Friday, 5 February 2010

Uganda - The same procedure as last year, Miss Maria?

As last years paddle-trip to the White Nile was so great and we had so much fun, we decided to visit Uganda again this winter. And by no means it was just the same procedure as last year, the same destination yes, but everything else was even better.
To start with, as last year Marias luggage and kayak arrived two weeks late, we decided to not take Egypt Air again this year. Instead we flew with Emirates and what a pleasure it was. No lost luggage, no problem with the kayak (no extra charge; just keep the weight limit), awesome food and a huge library of movies to choose from, to just name a few of the advantages of flying with Emirates. In contrast to that Egypt Air still hasn`t repaid our expanses we had last year because of the delayed luggage. Well, there is never anything better than good customer service and caring about word of mouth.

Anyhow, we arrived in Uganda safely and drove straight to Hairy Lemon to get as much wave time as possible. I have to admit I´m a wave addict and altough I love big volume rapids like on the day one section, I prefere big waves, as all in all you just get more air time if you sum up all your airmoves and bounces ;-) So if you ever meet anybody at the Nile who spends three quaters of his time in Uganda on the Hairy Lemon, that will be me.

So what was different this year to last year. Well, besides getting all our gear there with us in one time we had much less water this year. Last year the Nile Special Wave was in every day all day long and we just had once Club Wave level. This year on the contrary the level was so low that we had Club Wave every day from morning to late afternoon and around 3-4 pm Nile Special was coming in. But I have to say that last year I didn´t remember Club being so good. I think this year was different as I really loved it. One more sign of the features being different was that when the water level was going up Club Wave got really trashy and even quite little foamy and between Nile Special and Club another wave built up: Bell-Wave. At a lower level Bell is a really nasty big hole you rather want to avoid but when Nile Special kicks in you can start catching three wave after another in one run. And Bell-Wave sometimes really builds up high and steep and one can get massive air. As you can see on the pic below, which was my sickest air I got on this trip.

Taking off on the right bounce - unbelievable big air on Bell-Wave

What else was different? Well Maria was able to handle the rope to get on Nile Special really fast, so she was enjoying surfing the biggest wave she has surfed so far and she loved it. Already trying hard to go for the blunt. Roundhouses already being a piece of cake. Hence she also could run day two section this year and loved Silverback on the day one section. I also found the time to run some backchannels this year and was super stoked.

Besides from paddling the food on Hairy Lemon got much better as they had a new cook, Michael, on the island. And this year, as Maria was paddling most of the time as well, we hired two of the local kids, Ivan and Michael, to shoot photos and the video footage for us. They did a great job and especially Ivan can anticipate the moves and everything. He also attended a photographer-course which Jessie, a female American paddler and photographer was giving to her American clients, which helped him a lot. Further down we got pictures of them, so if you need somebody to help you out look out for them. This time they got the same amount of money as the rope boys got for a session. And as they sometimes had 2-3 cameras from different people their earnings piled up and they were happy.

Over Christmas we had a night session at the wave which was really cool, although the local kids promised quite a lot (a generator with flashlights etc.) and somebody paid them all the money up front and in the end there were no lights and the money was gone... Well anyway, they organised some local food, the camp-fire and a few crates of beer, so we had a lot of fun anyway! ;-) Here I just posted the best pics of the trip, check them out and enjoy.

To start with a few pics from Club-Wave:

Pics from good old Nile-Special:

getting lost in the spray

the must-pic: big cheeks ;-)

Although I love my PowerBar Energybars a lot, I can´t say no to a pineapple-session ;-)

Marias first roundhouses, blunts, big airs and big smiles:

Some impressions apart from kayaking:

Ivan Ngobi the master of the camera (especially stills)

Michael "our" videographer

Michael getting the camera introduction

Somehow ended up in the businessclass lounge in Dubai transit ;-)

Some kids showed us around Bujagali and we saw the awesome work from Soft Power Health

Unbelievable, but we really witnessed dynamite fishing! First the guys threw in bait from some rocks in the middle of the river, then waited for around one hour and then threw in the dynamite and collected the dead fish afterwards.

Christmas-Dinner & x-mas Nile-Special Night-Surf party:


All pics by Maria Stelzig & Ivan Ngobi and me

If you need some more input just check out our 6 blogposts from the trip last year:

1. Uganda, Nile Special or just beeing a crazy Muzungu
2. Christmas at Hairy Lemon
3. Africa Revolutions Tour & Sun Catchers Project
4. Uganda Part 4, Isar Renaturation & WRSI
5. Change of Camp - Uganda Part 5
6. Finally: Day-One Section & "My Top 10 Uganda Tips"

Enjoy the river and cu,
Maria & Markus