Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't stop paddling and stay away from rafts!

I finally got my gear two days ago so I've been able to get out on the river at last. Paddling here is very different to anything I've ever paddled before, even Uganda! There are massive boils and whirlpools everywhere! Added into that there are many floating undercuts (rafts) to avoid too. Got a bit of a beating on rapid 14 yesterday. I was paddling about 20m in front of the raft when I got stuck in a whirlpool, surfed it out and ended up right in front of the raft. Trying to avoid it I ended up in another whirlpool and had to roll a few times getting out. About 30 seconds later I was out of it but somehow still beside the raft! trying to avoid it again put me into a 3rd whirlpool which held me for ages and I couldn't get a roll. Eventually I felt myself being pulled under the raft so I put my hand out and was able to grab the rope by the side to prevent myself going under and managed to right myself! not a pleasant experience!

Other than 14 though this river is great! Logistically it's difficult here though, the river is a bit away and the choices are go with the rafts (which are not out every day and involves getting up at 6.30am) or pay plenty to get guides and porters and such, you cant really just go down and paddle like on the Nile due to the distance away. But the river is definitely worth it. Hopefully I'll get lots of runs over the next few weeks!

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