Adventures on a waka tīwai

April 01, 2015

There's something pretty special about jumping in a simple outrigger canoe off the beach with very little gear, and returning a few hours later with dinner, a healthy dose of sunshine and pleasantly weary muscles.

Today was certainly not your everyday fishing excursion. My friend Bill had pondered the thought of fishing from the waka (canoe) that he spends countless hours in, training on Auckland's Waitemata Harbour. He was keen to see if it was even possible, and I was very keen to give it a go.

We set out from beautiful Takapuna Beach, after a quick lesson in paddling, in a two person waka. My Maven 6'6" rod was strapped across the bow, and a small collection of soft baits were tucked away in the hull. 

Auckland was at its autumnal best. Not a breath of wind, glass calm harbour and crisp and sunny. We paddled at a brisk pace, some 2.5km out towards the shipping channel and dropped our lines. Almost as acknowledgement of our arrival, we were surrounded by boil ups that sounded like an enthusiastic crowd applause. Things were looking good!

There wasn't any plan for what to do in the event of a catch, and I wasn't even sure of how much I could safely move my body position without toppling into the sea. We soon figured out a plan, as the fish were biting! We were kept busy for hours, landing a good number of snapper, and generally enjoying a very peaceful and quiet time drifting in the harbour.

In a small waka, you feel literally dwarfed by everything around you - cargo ships, tiny fibreglass boats speeding by, a gigantic A380 overhead. Looking back towards our biggest city and its offices filled with thousands of workers, it felt such a privilege to be drifting in the sea instead of fixed behind a desk.

At the end of another brisk paddle back to shore, there's no better place to enjoy a coffee and stunning views of the beach, than here.

We'll be back. Regularly I suspect.