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A Summer of Adventure

The Adventure Wellington Meetup Group has been a hive of activity over the last few months. We’ve only attended a fraction of the events that have been on offer but the following should give a taster of what we’ve been up to.

First up was an overnight trip to Wellington Zoo. Normally the sleepover is taken up by school groups, this was the first time they’d hosted a large group of adults. We were shown around the zoo during the evening and also were kept busy with a few interesting games. There was time spent creating some enrichment play things for the cheetah and that night we sleep in a room that was shared with hedgehogs, fish and a few lizards (all in enclosures).

MG 9269Photo by Brendon & Keryn

One of the critters that we kept company with overnight.

The next morning we watched the cheetah interact with our creations and had a behind the scenes visit with the resident lions, which turned into a real adventure when the lions took a close look as the last few people were exiting the walkway that led to the lions den.

MG 9406Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Showing interest in the constructed giraffe.

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A curious lion.

Over a number of weeks kayaking lessons were organised with Fergs in the city, anyone who wanted to take part in future kayaking trips needed to attend a lesson. We joined one lesson and had a good few hours getting tips on using the kayak including learning how to exit and re-enter safely while out at sea. We performed out exits and entries in the lagoon in from of the boat house adjacent to Frank Kitts park and had quite the audience from the party taking place in the boat house. I provided quite a bit of entertainment with my repeated failed attempts to get back in, constantly trying to clamber into the kayak and then flipping out in a tangle before getting myself seated.

We took the lesson specifically becuase we had signed up for a overnight trip out to Matiu/Somes Island, kayaking out to then camp overnight before kayaking back the next day. Unfortunately the Wellington weather didn’t play ball and when the chosen weekend arrived the weather forecast for the Sunday was not conductive to safe paddling so Fergs wouldn’t hire us the kayaks. This turned out to be a good call, the wind on Sunday combined with rain to make for terrible conditions. The trip still went ahead, we got the ferry out to the island instead. Some of us camped and the rest stayed in a house. We were greeted by the resident DOC ranger and spent the afternoon relaxing, have a look around the island walking the the tracks, checking out the old quarantine centre and for many getting dinner prepared. At dusk we went down to the shoreline to try and watch the little blue penguin parade as they all returned to the island for the night and then after dark we went walking again looking for tuatara and giant weta.

MG 9671Photo by Brendon & Keryn

An island skink.

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A feeding kakariki.

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Territorial seagull meets walking adventurer.

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Keeping warm in the late afternoon.

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Watching for penguins.

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Night jenga.

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Found a giant weta.

We woke to find our tent was starting to suffer in the wild conditions and this necessitated a quick exit and pull-down before tidying everything up undercover of a building. Keryn and a few others had also started a jigsaw puzzle and the next day was wet and windy so there was plenty of time to finish it off after we’d had breakfast. We were informed that the scheduled ferries were all cancelled and there was one ferry coming out expressly to transport everyone off the island so at the required time we were all packed up and waiting at little hut by the dock. The ferry journey was quite rough and a number of people took the opportunity for a last adrenaline rush by heading outside to the upper deck and riding the storm.

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Finishing the puzzle.

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The ride home.

Our next meetup was taking part in the Great Race, the largest organisational effort for the group so far. An all day race around Wellington culminating in a BBQ at the Dell in the Botanical Gardens, we started at the concourse of Westpac Stadium where everyone was assigned to teams. There were around 120 people taking part in teams of 4 or 5 and we all started with a destination and from there received further instructions, ending up travelling out to Miramar and back in to town completing tasks and solving puzzles along the way. Keryn and I were in a group with Rachel and Gareth and had a good time though some mistakes early on cost us a lot of time. Highlights included Keryn and Rachel swimming out to a platform in a jobbly Oriental Bay, effectively breaking the law by sitting in an old Rover that turned out to be a mistaken clue answer (something old, red and English – what are the chances someone would leave their car unlocked on the roadside, and how were we to know there was a phone box coming up?) and racing around Wellington Airport trying to find a pilot to pose with us for a photo. It was a long day but very fun and we’re looking forward to next years event already (assuming they have another).

MG 9909Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Lined up to begin racing.

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Snakes and Ladders for the Airport.

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Finding a dragon at the Weta Cave.

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Heading out for a swim (Rachel and Keryn on the platform).

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Deciphering a code in the Treaty of Waitangi.

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BBQ at the Dell.

Rather smaller in scope was an evening BBQ and walk at Otari Wilton Bush. Tasked with bringing food to share before the walk Keryn and I made pork empanadas with peach BBQ sauce (recipe taken from the excellent food blog Spicy Ice Cream)and Keryn also put together a batch of oatmeal afgan cookies. The food was good and once everyone had eaten their full we had an hour or so walk taking in some large rimu and good trails.

IMG 2175Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Cooking and eating.

IMG 2184Photo by Brendon & Keryn

walking off dinner.

Then there was a trip back out to sea with a fishing charter organised taking sail from the Paremata marina, nice and close to home. 24 of us were taken out with all the fishing gear provided including loads of bait and crew happy to help us all out from baiting our lines to untangling our lines and hoisting our catches into the boat. Some were more successful than others but in the end we all left with a bag full of filleted fish, largely kahawai and snapper with a few other odds and sods in there as well such as gurnard and a large moki that I caught.

IMG 2437Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Out to sea past Whitireia Park.

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My moki.

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Filleting the catch.

Most recently I joined up for a three hour lesson in sword fighting with Peter Hassall at Harcourt Park in Upper Hutt. Peter is an experienced stuntman who has worked on many television shows and movies and he taught eight of us some techniques and skills around using swords. It was all geared towards fighting for show rather than serious intent and Peter laced the lesson with numerous anecdotes and links back to his past experiences. We started with shortened broomsticks and moved on to prop swords and manuka staffs before some one-on-one time with Peter using blunk sprung-steel weapons. We ended with some short choreographed fights that each pair came up with, incorporating the moves we had been shown. Certainty a different way to spend an afternoon.

MG 0253Photo by Brendon & Keryn

Fighting with sticks.

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Then with swords.

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Game over.

I’m not sure what we’l be doing next but there is always something new coming up. If I wasn’t on night shift I’d be taking part in a Paddle Boat race this weekend, there are Sailing lessons which look interesting, also paddle boarding lessons, rafting, lots of walks, more kayaking, hacky sack during lunchtimes for the city crowd (which takes me back to the good old days at Waikato University where we did the same), climbing, cycling, running and more. I don’t think we’ll be stuck for things to do any time soon.

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