Continued from Part 1

After this we had a fun run under a log, a small rapid, and then another horizon line. We scouted and this one seemed to be the business. It had a half foot drop, a two foot drop and then it dropped about two metres into a frothing pressure area, and immediately turned right and dropped another metre. This was followed by a swift flowing pool of about five or six metres and then another three metre drop that looked like it had a dodgy hole and something weird on the right hand side, which was right below us, so we couldn’t see. Andrew ran first again, much to my dismay as I wanted to hit this one first, and he had an absolute styler of a run, making it look fairly easy! Especially on the final hole.

I walked up and decided I’d also have a sweet run, I felt pretty nervous on this one. I went up and got into my boat. Hugh gave me the signal to wait and I assumed Andrew was getting into position to video and for safety, as the next rapid was just below. My heart started beating while waiting around. After what was probably less than a minute I was given the go ahead and dropped in. It was one of the more intimidating rapids that I’ve run but I felt good. I lined up and boofed into the pressure area and charged out no problem. Damn that felt good! The hard part was over. I paddled down to the final drop and hit it beautifully. The water from the right threw me to the left immediately and I brushed into the wall. I put a draw stroke in on the right and it grabbed my blade and pulled me over, whoops. A quick roll and I was up. Not the most glorious way to end an excellent run, if I do say so myself, but it was after the rapid anyway…so…

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IMG_0815_E1_CR copyAdrian going under a log blocking the river and down into a rapid. Photo by Andrew Kellett – Andrew’s camera.

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I was taking a cool shot of Andrew when suddenly Agus came into the rapid. No one warned us. Andrew just happened to be posing here.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1268_E1 copy

But I quickly zoomed in and got a shot of Agus.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1274_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1275_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1276_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1277_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1278_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1279_E1_CR copyHugh with a nice run and the same strong current which caught my paddle blade catching his stern at the end    

I got out above the next rapid and realised it was the rapid leading into Satan’s Lair (which I’ve decided I’ll call that terrible spot). My throw bag was at the ready and then Toto and Agus came through. I could only see them run the bottom but can assume they made the top bit otherwise we would have seen carnage.

After this, it was decided that Andrew and Hugh would run the final rapid, which wasn’t very hard, but at the end, you had to boof to the right off a two foot drop, and avoid the worst undercut I’ve ever seen. It was not really an easy line at all, and the consequences were pretty much death. Added to that, it seemed the undercut had a siphon exit as the double (or, technically, triple) drop just four or five metres from the undercut didn’t seem to have as much water running down through the initial drop. So if the undercut didn’t get you, you could go down about 35 metres of waterfalls just below. A very intimidating place to be. They set up a live bait rescue here and were surprised when I refused to be the person who would go in. I thought (and still do) that it was a very stupid idea to run this last section of the rapid for the sake of some photos which we were trying to get as exposure. The lighting was poor in the late afternoon and clouds were building. I would rescue someone in most situations and risk my life to a degree, but in such a blatant spot, the mathematics simply did not add up. In my eyes it wasn’t worth it and looking at the photos, this confirms my thoughts. But hey, each to their own.

While waiting and with everyone milling around, some sort of wasp/insect laid siege to us. I got stung, I think on my shin, I can’t quite remember. The pain was unlike any other I’ve felt before. For about twenty seconds the pain was to the max!!! It was crazy, then it kind of went down to about the level of a bad wasp sting which isn’t too bad. It was a green thing that looked like a stealth bomber. Several other people got caned as well. Our driver, Johnny, got stung on his arm and it swelled up quickly. The next day the other driver showed me his foot, it was swollen. It wasn’t fun. But then it was back to them running this beast of a rapid.

Andrew Kellet ran first, with a great line. He looked bloody nervous, the first time I had seen Andrew nervous. He later said that it was the highest risk rapid he had ever run. I agree, I could not think of a higher risk rapid that I’ve been being run so far. Hugh du Preez ran next, and decided to wake up for the first time that day. His line was great and he made it no problems what so ever. It’s quite funny, in 2001 Hugh beat Corran Addison at the Worlds in freestyle. Hugh can run rivers and creek extremely well too and he is an accomplished paddler, but then look at this article and note the runs. Hugh, you need to take these rapids more seriously! Hahaha.

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Andrew going through the motions. Never seen the man nervous before. But for bloody good reason.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1302_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1304_E1 copy

Andrew heading past Satan’s Lair. Stupid move :-) But well done for sticking it. No one wanted to go there to fetch you anyway :) West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1306_E1 copyAndy giving the thumbs up, Toto with the helmet and our driver Johnny on the right. This was just before we got stung…

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Hugh coming down the entry rapid. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1317_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1318_E1 copyAnd through. The photos do that spot no justice. Waiting on video from Andrew… That’s a hint!  

Back at the vehicles, some rain was coming up to us and the air was cool. It was a beautiful evening. Before we had left that morning, the ladies of the house had packed in some beef and rice wrapped up in leaves as food. This had been sitting the entire day in the hot car but the others ate it anyway, including Celliers – who has a very sensitive stomach. My stomach can give me hell too so I gave this meal a miss. It would prove to be a good move.

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Johnny tying our gear in. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1332_E1 copy

Rain on it’s way. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1342_E1 copy


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Lovely view. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1349_E1 copy

Hugh with his knife that he bought from the chap that cleared the path for the way in to the put in.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1350_E1_CR copy

Rainbow over the tea plantation.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1351_E1 copy

Checking out the rainbow.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1352_E1_CR copy

Agus getting some shots as well.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1353_E1 copy

Our vehicles.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1359_E1 copy

Water buffalo and it’s offspring.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1361_E1 copy

A younger water buffalo and it’s mother crossing the bridge over the upper section of the Batang Liki.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1370_E1_CR copy

People don’t drink here, because of religion, but my goodness do a LOT of them smoke!! West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1372_E1 copy

Scenery on the way back. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1373_E1 copyHugh with his classic soccer match he joined in on the way home. It was extra funny when he still ran half naked. 

Supper that night was excellent as per usual. Beef and rice. Hmmm, I have great memories of that food! After that I ‘showered’ and a small mouse came to visit me in the shower, it was very cute. Then Celliers, Andrew, Hugh, Toto Puji and I decided to visit the shop again. We drank four big beers and then went to play pool again at the mullet mans shop. Celliers sat outside, he was sweating and not feeling too good. When we got back to the house his stomach was already upset. I felt really sorry for him. During the night I heard him puking, it wasn’t good. This wasn’t the time or the place to get sick and I hoped it wouldn’t be too bad. Sleep came easily again for me and I heard nothing more.

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Photography by: Adrian Tregoning. Unless otherwise stated.
All Words by: Adrian Tregoning.