Continued from PART 1

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.

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (445)_E1 copyI 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)

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Hugh du Preez (left) and Adrian Tregoning (right) both heading to a small eddy on the way down. Photo by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera) Sumatra 09 CK 00 (464)_E1 copyAdrian Tregoning heading down from the bride. Photo by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)

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Another random rapid. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1610_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1612_E1 copy

Agus coming through no problem! West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1614_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1615_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1616_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1617_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1618_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1619_E1 copyToto with a clean run too, very nice indeed.

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Andrew Kellet heading down.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1641_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1643_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1644_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1645_E1_CR copy

Hugh du Preez on another rapid somewhere.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1651_E1 copy

Sigit through the same one, no problems.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1653_E1 copySomewhere towards the end of the run.

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Andrew avoiding strainers. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1664_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1665_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1666_E1 copy

Andrew finishing the rapid. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1673_E1 copy

Hugh on the same as above. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1677_E1 copyAndrew just above the final rapid.

IMG_1088_E1_CR copyMe heading down to an eddy before anyone had run this, which was quite solid, and very fun! Photo by Andrew Kellett (Andrew’s camera)     

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Another look at the action in the final rapid. The bottom stuff was bigger, but I could not get to it to take photos. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1694_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1695_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1696_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1698_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1700_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1701_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1702_E1 copyAndrew Kellett through the final rapid.

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Hugh on the entry to the final rapid. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1707_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1709_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1713_E1 copyHugh cruising down the last rapid. What an awesome, AWESOME rapid it was.

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (484)_E1 copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (485)_E1 copyMe on the final rapid. Photos 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.

IMG_1125 copyWaiting for the car in the shade – it was hot. Photo by Andrew Kellett (Andrew’s camera)

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1717_E1 copyAnother look at the final rapid.

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The rapid below the take out. This would be our put in the following day for yet another section on this river.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1729_E1 copy

Roadside scenery.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1737_E1 copy

Hugh crossing a VERY dodgy bridge over the river. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1746_E1 copy

The upper reaches of the Batang Sangir where Andrew and Hugh put in and paddled down. This is a mild section, it gets much steeper.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1756_E1_CR copy

Hugh paddling under a strainer.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1764_E1_CR copy

Andrew cruising down. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1771_E1 copy

Hugh (back) and Andrew finishing off the last rapid.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1776_E1 copy

On the way home, looking at the Liki, which had dropped a lot since we had run it.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1778_E1 copyBridge over the Liki.   

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!

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