My cousin Tania, and her husband Al, had gifted both Gert and I a ride on a Waimak Alpine Jetboat however Gert's inner ear problem meant that he couldn't risk coming with us. He stayed behind on the sun-drenched bank of the Waimakariri River as photographer and sun-worshipper.
It was bliss out there in that world only accessible by boat and Greg, our driver, was simply superb. At some point on the journey I became fascinated by his instinctive reading of the river and asked him if it was anything like riding a horse. I was trying to get a sense of how it was to ride a river, jetboat-style.
I could see that the jetboat wasn't like a conventional boat. It didn't have a propeller that hung down in the water, and so we were screaming over incredibly shallow areas of river at times. Not only that, we were flying past river canyon walls with very little room for error, and the 360º spins were breathtakingly excellent.
They explain on their website: Invented in New Zealand by William Hamilton in 1954, the jet boat has an impeller [propeller] that is encased in a cylinder [stator] to protect it from hitting stones or the bed of the river. Unlike conventional propeller driven boats the jet boat's unit is above the water line enabling it to travel through extremely shallow water (3" or 75mm).
But still, there was more to it ... watching Gregwas like watching a photographer instinctively seeking light for an image. There was what was known, the rules ... river level, weather, and the state of the bends and then there was the rest. The instinctive knowing.
It seemed like that was the place where a 360º spin could happen, and knowing the precise moment when to head towards the rockface and miss it. How fast that corner could be taken at.
It seemed like a cross between art and science.
It was bliss.