Wednesday 25 November 2009. This day we were to be filmed by national television. It was bound to be interesting. We headed off to the hotel where we stayed our first night and met up with them there. Then back up to the must loved Batang Sangir. The plan was to paddle the normal middle section as it was scenic and fast paced at the put in, with a solid class 4 rapid at the end of the end section too, both of which could easily be filmed.

The river was a bit lower but still just so damn good. You have to see for yourself and run it. So everyone had a really awesome time. We ran the final rapid and then were taken up to run it again quickly, this time in two groups of four. My group consisted of Toto, Andrew and Agus. As we went down, Toto flipped in a wave/hole and I cruised past him, careful not to end myself on this tricky rapid. He came up fast and smiling and it was no worries. In the other group, Puji became the unlucky victim of the day. While looking for fish in that stout rapid a rock told him off and he came up with a cut chin and a golf ball sized bump on his right cheek. It looked very painful.

 West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2039_E1_CR copy

The last time I saw my new friend, Lucky. He looked much better after a few days of food than when we first saw him.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2041_E1_CR copyTwo people on a bike, nothing unusual. The goat across her lap though,and the two goats on either side in the saddlebags is a little odd, I must confess… :-)

IMG_1460_E1_CR copy5 people on a bike is also not really the norm, but who needs a car, right?! Photo by Andrew Kellett (Andrew’s camera)

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2043_E1 copy

Toto being interviewed for national television in Indonesia. Something like 200 million viewers! West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2045_E1 copy

Take out of the Batang Sangir. Refer to those articles for photos of this awesome river. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2048_E1 copy

The man who helped much of this expedition – Mr Yul Amri.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2051_E1_CR copy

Roadside scenery.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2052_E1_CR copy

Bikes work, no matter what.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2057_E1_CR copyPuji, a little bust up.. Must have hurt like flaming hell.   

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (764)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (766)_E1_CR copyLunch time!! Photos by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)

With that we had a fantastic lunch and then Hugh was still insistent on running this one evil looking drop on the Blangir River, virtually under the main road bridge. I was not going to run it as it looked very retentive and there was a strong feeder eddy feeding to the one corner and going behind the curtain, strongly suggesting a cave of sorts and in Adrian’s mind, not worth the effort to paddle down and huck it. But some of the others were keen so I said I’d take the bridge for photos and Celliers downstream at river level for photos and to possibly collect the pieces. Andrew Kellett ran first, with Hugh du Preez on live bait rescue at the drop. For the first time this trip Andrew messed up a rapid. He got knocked right and twisted, hitting the wall with his body. He lost his much prized watch which he had received I think when he was 18 years old, so he was seriously pissed off. Sigit decided to run next, so I gave him my PFD as he didn’t one with a rescue belt and down he went. Sigit’s nickname was Billy, because of his beard, and sometimes Billy the Kid. But now his new name became Billy the Flop in one simple move, or the lack thereof - he didn’t boof. Billy the Flop disappeared and came up a short time later, this thing was going to pull him behind the curtain, no doubt. Hugh du Preez was on hand and immediately grabbed him and what proceeded to continue is clearly shown in the many photos here. In the end, this entire mission was a balls up. Anyway, it was just a mess and all we scored was a few photos, Andrew losing his watch, and Billy getting a bit closer to death than usual. It’s funny how you can almost always see a problem coming, and this rapid meant trouble. I’ve decided it should be named Tick Tock, because Andrew ran a first descent on it and unfortunately lost his watch. I’ve paddled a few times with Andrew since then as our river season has begun and noticed he has a new one, and still paddles with a watch :-) Good times!

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2060_E1_CR copy

Hugh du Preez on live bait for the drop I call Tick Tock. Maybe people should call it Fish Pond, or even Bridge Rapid ;-)  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2061_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2062_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2063_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2064_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2065_E1 copyAndrew Kellett managing to lose his watch and bang himself up a bit but recovering very well. Watch was left hand.

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (769)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (770)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (771)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (772)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (773)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (774)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (776)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (777)_E1_CR copyAnother view of the same rapid. This rapid is deceivingly dangerous. Photos by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2070_E1 copy

It was very busy on the bridge. I could not move away from my spot or I’d lose it for sure. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2071_E1 copyNormal traffic.

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2072_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2073_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2074_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2075_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2076_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2077_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2078_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2079_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2080_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2081_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2082_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2083_E1 copySigit (Billy) doesn’t boof, goes down, gets eaten. Good rescue though. Well done to Hugh du Preez on live bait and Andrew Kellett controlling the rope. At least Billy had two world class rescue instructors backing him up! Couldn’t get better than that.

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2084_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2085_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2086_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2087_E1 copyEventually Billy swims, while Hugh gets himself out of trouble.

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2091_E1 copyHugh being lowered to free the boat from this pocket.

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2092_E1 copyThe Blangir with this rapid I call Tick Tock. Watch out, it bites.

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (787)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (789)_E1_CR copy Sumatra 09 CK 00 (794)_E1_CR copyAnother view. It looks so innocent from here. Photos by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (821)_E1_CR copySpiderman has a truck in West Sumatra – here it is! Photo by Celliers Kruger (Celliers’ camera)

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2093_E1 copy

Awesome scenery there.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2094_E1 copy

The action from the bridge. I think everyone felt they got a good show! West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2097_E1 copy

Final look at Tick Tock. Another 100m downstream this river joins the Batang Liki, a river we first descended earlier in the trip – see articles.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2100_E1_CR copy

The signed flag we gave to, well, I can’t remember who. But we gave it to someone. It was a pretty cool gift I’d say.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2101_E1_CREL copy

At the king’s house. Very cool place. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2102_E1 copy

Sitting inside the house.  West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2103_E1 copyLight snack. Very good!

Sumatra 09 CK 00 (837)_E1_CR copyWe had to eat something before the dancing began as is customary I believe. I took way too much and it was a struggle. Some sort of herb which was very strong. No, not marijuana. Look at Celliers behind me grinning. hehehe. Good times for sure!

West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2119_E1_CR copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2120_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2133_E1 copy

We were treated to an incredible display of dancing and music. It was mind blowingly good!!! West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2138_E1 copy West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2141_E1 copy

Various group photos. Hugh is the tall beast, I’m the one with the kayak t-shirt on, Andrew with the camera slung around his shoulder and Celliers with the white shirt. West_Sumatra_Nov_2009_2149_E1_CR copyRandom insect which welcomed us home. Quite cool, looks like a leaf, believe it or not.            

On the way home I half slept in the car. When we got back I slept for a bit and then went for a ‘shower’, which, in case you missed the first articles, involved splashing ones’ body with water from a bucket. I felt much better and it works like a charm. That night we were invited to the king’s house to be entertained by some traditional dancing. It started off with a light snack inside the house and then we were treated to probably more than an hour of dancing and singing. It was actually really awesome! Incredible to see the rhythm and feel the beat of everything so close up. Then we were forced to dance too. What a laugh. I hate dancing and I could see Celliers was about as rigid as the Golden Gate Bridge but we cracked out a few moves and in the end had a super time. We were truly honoured and very lucky to experience something like this. The Indonesian people really made us feel very welcome. We were now sadly down to our final day of paddling (the next morning, Thursday) and time was running out. So this is the second last article in this series. Stay tuned.

White Fluid Name deep etched with white inside copy_250


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

Cameo_ (4)_E1_CREL

My cat at home, Cameo :-) Both of these are Burmese. Lovely animals!!! Snow_13_August 2009_002_E1_CRP_BW_EYES_COLOUR copyAnd the other cat, Pippa.