Monday, January 5, 2009

nepali girls kayaking expedition part 3

Floating past one of the many bridges - photo Whitney Hansen

Lunch break and photo shoot - Photo sourced from

Day 4 - The first of the sickness. Early on morning 4 Laura and Emi went down as the first patients of the trip. It goes without saying when you travel in places like Nepal that while you can be as careful as possible around food but some sort of sickness is not far behind you. These two were the first but definatly not the last on the trip.
By now we are about 70kms from our start point and deeper into the Sun Kosi. Tomorrow we hit the biggest rapids of the trip. A small village called Hakapua will mark the entrance to the Hakapua rapids.

Raft in Hukapur rapids - photo Hayley Segal

Early starts on this trip have become inevitable as we rush round packing gear and loading our kayaks. Tents come down and the words "packy, packy" are heard from the gear boat guides. A familiar and welcome sound of "Breakfast is ready, on the table" in a loud Nepalese accent is heard and everything is dropped! Breakfast Usually consisted of toast with peanut butter and jam, curried potatoes, and sometimes rice pudding which was a real treat!
Lots of breakfast was needed today as we were approaching the biggest rapids of the trip. Hakapur is a small village which marks the start of 2 big rapids stacked on top of each other.

Shower time - Photo sourced from

The first being technical and the second straight down the middle of some huge waves. At the rapids it was a great opportunity for the girls to learn how to read bigger rapids and see how water changed when it was steeper and more constricted. They could also look into choosing the best line through the hazzards and talk to the others about their choices.
By the end of the day the first sick girls were feeling better but now Hayley was feeling it and was off to bed early at camp tonight. At camp we all sat round and had a drink and talked about who we were and what we had done in our lives. this was great to find out more about the people on the trip.

Paddling among the locals - Photo Hayley Segal

Day 6 was an easy day on the river with a bit more teaching and some cool easy rapids. During the day one raft pulled over at a village and brought some chocolate and some live chickens for dinner that night. It took them a while to cacth them and arive at camp so it was a very late dinner but it was worth the wait for the chicken curry! best meal on the trip so far!

Radha getting some coaching - Photo Hayley Segal

A supprise at breakfast today was porrage! so tastey! Today i sat on the raft at the start so i could get some shots from the boat but kelly swapped out with me due to a few swims and more rapid to come! Today we entered the 'jungle corradoor'. This was a section of river where the trees and vines stretched out over the banks and the rapids made their way through the dense jungle! Monkeys ran through the trees and we kept our eyes out for tigers but only found their tracks!
By camp today everyone was feeling the effects of being on the river for a solid 7 days! For the nepali girls this was their first river trip and they had to get used to all the paddling and long days. For the western women this was some of their first multi day trips and they also had to get used to the drematic diet change! Ive never seen so much rice!

The colorful crew - Photo Whitney Hansen

Morning of day 8 and i had hit the wall. It took me 10 minutes to pack my sleeping bag and i was not feeling good at all! Lucky it was a slow moving morning and i was in no hurry to get packed quick. Once up i noticed a few problems going on in camp. One of the male guides who had been on the paddle raft with them had been giving them trouble and being very negative to them. The tension finally broke and they talked to Inka about it. This cause a few arguements in camp and a lot of tears. We had expected that there would be some trouble from some of the men in the community but never expected it from males who had voulenteered to come on this specific trip. Not a good start to their carreers.

Forward paddle! Photo Anna Bruno

Once things settled we were on the river and the girls were looking at ways to deal with the problems encountered at breakfast.
That night one of the nepali girls, Sita, talked to Inka and said she was good enough to guide the raft out and so they didnt need the male guide who was causeing them trouble. So the call was made to put him on the gear raft and sita took over. It was cool to see them step up and take charge and let them know that they were not going to be mucked around! They wanted to be a part of this industry and the males were not going to stop them!

Kola with a determined look on! Photo Hayley Segal

Day 9 was early starting and early finish! Our last camp was at a small village where an old lady brought us down cold beers and suplies. The afternoon was left for some teaching and an opportunity to talk to some of the girls about how their trip has been.

Games on the beach- Photo Whitney Hansen

The last day of the trip had seemed to take forever to arrive but now it was here and the trip was coming to an end so fast. We had covered 280kms through some amazing rapids, villages, mountains, jungles and were now almost coming out of the hills into the plateau not far from the Indian border. The last day was short and the sun was hotter than ever on the trip. As we neared the takeout the hills sank into the ground and we paddled out into a wide stretch of river. The river was now hundreds of meters wide and the hills were behind us. As i paddled ahead to the takeout to film everyone coming in it was a sad moment to think that i only had a few more minutes on this wonderful river. One by one the group arrived in to the beach.

10 days and 280kms later, Anita and Rama celebrate making it! - photo Hayley Segal

The nepali girls had come from struggling to swim in a pool 3 weeks ago to being able to paddle rapids and work out how to run a multi day trip. It was amazing to see them develop this much in such a short time. From here we loaded up the buses and headed out for our forementioned 20hr bus ride! Luckily it only took like 14 but we made it to the town where we would now compete in the Himalayan River Festival.
For more info on this check back soon

Team Kiwi - Photo Whitney Hansen

Off the river dinner...Dal Baht!! photo Anna Bruno

Anna Bruno on the gear boat! - Photo Hayley Segal

Liv, becky and Mina having a laugh - Photo Whitney Hansen

Jump! Photo Whitney Hansen

(Sorry if i have credited any of these photos incorrectly, email me and let me know. Thanks)