Obscured By Waves


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By Paul Caffyn.
Paperback, 210mm x 296mm, 176 pages, colour and monochrome photographs and maps.
In later December 1977, Paul Caffyn and Max Reynolds set out from Te Waewae Bay to paddle around Fiordland. This southwest corner of New Zealand has a reputation for unpredictable weather, big seas and lots of sandflies. Surviving capsizes in surf at night, some huge swell days, not to mention the sandflies, they arrived at Jackson Bay 27 days later, both adamant they never wanted to sit in kayaks, ever again. The first half of the book describes this trip, the magnificent fiords, the crayfishermen at work and play, the lighthouse keepers and the humorous antics of the paddlers' support crew.
With Max unable to join him, Paul returned to Jackson Bay and set off solo to continue paddling around the South Island. With a shore-based support crew following, including the ship dog Ben, Paul completed the first 1,550 mile kayak South Island circumnavigation back at Te Waewae Bay in late April 1978. The second half of the book describes this remarkable solo trip, highlighted by encounters with huge surf landings on West Coast beaches, sharks, killer whales and strong tide races. The story is a blend of narrative, early maritime history, insights into the life of lighthouse keepers and friendly coastal dwellers who took Paul into their homes and hearts, and some absolutely terrible puns.