Remote Remoteness – The Kingdom of Camelot

“On a Mish” #267 Remote Remoteness. Gaer Arm / Camelot River. Fiordland National Park. 8.18.2018. The power of Fiordland is immense. From its incredible rain soaked weather, to its unmatched, untouched, unbelievable beauty. Each visit will leave you craving for more, and no matter how many times you go there you will always find yourself looking forward to the next visit. Basically , if you haven’t been yet I hope life finds a way to take you there…

Each part of New Zealand’s biggest national park has its own unique features and can seem completely different than another. In the South there are rolling hills which flatten only slightly before dropping into the sea at Foveaux Strait. To the north are the rock and ice giants of the park. Mostly grouped together, with the peaks of the mighty Darran Mountains standing tallest of all. With big mountains come deep valleys, all with rivers of perfectly transparent water flowing into mighty lakes or the Tasman Sea. In many places the numerous rare native New Zealand birds sing happily amongst the flora in the densely forested evergreen landscape. If perfect could be a place then for me Fiordland is it.

For a long time I have wandered seeking remote locations, the remoter the better. After fate brought me to the isolated waters of Patea / Doubtful Sound I really tasted remote remoteness for the first time.

Tucked amongst the wild wilderness is the stunning Camelot River, hidden away in a small corner of Kaikiekie / Bradshaw Sound. The river weaves its way through mountains not seen by many and the place could be considered almost greedy with its beauty. The lush greens of the West Fiordland forest drop down to the slow moving liquid of one of the national park’s most pristine rivers.

Because I joined the Navigator team for the first time mid season I missed out on the shenanigans of the early season training time. The first couple of weeks is just the crew only, cruising the fiord having fun / learning the ropes (literally sometimes), and it is an awesome way to kick the season off.

It was during the training time that the team was starting to get to the point of information overload, so our thoughtful skipper came up with the genius idea of taking the crew to the remote remoteness of the Camelot River for a paddle up stream in the boat’s kayaks. Even just the thought was enough to get the team excited, so with the Rolling Stones cranking on the Navigator’s outside speakers we charged our way to Kaikiekie / Bradshaw Sound, buzzing for an adventure.

We rounded a corner of the fiord into the short sharp Gaer Arm, and the undisturbed and rarely touched water made for a scene that will never be forgotten. We had discovered paradise amongst paradise!

It was now early evening and because daylight was beginning to disappear we were not messing about, and got into the boats ASAP. We boarded our small crafts for our journey into seldom seen scenery and, once all assembled, it was go time.

The wideness of the Camelot River means the flow isn’t hard to paddle against, and as we pushed on further we lost sight of the Navigator, waiting patiently with its skipper onboard back in Gaer Arm.

Lush rainforest lines both sides of the river, and as we drifted along we marvelled at the thought of the early explorers who bashed their way through this tough tiger country in search of fame and fortune. I can say from experience that the area is best seen from the water.

We could only make it as far as the first set of rapids, but this was easily far enough as the scenery had loaded our cameras and minds with epic memories.

Now with the flow of the river pushing us along, we headed back to the Navigator with the sweet cleanse of nature flowing through us just like the Camelot River flows through this remote part of planet earth. With the sun setting as we paddled back to the boat I think it was safe to say the mish was a success, both new and old staff were lapping up every drop of the delicious day’s dessert.

We got back to the Navigator just as darkness began to settle itself in for the night. The team was only gone about an hour, but it was an hour in some of the most stunning natural beauty the Universe has to offer. Scenery so good that it forces a smile on your face so big it will leave your cheeks aching with pleasure!

Once back onboard the boat the crew was a little bit washed out and deflated after getting blasted with beauty, and after a good feed we retreated to our cabins and thoughts of our adventure in remote remoteness to our own private paradise!

Kaikiekie / Bradshaw Sound

New Zealand. What a place to explore!

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