Most of life’s growth lessons are learnt when you get outside your comfort zone.  Whether by purpose or by accident.  When I (yes it was me) re-loaded and tied in the barrels this morning, I put the weight in the wrong place and unbeknown to us, unbalanced the canoe!

This was to become evident not long after.

The rapid we were approaching was gnarly and had scored two other couple capsizes.  We waited for others to rough water it to come out the other side without fuss.  When we entered, the first bump had me see the second bump directly in my line of vision. BClaire went underwater just about completely.  Words were gurgled.  When she popped back up hitting the second rapid bump, my line of site was now seeing her arse as the canoe went nearly vertical.  This was not going to end well as we waited for the oxygen masks to drop from above.

They didn’t!

And for whatever the reason, we didn’t capsize per say.   However, our canoe was submerged with water to the rim of the sides, inside the canoe.  We hula hooped the hips to maintain keeping the boat from completely going over and all hands were to the pump baling out the contents.  We passed the second couple who had capsized.  They had just made landfall.

The next lot of rapids just before Pipiriki was called the 50/50 ones.  Jesus had warned us about these at the safety briefing and I was confident we would make it through after the last episode.

We did.  And I never made the mistake again to re-load the boat in the manner I had.  Under the guise of BClaire.  Don’t know why.  Perhaps the external comfort zone growth lesson!

Pipiriki is where all the five and three dayers leave the Wanganui River.  We visited the village to dry out, eat lunch before we carried on.  Calmness had returned to the canoe as we tried to move on from the previous encounter.  From here, rapids became less frequent as did the jet boats.  More farmland fudged into the landscape features.

The steeple rising just above the treeline signalled our end destination, the Convent at Hiruharama.  When translated, Jerusalem.

It is a place that is so worth the effort to google and read about a New Zealand Pioneer – Mother Mary Aubert.  She would have to be our equivalent to “Mother Theresa” and her dedication to give her heart this part of Aotearoa.

We stayed in the Convent itself finding a dorm bed and spent the remainder of the day just reading all the history attached to the place.  Religion is a personal preference however, more lessons were taken from such a tranquil setting.

Jerusalem was one of the largest settlements on the Wanganui River.  It was known as a meeting place for kōrero (discussion).

“He pūkengawai, he nohoana tāngata, he nohoanga tāgata, he putanga kōrero.”

Translated – “Where waters gather, people settle, and where people settle, legends unfold.”

Jerusalem and its history is legendary.