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
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