Saturday, November 29, 2003

Dart River (3 of ?)

At one point, we stopped for lunch.  We had to take the funyaks (can you drink funyak milk?) about 400m upstream.  This was done by getting out and hauling them.  Now, it only takes one person to haul a funyak (again, partnered with the guide, yay), but the other person still has to walk 400m upstream too.  In the water.  The mystery of the wet boots was instantly solved.

I am not so much of a wuss that I can't walk 400m.  Upstream.  On rocks.  (Or next to the river, but still on rocks.)  But trying it in an icy cold river, in boots that are too big, wasn't entirely pleasant.  It was the least "soft" portion of this adventure.  When we got to the picnic area, we all took off our boots (I poured out a ton of water) and let our feet dry.  We also ripped off our wetsuits, because it was hot and we wanted to dry off and feel the sun.  This, unfortunately, gave the sandflies more to bite.

I mention the sandflies now because I fear they may continue to feature in the story of my trip.  When I was in Australia last year, the little bastards bit the crap out of my arms, and I wasn't even aware of it until the little itchy welts appeared the next day.  New Zealand sand flies are a little different.  They're larger, so you can see them bite.  They're also messier drinkers.  A completed sandfly encounter usually results in a little spot of blood on your skin.  Or running cheerfully down your arm.  (Or ankle, if you took off the boots.)  I don't know whether the bites are going to commence with the itching tomorrow -- I'll keep you posted.

I seem to be dwelling on the icky bits of the adventure, but it was really quite fun.  The jet boat up the river was great, and the views were really extraordinary.  Floating along in the funyak just drinking up all the beauty was splendid.

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