I flew into Jo-burg where I was met by Celliers Kruger and David Arnaud - the owner and the team manager of Fluid. Unfortunately my bags didn't come with me, and after a few hours waiting for the next flight to come in they still hadn't made it. So the next day after delaying the start of the trip me and David went for a quick paddle on the local run to test out the carbon Nemesis while we waited for my bags to be delivered.
No one really knew what to expect on the first few days, maps seemed to suggest a decent gradient, but with low levels we had a pretty cruisy time. Everything was read and run except for the odd exception, but the were plenty of fun grade 3 rapids, and it was just awesome to be in good company on a long multi-day in the middle of an amazing place
Days were spent paddling, evenings spent cooking and swapping stories and nights spent looking at the southern cross and wondering whether it was going to rain and get us wet (for those of us not in tents).
-"So you're saying we're in South Africa?? I don't believe you!"-
-The pack approaches the falls-
So someone had the plan to lower the boats from the cliff and for us to walk around and pick them up - only problem the walk was about 2km!!
-Hugh Du Preez styling the mank-
-Yep that's a waterfall. Photo Adrian Tregioning-
Andrew Kellet had a sweet line, getting turned sideways a little at the lip but managing to pull it back around and land straight. Some nice shots of the Detox in action right there...
-My turn, Photo Adrian Tregoning-
Oops, what I meant to say was that throwing the boats off was a great idea until we tested the theory with young Scotty's boat and hit a rock and split the stern, sorry scott. So ropes it was!!
A nice little jump off the cliff and we were back on our way. Our 3rd day on the river we only paddled about 4km - as opposed to 40+km on days 2 and 4, however after the fun of the waterfall we decided to relax on a nice island we found, sip a little whisky and enjoy the night.
I took this photo whilst still in my sleeping bag. Time was around 6am, morning after the waterfall so day 4. From under my tarp I see a funny glow, peek out and see this awesome sight. With my watershed bag at arms reach I managed to fire off about 4 shots before the colours faded into white and the land got brighter.
After a 20km paddle before lunch on day 5 we stop where we think is the take out. If we miss it we have to paddle to the ocean. Fuck that. Anyway we had a long lunch, the drivers aren't coming to pick us up. They are coming. They're not coming we're staying the night with no more supplies other than a packet of smash. They are coming? You're sure? Yes. Ok we're on. Let's take photo's of donkeys and local kids with shit on their faces and drink some beers!! Happy days Umzimvubu Expedition 2010 success! Sweet river, awesome crew, awesome boats, cheers Celliers/Fluid and everyone else on the trip!!
-"You got any soap mister?"-
-Local kids in the Transkei-