In the last article I said I drifted to sleep. Wrong! Reading my notes on the trip I see my rubber arm was twisted to go and drink some beer so off we went. After many beers later we made our back to the house, I felt a bit drunk, and was not the only one. Good times! Lucky was sleeping on Hugh’s shorts in his room and Celliers is allergic to cats so I took Lucky to my room and let him sleep on my laundry, the poor, skinny little thing. At 03:45 I woke up with a bladder about to burst and Lucky was still peacefully in cat land.

Dawn arrived - Sunday 22 November 2009. I felt hung over. Breakfast was fish, rice and aubergines. I was weary of the fish, but took some scraps and fed them to my new friend in Sumatra – Lucky. Sigit (‘Billy’) also fed him some morsels. My heart truly went out to that bag of bones canvassed in a rough skin, with the potential of surely being a loving little kitten given enough love, and food. Wonder what happened to him. In a joke, Andrew later said maybe he became Unlucky. I hope not. Shame…

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A lady washing her clothes at the put in.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1831_E1 copyAndrew unloading his boat at the put in.

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Shortly after the put in. Photo by Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) IMG_1231_E1_CR copyAnother fishermen plying his trade. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

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Andrew (orange boat) and me in the green somewhere along the line. Photo by Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera) Sumatra 09 CK 00 (638)_E1_CR copyHugh du Preez hitching a lift with a local! Photo by Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera)  

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River left side. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1845_E1 copy

Entry, and some locals. The hot spring was just a short walk upstream. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1846_E1 copy

Sticky hole and the undercut rock at the top left of the photo.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1847_E1 copy

Undercut, not good… West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_1851_E1 copyLooking back at the rapid from my vantage.

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The pocket. Don’t want to hang around in there. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  IMG_1236_E1_CR copyView from the river right side. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  

It was time to rack up yet another first descent! After breakfast we took a drive to the put in the Bangko. It was the only river with a short drive and I think this one took only 5 minutes. The take out however, was quite a long one. The river was broad and slow flowing and for the first time in the trip we noticed some pollution, which was a real shame. All the other rivers had been 100% pristine. But it really wasn’t too bad at all. Within a kilometre we came to a spot on river left where a hot spring flowed into the river. The water was extremely hot!!! Within a few hundred metres we came to a serious rapid which we scouted from the left. I had a look and it looked quite nasty. A stepped drop which wasn’t very high but with a very retentive hole and an ugly undercut directly downstream. I decided to portage on the left. Andrew had gone to the right and called me over but my mind was set. Looking back I should have listened to him as he could see a nice line on the right but from my angle it was hidden by a huge rooster tail. Oh well, next time! Hugh and Andrew ran the drop on the right and the rest of us portaged. Celliers and I regretted not running after seeing the video footage of it but oh well it’s one of those things. I should have gone back up to look. It was a relatively easy(ish) run but obviously not a place you’d want to mess up! Exiting the little pocket was interesting too.

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (643)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (645)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (646)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (647)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (648)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (649)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (650)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (651)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (653)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (654)_E1_CR copyAndrew Kellett running the first descent easily on this rapid! Nice!!! Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera)

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Sumatra 09 CK 00 (656)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (657)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (658)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (659)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (660)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (661)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (662)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (663)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (664)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (665)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (666)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (668)_E1_CR copyHugh du Preez not really boofing but making it no worries and then eddying out for a bit, before leaving the pocket easily enough. Very nice too! Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera)

IMG_1241_E1_CR copyCelliers Kruger below the rapid. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera) 

From here down there was an assortment of rapids, in the class 2 to 4 range but mostly quite chilled and easy. The rocks on this stretch were truly horrendous. Forming some nasty pockets and undercuts that were razor sharp – to be avoided at all costs. This river was one of the longer trips we went on during this trip and we dropped into an extremely thick jungle that had sides towering up above us. At a spot we saw some sort of orange coloured monkeys and at another two spots we found the guys mining for gold. Have a look at the photos, some very hard and dodgy work.

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This man, just ducking under some branches, was actually pulling some thick logs behind him, to get upstream. Possibly one day ending up in somebody’s lounge as a fancy piece of furniture. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  IMG_1244_E1_CR copy

Hugh approaching some miners along the way. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  IMG_1246_E1_CR copy

Mining for gold on a raft tethered to the bank! Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  IMG_1248_E1_CR copy

Scenery along the way! Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  IMG_1249_E1_CR copy

Me, cruising past. Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)  IMG_1256_E1_CR copyDEEP in the jungle. No chance of walking out! :) Andrew Kellett. (Andrew’s camera)

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (676)_E1_CR copyOur group on the Bangko. What a place! Celliers Kruger. (Celliers’ camera)