Nugget Pt res­cue warn­ing to oth­ers


A kayak res­cue at Nugget Point last week was the re­sult of a wildlife snap­shot gone wrong, it has emerged.

An ex­pe­ri­enced, all-fe­male party of Bay of Plenty sea kayak­ers in their 40s and 50s were round­ing the scenic Catlins beauty spot at about 11am on Thurs­day, when a mem­ber of the party de­cided to take a photo of nearby fur seals.

While tak­ing the shot, the woman lost con­trol of her kayak and cap­sized, even­tu­ally mak­ing her way to nearby rocks at the foot of steep cliffs to the north of the Nugget Point light­house, Kaka Point Surf Life Sav­ing Club pres­i­dent and res­cuer An­drew Budge said. De­spite suf­fer­ing from cold and a gash to her leg, the woman was in good spir­its when he ar­rived in the club IRB.

‘‘[Paul Richard­son and I] just patched her up and re­as­sured her, be­fore the he­li­copter ar­rived.’’

The sur­round­ing rocks were also swarm­ing with fur seals, giv­ing the kayaker an un­ex­pect­edly extreme close-up of the very wildlife she’d been try­ing to pho­to­graph.

‘‘There are all sorts of haz­ards around that bit of coast, wildlife just one of them,’’ Budge said.

Al­though ex­tremely un­com­mon, the res­cue was a warn­ing to other coastal users.

‘‘I think the last time we had a kayak res­cue down there was in the 1980s, so it’s pretty un­usual, but with reefs, big swells and the un­pre­dictabil­ity of the ocean on that bit of coast, you need to be pre­pared for any­thing.’’

For­tu­nately, it ap­peared the party had been ex­pe­ri­enced and well pre­pared, Budge said, other­wise there might have been a less happy out­come to the in­ci­dent.

‘‘When the first kayaker cap­sized and ran aground, the sec­ond mem­ber of the party then pad­dled ashore to tend to her com­pan­ion, with the third re­main­ing off­shore and con­tact­ing emer­gency ser­vices on her cell­phone.

‘‘They had all the nec­es­sary pro­vi­sions in terms of food, warm cloth­ing and safety gear, but be­ing un­fa­mil­iar with the area and con­di­tions, have just come a bit un­stuck.

‘‘With the fog the next day it would have been a dif­fer­ent story, so the mes­sage is pick your con­di­tions, be pre­pared and, if in doubt, stay out.’’

‘‘There are all sorts of haz­ards around that bit of coast, wildlife just one of them.’’


The Otago Res­cue He­li­copter air­lifts an in­jured mem­ber of the sea kayak party stranded on rocks.

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