Over half a year ago I put all my coins in one basket and learned to freedive. Partly those learned skills encourages me to come to Kaikoura with the intention of seeing what lies under the ocean surface. Kaikoura, which literally means ’meal of crayfish’ is a small town build around a small peninsula in a valley between the mountains.
New belongings, stuff, has started accumulating on an exponential rate during the first month in New Zealand. It all started with a wetsuit and a surfboard, then a tent a bicycle and now a car. The most recent purchase was literally weights. Those pieces of led came with a belt to help me stay underwater more effortlessly by getting close to neutral buoyancy. While at it I bought a speargun and a catch bag. And best of all I made two new friends.
My dive buddy was quick to start searching for crayfish and in no time started surfacing with those strange creatures in his hands. While he was fully engaged with the choppy ocean I was still trying to load the gun. Rolling waves and the constant movement didn’t help but I got the hang of it. Without enough time and perspective of underwater life I ended up shooting couple of fish that were from the smaller end of the legal size limits.
The bottom of the ocean was full of kelp and all kind of seaweed. Everything kept moving all the time. It was quite disorienting. Relaxing to stay underwater for longer periods of time was a challenge. Senses were on overdrive while I was observing the ocean bed. Just feeling the swell, staying out of shallows filled with rocks and relaxing my breath was a mission in itself. Finding crayfish that time proved to be too much of a challenge for me. Just trying to catch one small one was hard and it got away before I could bring it to the surface. Thin gloves protected me a little but still the sharp shell cut holes to my hand.
Eventually coldness creeped in and I could feel an old finger injury telling me my body temperature was getting too low. It was time to get out of the water, get dressed as fast as possible and head towards a hot cup of tea. The whole session was a great experience and a lesson I couldn’t have learned without a more experienced fisher alongside. I got to shoot a couple of fish and saw how to catch crayfish with bare hands. Those Rock Lobsters are fast and strong as!
Then inspired by the last months experiences, past and new friends I got enrolled to a IRATA course. If and when that diploma is in my hand I hope to start working for one of the companies that do rope access work. There will be less free time to surf and dive but I believe other challenges will surely be just as rewarding.