with a helicopter pilot and as the beers drained we invented a new challenge of sorts, kind of like a real life survivor. The concept was simple, the pilot would drop us in the bush somewhere without much gear (and no idea of where we were) and we had to 'survive'. As fate would have it my new pilot friend was off for a flight in the morning to check out some 'stuff' and was keen for Crusty and I to give the 'survivor' game a nudge. "Sweet as mate... I'm sleeping in the van out there, wake me up" I cheerfully remarked not releasing that he was serious. And so at 6:00am Crusty and I were flown blindfolded into 'somewhere' and had to 'survive'.
Quality West Coast housing
SURVIVOR: Turns out the game is more fun to talk about than to actually play and at times it would be fair to say that we might have, if only a little bit, regretted our impromptu decision. "Well crusty, we got ourselves into this shit... we better get ourselves out of it"... "Soooo where do we start?!?" Our first move was to gain some altitude to get our bearings. This was not so hard as we had been dropped off rather high up and given the abundance of large mountains in South Westland, once we could see them our route to the civilised world become clear as mud... or so we though, it was actually a little murkier. The vantage point from the ridge we were saddling showed what looked like a plausible route down into the valley and out to what was probably the road... probably. The reality however was that descending into the valley got sketchy after about two hours and yet again we were at a junction but rock paper scissors wasn't going to solve. "Crusty old chap... I'm fraid to say old boy that you are going to need a rather large piece os earth moving equipment too get me to take one more step down this damned mountain" I calmly explained to Crusty. "Well Mr Ramsay Sir... I hope you slipped a club ski field rope tow in your back pocket before departing because such a devise will indeed be required to drag me up to the ridge line" Crutsy gently informed me. And so we did the only think we could do - traverse. To shorten a long story (or cut a long story short so to speak) we reached the road just as darkness was descending and started hitching back to Franz Joseph to recover the van and yarn to the pilot of our adventures. For 'surviving' he bought us a beer... top bloke.
Pass the goon bro
Yeah this man's on the goon train
THROWING CAUTION TO THE WIND: Next stop in our adventure was Jackson's Bay and a much quiter pub hidden away from the silly drunken tourists of the kiwi experience bus. The guy who picked us up when we hitched back to Frnaz was on his way to check out a cave that some buddies of his had found where a river apparently flows right through a hill kind of like cave stream but it could be you could float through in on an inner tube. He was impressed with our tails of the game 'survivor' and asked us to join him. "Sweet as mate... see you in Jackson's". So there we were sitting in a different pub, Rain by Dragon blasting on the dukebox, a older women dancing by herself, locals yarning at the bar, and us... discussing a different but no less foolish sounding plan to float under a mountain. "I suppose there are some things you just shouldn't say no to" Crusty summed up the situation and so for the second time in two days all caution was thrown to the wind and we set out on a caving adventure.
Which way is up?!?
CAVE TUBING: Our new friend Matt had a spear tube (Crusty had brought a tube with him... talk about prepared) and so with enough warm gear and a hand torch each we set out on next adventure. The cave wasn't too far, only a couple hours walk so we were soon peering into the vast opening into the mountain apparently which flowed into the next valley. Our plan was to float through the hill and then pretty much all the way back to the car... twas a good plan except that the underground river had different ideas. The level was 'higher' than what I imagine is ideal and had started to form 'rapids'. I do my fair share of throwing myself in amongst class five white water and this was by no means class 5 but when complete darkness and that uneasy sense of eminent death are in the mix, boy the pulse really starts racing. Matt assured us that it would be "sweet as bro"... well "that's all the assurance I need, how about you Crusty?" I asked sarcastically. "Yeah man, if he says it's good then I'm in" Crusty remarked with no less sarcasm in in voice. And so in a funny double bluff gone wrong we all ponyed up and floated into the unknown.
REBIRTH: I emerged from the 20min luge ride into the blindingly bright daylight first. My terror was replaced with a sense of amazement and then laughter as I saw the look on Crusty's face. He exited soon after clinging onto Matt for dear life. A hole had 'eaten' him and then kindly shoved him in an undercut... lucky for Crusty Matt floated past at the same moment and gave Crusty something to hold onto and be dragged out with... Matt's leg. Matt probably though a taniwha had got him because he had some rather wide eyes too. "Classic... now lets never speak of it again!"
New Zealand ROCKS!!
CHICKEN WITH THE BEES: Crusty and I both agreed that we had had enough adventure on our road trip so it was time for some mischief. And as luck would have it we were joined by two German girls hitching around New Zealand... didn't there mummy's teach them not to accept rides from strange kiwis. We started out amusing ourselves with the little things, such as telling them all about our colourful history including killer snow chickens and hobbits. Pretending to drive off with all their stuff got some classic looks on their faces but still they did not take heed. Those Germans are suckers for punishment!! I think we finally convinced them we were not 'ordinary' when we started playing chicken with the bees. It's a simple game involving a hive of bees, a van, and a complete lack of common sense. One person exits the van... runs over the bee hive and bangs on the top five times thus getting the bees considerably 'agitated'. They then run back into the van and it is the next persons turn. The process is repeated until someone chickens out and has to do something predetermined at the start as a result. See fun for the whole family!!
Yeah I know some magic bro!?!
THE FIRST RULE OF ROAD TRIP: So this is where the story ends... and also where it begins!! If you remember the first rule of road trip is - 'you do not talk about road trip' and thus it follows that everything above is a complete work of fiction. "What is the real story?" I hear you ask... sorry cant say, it's a secret ;-)
Check it out... Hobbits