Monday, November 17, 2008

Why? Why? Why?

Today I've been writing some of the paddling section of "Take On Camping" with basic info on canoe camping.

Today I have also been feeling like crap - sore throat, stuffy nose and sleepy - thus I am grumpy and going to take it out here with a rant of sorts.

What I want to know is why did canoe camping never catch on in New Zealand? Sea kayaking is relatively widely practiced, but there is basically one place in the entire country where it is common to get into a canoe and paddle down a river. (It's the Wanganui River, which is one of the "Great Walks", despite the fact that you don't walk it. Don't get me started on that one!)

At first I chalked it up to cultural differences. After all, Canada is far away from here, maybe canoes just never caught on in this part of the world. Then I realised that the people of the South Pacific have been travelling in canoes for centuries! The first people ever to reach New Zealand did so in an ocean-going canoe, and so did all of the settlers who followed. The waka is a major part of New Zealand culture!

So that leaves me saying - WTF??? Why can't I go to one of the many, many rivers and lakes that are used for all kinds of recreational pursuits in this country and rent myself a canoe? I don't mind if it's a Pacific-style canoe with an outrigger. I could deal with that. It would take some practice, but I'm sure I'd learn how to control one eventually.

But no, apparently there's no demand for that. So I can try to cram my gear into the tiny hatches of a kayak, or I can stay on dry land when I go camping.

Anyway, that's my rant. Thank you for letting me vent. I'll try to be more positive in future posts.


Mike said...

Obviously you're not with it. If you were, you'd know that trendy people in modern New Zealand don't paddle their pink canoes, they ride bikes! Canoes are so out-dated.

If you have any feeling for experiencing REAL New Zealand, you'll go out and buy an expensive pair of cool looking sunglasses (most important), knock the third wheel off an old tricycle (this will save money because nobody notices the actual bike when you're distracting them with your impressive fashion sense), then take it to your favourite waterway, line it up and start pedaling.

You may wish to carry a snorkel or some other kind of underwater breathing apparatus. It'll help.

sara said...

Even in the US canoe camping happens mostly on slow rivers, small lakes without much wind, generally protected and secluded areas.

And kayaking has caught on like crazy in the last 5 years. I'm much more comfortable in my sea kayak than I would be in a canoe when there's any wind to speak of. Plus paddling a canoe usually takes team work and being in a single kayak is so nice, you can meander together but still be free to do your own thing.

Ron Bloomquist said...

Nice rant.

Hope you are feeling better soon!