Orca whales join in the fast and furious first stage of GODZone in Akaroa


Sixty-three teams raced off the GODZone start line in Akaroa, New Zealand this morning and into a coasteering stage around Lushington Bay to Takamatua Bay that attracted a pod of Orca’s who followed the competitors on the first water section of the 600km Canterbury race.


“It was amazing to see the whales come right in close to where the teams were scrambling around the rocks and jumping into the water,” says GODZone Safety Office Wayne Allen. “We were following the teams in an IRB and the whales were all around the boat and the rocks. Akaroa is teeming with wildlife and the competitors certainly experienced that today.”


Stage one of the challenging seven-day expedition adventure race consisted of a prologue made up of the 7km coasteering section, 40km mountain bike ride over Banks Peninsula, a 7km pack rafting section from Diamond Harbour to Governors Bay, and a 10km trek and orienteering stage over the Port Hills and through the Christchurch Adventure Park.


“The bike ride was misty and claggy up the top of Banks Peninsula and most teams made the correct navigational choices to get over to Diamond Harbour by 3pm,” says GODZone Event Director Warren Bates. “ A couple of teams including the top South African A1 Series team Jabberwock led by Corbus Van Zyl picked the wrong ridge line to ride down from the tops and had to retrace their steps putting at least half to a full hour on their times.”


“ We expect teams to start arriving from 5pm at the Christchurch Adventure Park and into the evening. This is where they will receive maps of the full course for the first time and discover that a restart will happen out at Mt White Station near Arthurs Pass in the early hours of tomorrow morning. The teams will be coached out there and start the first large trek stage at the Mt White Station bridge at 5am on Monday morning,” says Bates.

Photo credit : GODZone