Friday, December 21, 2007

Swiftwater Rescue Technican

SRT Level 1

Every couple of years this a course that needs to be redone. Just arriving home from India for Christmas, and leaving for Chile at the end of the month, I saw that Raven Rescue was running a course on the Nanaimo river. Though not the warmest location in the world, it would get me certified through 2010 with Rescue 3 International with the opportunity to audit the course for free within 3 yrs.
We had a pretty cool class of hydrologists, and people who worked around streams, creeks and rivers. This meant the course was geared toward swimming and lots of it. Good practice as always in water that was 2.5 degrees.

Enjoy the photos from this winter excursion. If in the area and interested in a course contact Craig Gerrard or Raven Rescue.

Setting up rescue systems.
The prusik knot.
Typical mechanical advantage system, or Z drag.
The Prussik Brake.
Gearing up for the swim.
Gear heading down to the bank of the Nanaimo river. Running at 30cms for the course, it hit 1200cms a few days before.
Setting up for the start of swimming on day 2.
Aggressive swimming.
Playing at a little hole swimming.

Shallow water crossings.
Live bait rescue and contact swimming.
Photos by David Prothero
Copyright 2007

Return to Vancouver Island

Sunrise in the Valley.

Paddling the Puntledge

I recently arrived back to Canada from India and was lucky enough to have the Puntledge river running. This is a river that because of the efforts of the VIWPS, is one of the only rivers that BC Hydro releases for recreational use. There is a rather large festival here at the end of May, this coming year being the fourth of this event.
With a bunch of fresh rain, I was able to get in one run down the Upper run of the Puntledge which features 9 slides, with with two 18ft drops and another with a 400ft long slide. After that it was a couple of days of play boating in cooler temps of -1-0 degrees. A big switch from India.
We did have a good showing with 12-14 paddlers out each day. Some from Victoria a few hours south.

Enjoy the photos of some of the features.

Looking down toward Denman Is. from the Dyke road on the way to the Puntledge.

No more shorts and sandals for paddling. Snow Boating.

Gillian Luttrell rippin it up on one of the Three Pigs. This is the first set of waves that you come upon on the river. About four like this in a row. Have to hike back to the top, but it is worth it.

Getting the fire going.

Brian Oertli.

Brian tearing it up in his C-1 scooter.

Nice wave, eh.

Carrie Smith enjoying some playtime on the wave.

The cold weather does cut down on wait times for surfing.

Author takes a break from shooting photos to get out on the wave. Photo by Shayne Vollmers.

Shayne Vollmers getting in a blunt.
Photos by David Prothero
Copyright 2007

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Brahmaputra River, Northeast India.

The Brahmaputra River or the Siang river as it is called in Arunachal Pradesh.

The drive to the Put in.

I first heard of this river when I worked with Kim Hartlin at my first rafting job on the Bow river in Banff, AB. I continued rafting and cooking in a variety of locations over the years, then I read an article in 2002 in Paddler of the first commercial trip down the river that Aquaterra had run.
5 years later I got on to a trip as a guide. What a great river. Beautiful scenery, huge rapids, big sandy beaches, camp fires and excellent food.
Just an interesting experience getting to the river. Flying into Dibrugarh along the Himalaya mountain ranges of Nepal and Bhutan, 8 hours on a ferry up the Brahamaputra to Pasighat, and then a two day drive to the put in just below Tuting.
Once at the top of the river, we would spend the next seven days heading down the river, rafting 180kms of this beautiful river.
We had a great group of lads and lasses on this trip, the weather was unreal and though the water was low, there were still those twenty foot waves that seemed to be in each rapid we went down. Some spots that where usually flat, now were big providing great entertainment.
Look forward to doing this trip again in the future. For info please contact Aquaterra Adventures.

Will let the photos say the rest. Enjoy.

Local man fishing with a boom net on the ferry ride up the Brahmaputra.

Local transportation.

The bamboo bridges that cross the river. All bridges were wiped out in the flood of 2000 when the river rose 150ft. Photo by Jam McManus.

Kayaking through Ninging rapid. Photo by Jam McManus.

Locals fishing for catfish and sucker fish. Made for an excellent snack before dinner.

Future Kayaker?

Looking back upstream at the last nights camp. Photo by Jam McManus.

Beautiful flowers.

Gappu enjoying an afternoon cup of Chai.

Local Adi tribes women doing traditional dancing.

Sanjay styling through one of the rapids. Photo by Jam McManus.

One of the kids who came by on the rest day.

Rana going for a nice hit on one of the smaller rapids. Photo by Jam McManus.
Photos by David Prothero
Copyright 2007

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Kali Ganga, another paddling trip......almost.


The boys, Myself, Andi, and Kanhan.

Last week, we had a bit of slow time at Aquaterra, so sitting around the campfire sharing a bit of rum we made a plan. Andi, Kanhan, and myself decided to go and check out the upper part of the Mandakini river.
We got our hands on a map of Uttarakhand and saw that a road ran up to the town of Kalimath. Figuring that this would be a good place to start, we hired a car and headed off.
Kalimath is a very small village, but we were able to secure a place to stay and somewhere to eat. On the drive up we had been able to get an idea of what the river was like and though it was low it would be runnable. After dinner and a couple of drinks we slept with eager anticipation of the run tomorrow.
The plan was to paddle 4.5kms on the Kali Ganga and then 15-20kms on the Mandakini river the first day. Then run the lower 20kms on the Mandakini river the second day. This was not to be. We had paddled a few smaller drops and had a portage when we saw three guys scrambling around on river left. They waved us over wanting to talk. Not really sure what was going on myself and Kanhan Singh went over. Very quickly we realized that these were DFO agents sent down by the Forest Ranger. They wanted to know where our permit was.
This river is listed on any map as a sanctuary or protected area. Apparently that has changed. They wanted us to hike half a km up to the road, we told them that we would meet them downstream where the river was next to the road. That settled, we headed off for the last 3kms of the Kali Ganga.
Lots of drops and a couple more portages ensued. A great run and would be even nicer with a foot or so more water in it.
We arrived downstream at a bridge to find a group of six waiting for us. Kanhan Singh and myself went up to chat to the fellows, which ended in Kanhan being hauled into the car and being driven off to Rudyaprayag. Myself and Andi quickly followed after loading the boats and gear. It took a while to sort out in town but that was the end of the trip and we were down 2000 rupees, which we slid to the head ranger in the parking lot. Of course it was a lot better than paying 10000. A money grab? Hmmm. Also check out the blog or to see some other good paddling places in Uttarakhand.

Our driver enjoying a cup of Chai.

The happening town of Kalimath.

Andi and Kanhan Singh hiking down to the river.

Andi styling through one of the drops.

Looking back upstream at one of the fun ones.
Andi dropping down in the sunshine.
A nice little double drop as Andi comes through the middle.
Kanhan Singh.
The boys in one of the little canyons.
Kanhan Singh on one of the last little rapids.

Chilling at the DFO office in Rudyaprayag.
The end of our paddling trip this time.

Photos by David Prothero.