We had done some research prior to arriving at Abel Tasman National Park, and we knew that only a few tour companies offered kayaking inside the Tonga Island Marine Reserve. This is the area where you would most likely find fur seals, blue penguins, and other marine animals. Ultimately, we decided to go with the Sea Kayak Company because one of their tours fit exactly what we were looking for: half day of guided kayaking and half day of independent hiking. Although their price was a little steep at 190 NZD per person (especially since half the tour consisted of hiking on our own).
Marahau Beach at low tide
Kayaks and Tonga Island
Taking pictures while kayaking is difficult enough to begin with. Add to that pouring rain and choppy seas, and it damn near made it impossible. I was only able to get a total of five pictures while we were in the kayak, and I think three of them came out blurry. The situation really bummed me out since the scenery would have been absolutely stunning in sunny weather, but it mattered very little at that point. Still, it was quite an exhilarating experience to be kayaking in these adverse conditions. There was almost a sense of reckless abandonment while we braved the open sea in the rain!
There were some beautiful views along the way though, and I made sure to take at least a few pictures while trying to keep my camera as dry as possible. After what seemed like an eternity, we arrived at Torrent Bay, where we still had a good half hour to kill before our ferry departure. At the very least, there was a simple shelter to hide under and dry off. The ferry dropped us back at Marahau, and we continued on to Motueka via shuttle bus.
First sight of Torrent Bay