Adventurers drawn to river in flood

As the Otago Daily Times watched, two young men from Munich launched a plastic kayak into the fast-flowing Clutha River just above the Albert Town bridge mid-afternoon yesterday.

One of the men, Philipp von Saalfeld, said they planned to travel about 15km to the Red Bridge at Luggate and he had no concerns about the high level of the Clutha.

He and his companion, Benjamin Reisinger, had travelled the same stretch of river in their $700 Minnow II kayak without incident when it was high at New Year.

The pair were wearing lifejackets and within seconds of leaving the shore they were out of sight.

Mr von Saalfeld - who works as a gyrocopter photographer in the Alps - said they had kayaked parts of the Matukituki River and the only reason they had not taken on the Shotover River was the jet-boats.

Mr von Saalfeld said they might continue past the Red Bridge, and when advised there was little easy access further downstream, he replied, ''That is the game of adventure.''

Mr von Saalfeld later texted the ODT to say they had abandoned the trip after 1km on the advice of the Queenstown Lakes District Council launch warden, Craig Blake, who was travelling by jet ski.

The ODT also encountered a group of teenagers, under adult supervision, cycling the track alongside the Clutha above the Albert Town bridge. They were in quite deep water but away from the strong current and enjoying the adventure.

Photos provided by Mr Blake showed several other people also walking and cycling through deep water along the riverside track.