Friday, 14 March 2014

Takacat Launch

Finally the day arrived for us to launch our new Takacat inflatable which hadn't seen the light of day since it arrived in a box in Napier 5 months ago. After an initial inspection & check over back in Napier it has been safely stowed in it's carry bag and tucked away in it's own compartment  at the front of the ute wellside. So far in our travels we haven't had the chance to use it and it was one of the reasons David was looking forward to our time at the lakes. Somewhere where he could take his time making sure everything did what it was supposed to do and everything fitted into place correctly.
 
 
There were a few teething problems with first the foot & then the electric pump & at one stage we wondered if in fact we'd be able to get the boat pumped up hard enough. After a lot of thought & few minor repairs David had it under control and we were ready to wet the dinghy's bottom.
 
Well David was, I was trying to take photos of the maiden launch which wasn't much appreciated when he had to wrangle the boat down the gravelly slope in front of the van by himself and over rocks into the water. The removable wheels worked a treat & helped enormously with manoeuvrability although with the outboard on it was still rather heavy & awkward to push/pull on the rocky foreshore.
 

So it was without any fan-fare- I wanted to tip some bubbles over the bow- our little boat "In There" was launched. After a couple of runs up and down the lake & few "trim tab" adjustments the Evans Travelling Road Show had another player on board!


David doing a fly past

 
Once David was happy everything was good and we weren't going to sink to the bottom of the lake, I packed up a lunch and we headed up the lake on what was a perfect day for boating & trialling out the dinghy. It went very well at full speed, which it would do across the a sheet of "glass" like this, although it did chew through the fuel. 

 
The scenery at the north end of North Mavora Lake was jaw-droppingly stunning. The tussock covered mountain sides rose high & steep out of the valley with many rock slides and large rock fans reaching down in to the lake.



Our destination was the West Burn Hut located on the opposite side of the lake to the 4WD & tramping track. Its an old 1920s musterer's hut that now belongs to DOC and is only accessible by boat. Its used by fishermen and the odd hunter and in fact when we finally arrived in the little bay where it's located we saw that there was already a small fizz boat up on the stony beach.
 
 
We hauled "In There" onto the beach and made our way up to the hut to check it out.
 
 
The boat owners were obviously off fly fishing somewhere as there was nobody about but all their gear was strewn around the tiny hut space. Inside the bunks were basic, the floor looked like it was dirt, there was a huge dirty ash covered fireplace taking up one end with half burnt firewood littered about the hearth. It was dark, dank & smoky. There was no running water or long drop either. Not my idea of a place to stay!
 

Outside was a rickety old red hooded BBQ that someone had obviously left for subsequent visitors to use and a broken metal stand of some sort with a bright yellow tray that looked totally out of place in this environment but was abandoned outside the door of the hut. We were talking to a tramper at another hut we visited later in our visit & he said he couldn't understand why people left bits and pieces in the huts when they left. Some huts had a lot of clutter where people had left behind old pillows, pots & pans, crockery & cutlery, candles & stuff thinking they were helping out future visitors (or too lazy to cart their gear out) Gear which other people would not want to use.



We found a rotting log to sit on beside the remains of a old fenceline but as soon as we sat down for lunch we were engulfed by a swarm of sandflies, the worst we had encountered at the lake. Even with a strong insect repellent liberally applied they managed to find their way onto & into any unprotected nook or crevice; there's nothing worse than a buzzing in your ear! We had no choice but to dance about and swipe this way & that while we hurriedly ate our lunch and then it was back into the boat and we were out of there at full speed trying to lose some of the swarm that persisted in following us. A few sandflies hung onto the boat for dear life & we were still swatting them off when we pulled up in the middle of the lake a few minutes later.

 
Before we left I managed to catch on a rosehip, one of the many tiny red damselflies that were flying around (which I thought were dragonflies, thanks Olwen!). With their big eyes and good sight they usually alight well before you can get close.

 
North Mavora Lake Reflections.


It turned out to be the perfect day to launch the Takacat. David was thrilled with it's performance and I found it excellent to ride as a passenger especially when I sat down on the floor in front of the seat leaning against it, a very comfortable position. There's no high bow to obstruct the view & you literally feel like you're skimming along on top of the water. I think I'd make a good Thundercat co-pilot!

3 comments:

  1. Interesting to hear about your inflatable boat. They look like such a good idea.
    I think the dragonfly is actually a male red damselfly - beautiful colouring. Its a great photo!

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    1. You are right Olwen! I never even gave damselfly a thought which is strange considering David always mentioning them when he talks about fly fishing. Thanks for that, it maybe why it stayed still for so long.

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