Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.

Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.
My 2014 calendar was entirely photographed on the western side of New Zealand's Southern Alps. "Land in the West" is printed at a size of A4 with twelve calendar month pages displaying stunning outdoor environment photographs. Take a look at my Facebook page to view all twelve 2014 calendar images! Order here via Paypal or email me at zakshawphotography@gmail.com if you would prefer to pay with online banking. Thanks for your support!
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fiordland sea kayaking

Metvuw weather forecast charts showed a huge anticyclone over most of the south with a cold front approaching fast, the newspaper suggested variable winds and the TV expected a short weather window. If you took advice from weather forecasters everytime you’d never get anything done!
Having said that the coastline isn’t a place even most whitewater paddlers would want to be. With 50km separating Martin’s Bay from Milford Sound, rugged rocky cliffs and few spots on offer to land ashore it’s a good idea to be accurate with your trip timing.

Image - LB Hollyford River, Mt Madeline in the background.

We collected kayaks from Rosco’s kayaks in Milford and headed back through the Homer Tunnel to the start point at the Hollyford road end. By 11.30 we were loaded, a little later than we’d hoped but the sun was high in the sky and scenery amazing. Maneuvering around logs jams and shallows in the river we progressed before hitting Lake Mc Kerrow.

Image – Perfect conditions just before dark, Lake Mc Kerrow.

Moderate winds kicked off the lake into our faces making for some hard going initially until we gained some protection finding a lee in the wind by running along the southern bank of the lake.
A large bonfire burned brightly serving the purpose of a lighthouse as we paddled in fading light. The Hollyford river finishes its course in Martin’s Bay and a hut there was our planned accommodation. Being the middle of the hunting season and the last week for guided walks on the Hollyford track the hut was full. But people found room for us, feed us dessert and asked a few questions about the day.
Road end to Martins Bay 7 hours.

Image Elliott Shaw – Zak packing and getting ready to leave Martins Bay 7.45am

Day 2 Martins bay to Milford Sound
Usually the bar where the Hollyford River enters the Tasman stands up as a crashing surf break. Timing is everything. I didn’t put my dry-top on that morning and floated through without getting splashed!
Image – Sea cliffs gap. LB watches for the freak surging wave before paddling through.

Sea conditions stayed calm for us all day, making for a fairly uneventful days paddling. Along the way we bumped into a few groups of seals and made a beach landing just before Yates point to stretch the legs. After eight hours before we arrived in Milford Sound in time for the rugby!
Image – LB had tired arms, not to tired for drinking beer though!

South Island Roady

We had three weeks to spare before my fourth season teaching kayaking in California. Joined by my youngest brother, studly raft guide and entertainer Elliott Shaw (LB) we hit the road. We had 15 days to hang out, paddle South Island river’s and forget about anything to serious.
As a warm water Kaituna/ Wairoa river man LB was a virgin to the white stuff of the south so I suggested he stretch into another thermal layer before the chopper landed. We were transported upriver into the Whitcombe catchment. First day on a coast river, first time flying with Dando and even Dave Ritchie was there, awesome! thats as good as it gets.

Image – Fox Glacier, LB at the put in

Flows were low, so we continued towards the Glaciers. Given the water temp of the Whitcombe in April we both dressed up warm irrespective of how hard we each were for the Fox River. Flowing fresh from the glacier it’s certainly no time to be staunch, practise your roll or swim. The run was short but we made it to the road bridge with two wrists each and all our digits, although for most of the run they felt like they would fall off.

Haast beach is a great place to park up the van and camp, id been wanting to get back there for years since my first visit. It rained hard all night, as the day dawned we loaded and headed towards the Turnbull.

It’s a run held in high regard but can prove a challenge to get in to. Due to vandalism and kayakers doing their best to gain access without permission in the past it meant gates are now locked. Understandably short-term memory loss goes on with those living in the area as to who has the keys thus restricting most attempting to sample the delights of the river upstream.
It was our lucky day though, a truck doing trips to collect firewood from the power-station happily agreed to give us a lift. Not only had we pulled off getting to the river in style the flow was perfect.
The walk in keep you pretty honest (about 1.5 hours) as the first hour is a solid hill climb.

Image – “half of its all up, half of its all down” LB reaches half way.

Image - Upper Turnbull, above “Venture Gorge” where all the action starts.

Having been our first time in there we had no real gauge for what a good water level was but upon entering the initial rapids we “felt good about it” (quote from the roadtrip)

Image – With lots of push behind him LB gets it right
Queenstown and the Kawarau river was our next stop.
Images - Citroen action, Rachel Moore prepares for impact from the left.
Image - Can’t see much, now I can! LB rides the buffer.

Monday, April 23, 2007

NZ Kayak school season finish

Image - Ben Jackson
One of the best days of the summer! left to right, myself, Mick Hopkinson, Ben Jackson.
Kokatahi take out.

Image - Angus Thompson, big Eddy stroke technique session.
Its been a busy one! Right to the very end our season in Murchison and days spent on the surrounding rivers has come to an end. Regular bookings have ensured many days out there teaching, going kayaking and developing paddlers.

Image - Angus Thompson
This summer has been a blast, personal trips into the Waitaha, Upper Perth, Kokatahi, Upper Styx, and Whitcombe rivers has meant Dando has spent most days in the air and good missions being had.

Image Zak Shaw - Waitaha Gorge