Inflatable Canoeing Adventures - Buy this eBook!

Most of us can relate to the fun we had canoeing at summer camp when we were young. But that was nothing compared to the experience of whitewater kayaking that came next for me. I have always loved canoeing, though it always seemed difficult to participate. It has only been in the last decade that the development of inflatable canoes has made a big difference. You can more easily access rivers, you can store a canoe in your car, you can even take them on a plane. They are very light, very cheap, with little loss of functionality. Perfect for weekends away or campervan holidays. Social networking was the other big change. You can now use Facebook, etc to join canoeing adventures in your local region or abroad.

Inflatable Canoeing Adventures - view the table of contents! Click here to download the table of contents for this eBook, available for just $US7.95.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Inflatable canoeing on the Manuwatu River, NZ

The Manuwatu River cuts its way through the Manuwatu Ranges, immediately NE of Palmerston North, 1 hour from Wanganui. The lower section described provides a suitable place to learn canoeing with instruction. The best support comes from one of the local clubs, or even scout groups for kids.
Entry point: There are two possible entry points.
The 1st entry is along the Masterton-Napier road crosses the river at Ngawarupoa(?). This upper section is grade 1-2, though it hosts a lot of willows, and for that reason good techical skills will be required to canoe this section. Entry to the river is easy because the river is crossed by the public road.
The 2nd entry for the second section starts just above the gorge. Coming from Palmerston North, there is a bridge as you emerge from the gorge, take a track off to the south. This track is through public common area. Drive along the track until you reach the river.

Our group mostly used fixed hull canoes and kayaks, however I was using my inflatable Sevlor Tahiti canoe. This river is not really suitable for inflatables in one respect - it is very windy under most conditions. The Manuwatu Ranges is home to many of NZ's wind farms. For this reason, it is not suitable. Contrary to expectation, the gorge area is not always sheltered from these winds, but can actually act as a conduit for them. If you are using an inflatable I suggest judging whether its better to follow the edge of the river (for shelter) or stay mid-stream to utilise the speed of the current. It is also advisable to use both seats, so your canoe sits lower, or to place a heavy carry bag in the front. Otherwise try to position yourself in the middle. If you sit at the back the front tends to catch in the wind. The more you can distribute your weight along the canoe the better. The less water in your canoe the better, so tip out any water if you stop. There were a few areas where we were fighting winds.

This gorge is not particularly scenic, though it was a good river to introduce my partner to canoeing. It was also a good opportunity to test two canoes that we had bought 2nd hand. Fortunately both worked, except for a slow leak in one compartment. Clearly the previous owner was too lazy to fit it. I have found you get a leak about one-in-ten times I go canoeing, and its easier to fix a leak than portage a fixed hull canoe around a rapid. Try slipping on some rock with a heavy canoe compared to a light air mattress.

If you are interested in learning more about how to canoe with inflatables - we have written an eBook on the topic - Inflatable Canoeing Adventures. We have used these Sevylor inflatables in Japan, NZ and Australia so far. The attraction is the functionality of the canoes, their lightness and compactibility, so you can pack them in the back of a car or even take them on a train, as I did in Japan. I think activity like canoeing adds an extra dimension to a holiday experience. i.e. Like mountain biking across the Himalayas. I'm not writing a book about that though...pity the sucker who does.

The following map provides location guidance.

View Canoeing trips in a larger map
Andrew Sheldon
Wanganui, New Zealand

No comments: