December 31, 2005
Rollin' On a River
In case I haven't mentioned it, part of why I am in Ecuador is to learn how to whitewater kayak. I went in the states a few times with my friends Dave and Talia (who first took me and taught me some basics), and a few others who were kind enough to escort me down the lower White Salmon in Washington. But, because the water on the WS is freezing cold year round, it isn't the ideal place to learn. So here I am, in a place with so many rivers, of all kinds, warm and wonderful, hoping to learn all I can during my all to short of a stay.
Yesterday I learned how to roll, which I always thought would be very difficult to learn. Andy is such an excellent instructor, breaking it down into various phases and then linking it all together into one fluid process. I found it to be a little tricky at first, but thanks to his patience and effective teaching techniques, I ended up getting it 6 times in my first lesson! I was very happy.
After the roll session, we ran the Rio Tena all the way back to our apartment in Tena. It was fantastic! Along the way, families did their thing in the river, and some of the kids hopped on Andy's kayak (thankfully not mine, as I would have capsized for sure) and he gave 2 of them a ride quite a ways down the river, towing them on his stern. It was great to watch, they loved it. Ecuadorians live in the rivers, they really are a source of life for them; there is evidence everywhere that along with the forest, the rivers are definitely their lifeline.
Above are some photos of me in a kayak, and of me awestricken by the sights of Loopy River before it joins the Tena. At their confluence is where I learned to roll.