Sunday 13 December 2009


Dion (who, if he ever gets tired of jet-boating, could have a decent career as a Jack Black impersonator) was contemptuous when I told him how the Gold Coast jetboat people had made me feel sick by doing a dozen 360s up and down their sheltered inlet. "Pah! That's all they've got," he scoffed. "Same as the Excitor up in the Bay [of Islands]." Apparently, the Dart River Safari jetboats not infrequently go aground, a prospect which provided a frisson of excitement on a trip up past Mt Alfred deep into Middle Earth scenery.

As it happened, it didn't today, fortunately. We began with a personal pick-up from the Blanket Bay jetty (only pipped by once having been picked up from a hotel jetty BY A FLOAT PLANE) and a buzz to the top of Lake Wakatipu where first I regretted not having brought my sunglasses, moving swiftly on to regretting that I forgot to bring my raincoat. That's Fiordland weather for you.

Roar, swirl, bump - over waves (did you know the height of a wave is seven times the depth of water beneath it? Handy information when you're in a jetboat [INVENTED IN NZ] that has a draught of about four inches), past logs, along beaches and up into inlets where mice swimming across the stream to get at the beech mast are eaten by huge trout in the river. (Dion's rubber rat bristling with hooks on the end of a rope would probably not make it into the Flyfisher's Bible, effective though he says it was.)

Then it rained and we turned for home, and as predicted at the bridge the cloud stopped and the sun came out so when I got back to Blanket Bay cold and damp, I pushed open the french doors in the jacuzzi room and sat in 39-degree water gazing across the lake at the snow-dusted mountains and ate a whole tin of cocktail nuts all by myself, effectively ruining my appetite for dinner.

Good thing I'm greedy: five courses, tick tick tick tick tick.

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