Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Easter on Hawaii

Over the easter-weekend we started our big wave hunt 2009 in Europe in Lyon on Hawaii-Sur-Rhone.
Unfortunately the level was not perfect and it changed a lot, to our dismay it went up highest during the night. The gauge changed between 0,9m and 0,5m and unlike in old times the wave didn´t run all the time in that range. Apparently one of the concrete pillars in the middle of the river above the wave has broken which has changed the middle wave. Sometimes the foam was big enough to hold you and sometimes it totally greened out and you couldn´t catch the wave as you were too fast coming from above. It appeared that the wave was more retentive when the level was stable or falling in contrary to the time when the level was raising. So don´t be surprised if you get there at a level which normally would have guranteed you perfect fun and now you might not be able to catch the wave at all or maybe just every other run. But still Lyon is one of my favorite waves even at a suboptimal level like this. Here some pics from the weekend:

Cleaning it up


different angle from the island

Still lovin the backstab

And the well-deserved sip from the magic potion

all pics by Maria Stelzig

Enjoy the river!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Finally: Day-One Section & "My Top 10 Uganda Tips"

Finally I came around to write my last part of our Uganda-Story. After a really awesome stay at Hairy Lemon for nearly two and a half weeks we`ve taken a Matatu
full of kayakers to change camps to Eden Rock which is located at the beginning of the day 1 section of the White Nile. Left with a few days we run as much of the
whitewater as we could in that short time. Unfortunately we didn´t shoot much footage as our time was quite limited. Below you can find some impressions.
Besides the nice White Water lines the day 1 section also offers a really big variety of good food opportunities compared to the good but limited choices at
Hairy Lemon. If you´ve tried everything what the bar/restaurant at the NRE (Nile River Explorer) has to offer ask for the Green Latern. On our last night we
were really lucky and got invited to the home of Harriet who works at the NRE bar and got serverd the most delicious foods I had during the whole trip,
7-9 different dishes, all really tasty. Big props for the good food and thanks for your hospitality Harriet.

Here my top 10 Uganda-Tips:

1. In my opinion Malarone is the best Malaria Prophylaxis at the Moment. And in addition to Malarone never pass out drunken in a bar and always wear longsleeve shirts and long trousers after it get´s dark.

2. Change 100 US Dollar to Uganda Schillings before you travel and pay attention that the notes are not older than from the year of 2000.

3. Arrange a driver to pick you up from the airport before you leave your home.

4. Properly tag your luggage with your name and address before checking in at the airport. Ideally take all essentials in your hand luggage.

5. Take with you your old shirts and cloths and give them to the local kids before you leave.

6. While paddling the day one section stay at Eden Rock if you prefer the more quiet place (just 5 Minutes walk to NRE) and if you prefer the direct party location stay at NRE.

7. While paddling Nile Special stay at Hairy Lemon!

8. If you want to have a dorm alone with your better half make sure to book in advance:

9. If going to Hairy Lemon take out as much cash from the ATM in advance as getting to an ATM from Hairy Lemon and back will cost you one day. Hairy Lemon will cost you around 35.000 - 80.000 Uganda Schilling a day, depending if you stay in a tent or what kind of dorm and also depending on how many beers etc. you´re going to dring in the evening...

10. Last but not least always shake out your paddling shoes properly before putting them on, i.e. beware of the small frogs ;-) And be careful where you dry your paddling gear as the termites like to make small holes in your gear.

In the entry of the hump

Going for a kinda wavewheel after the main part of the hump

Throwing some ends in the wrestling-hole

Final hole on the right side of bujagali falls

Cutting the diagonal above the final hole

Hitting the bottom hole at the far left while running bujagali blind at the first time

The Bottom hole flipping a raft

Having dinner at Harriet`s place

Harriet`s Family loving the digital camera

Nice air roof rack on our shuttle back to the airport

Back home I just can tell you, go visit the White Nile as long as it is paddleable and not every rapid is flooded because of a damn-project!

All pics by Maria Stelzig or myself

Power on!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Change of Camp - Uganda Part 5

This time I´ll devote the second last blogpost about the Uganda-Trip to the people in Uganda and the country.
Talking about the country what is amazing is the number of kids with so young mothers it is hard to grasp, actually being just kids themselves. Check out the pictures we mostly made on the trip from Hairy Lemon to Eden Rock, our base camp at the day one section.

women excursion to Nile Special with their kids

Many fishermen working on the nile

Always people washing their clothes at the river

bird flying low

resting on a tree

beaming cloud

Apes just in the trees above our hut

Monkey in mid-jump

Beautiful sunsets

Boat shuttle of the island

Loading of the Matatu at the Lemon departure

Full Kayaker shuttle

Mostly dirt roads

And long roads

fast food along the road

local high school

Getting water

can you find the canister in the picture?

yellow is one of the favorite colours of houses

the other one being pink

old Singer sewing machinge still in use

The only public transport - Mitsubishi Mini-Buses all over the place

We never saw any herds but one finds cows flocking around everywhere

driving school transformed into a shop

butcher African style

food at the market

getting busy at the market

premises at Eden Rock

Last but not least always check your shoes for frogs in Africa

All pics by Maria Stelzig or Jan Grünwald

Happy Paddling!

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Uganda Part 4, Isar Renaturation & WRSI

Because of the current snowmelt the German Team trials for the Kayak Freestyle Worlds in Thun (CH) this year had to be postponed. Spontaneously Seppi Strohmeier, Maria and myself decided to use the free time on Saturday to check out the Isar south of Munich, from Unterföhring to Garching. The level was quite high (around 140 cm) and there should be some riverwide small playholes on that stretch. We never paddled that part of the river before at this level as before the renaturation there have always been nice waves and holes right in the middle of Munich. As the renaturation in the city has by now destroyed all playspots we thought it would be time to check out something new. Well wishfull thinking, we encountered on that app. 7km stretch around 10 small weirs or rather the spots where they have been. They would have been playspots in the past, now renaturated there was nothing, just a small rapid grade 1. Well done, Munich is on its best way to degenerate from Germanys Kayak Freestyle Capital No. 1 to in worst case szenario a city without playspots at all. We´ll see.

Anyway I was able to check out my new WRSI helmet and I´m super stoked as it fits really snugly on my head. 100 % no more shifting of the helmet on your head, which means more security on the river! Big props and thanks to WRSI (Whitewater Research & Safety Institute)!

The other day I also posted the fourth part of our Uganda story on the Fluid blog. Check it out here.

Pic by Maria Stelzig

Stay safe, power on and have fun!