Soon after that we arrived at the final rapid, which was probably the most juicing rapid of them all. It was pretty much impossible to scout. Some of the guys stopped on some big logs at the top and got a bit of a view. I went down a touch and eddied out on the right hand side with the camera with a lower elevation but an idea that things could get ugly just downstream. Andrew then went down first, followed by Hugh. It was a big rapid for sure and looked like a good place to remain upright and stroking with some large holes on the left at the bottom. I went next and had a sweet run! I felt super stoked. The other guys came down too and had great runs, there were no problems. We had racked up yet another first descent and everyone had paddled really nicely. What a glorious way to end the day.
I forgot to add these photos from Celliers to part 1 and because I’m using Windows Live Writer to upload directly to my site it’s a real mission these days to put in photos afterwards – but only because of the new edition of Joomla which makes getting the uploaded photos a mission. Anyway, here I am crossing the bridge. Photo by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)
Hugh du Preez (left) and Adrian Tregoning (right) both heading to a small eddy on the way down. Photo by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera) Adrian Tregoning heading down from the bride. Photo by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)
But it seemed Hugh and Andrew had not had enough. They wished to paddle again, this time further upstream. I felt extremely satisfied with my run and believe I paddled really well. I was also almost certain that the upper section would be steeper and more difficult (and it was) and had no intentions of ruining a perfectly good day. They made a big scene about me not joining in and I don’t know why anyone would try to force someone else to paddle but they did try. Celliers wasn’t paddling, and neither was Agus, Toto, Billy or Puji. In the end, I have no regrets about not paddling, even though Andrew and Hugh firmly believed it would be safer if I was with them I disagree to a fair degree. They have both been paddling between 18 and 20 years (or a fraction more – ja you old timers showing the young ones ey!?) and I’ve only been paddling for 5 years. I’m sure I would have been a liability to them and not an asset and when I did paddle this upper section a bit later at a fractionally lower level I had got a little roughed up on one rapid anyway! :-) So……back to my happy decision to not join them. Call me chicken, I don’t care, it’s in my nature to listen to myself, and only myself. They had a fantastic run and Hugh got beaten down somewhere I believe and the lines were tight. In 99% of people’s eyes this would be rated a class 5 run but they said it was a solid 4+. Everyone sees things differently. I mean, some people think Robert Mugabe is good enough to run a country, where I think he’s not even good enough to wash my car. So opinions differ but it remains that the river was serious, and I was not up to it that day. They certainly have the skill and experience to enjoy it. I enjoyed it another day.
The section we paddled down took us about 3 hours. We took a few photos, Andrew took a lot of video and we had two swims so fair enough. Andrew and Hugh did it in 15 minutes. It was good to be paddling with such accomplished paddlers and I only wish that Celliers could have joined us. He would have loved that section!!! Luckily he did, a few days later when we ran it again for Indonesian national television. With that done and Hugh and Andrew were finally a bit more tired than usual and we called it a day.
Once back home, I decided I’d go to the barber for a shave. I’d never done that before so I headed off on the back of a motorbike with Sigit (‘Billy’) driving. Next to the main road was a barber shop and I soon settled down to being shaved with a cutthroat, which was a first for me. I now understand where the name comes from. Afterwards, I had blood running down my throat. See, it’s easy to understand! This cost all of R7, or 1 US Dollar at the time of writing. We then went looking for a hat but I could not find one that fitted my big noggin. Billy bought some stuff at this shop so I tried out some special deep heat type cream, it was very cheap – R5. After dinner I had a shower and felt great, I applied some of the cream to my shoulders which felt a bit stiff. Soon they were buzzing a bit, then burning and eventually I thought I was on fire! So much so that I went back to the shower to try to wash it off – I could not! Eventually it went away to a comfortable degree while falling asleep. Hugh and Celliers played a chess game, with the outcome the same. Then I tried against Celliers, and lost once again too. At 22:10 I hit the sack. The following day we would paddle the same river, but from where we took out earlier in the day. It has been a bloody good day, with a notable first descent under the belt and everyone very pleased with the trip and themselves. It was just great!
Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated.
All Words by: Adrian Tregoning.