This week, new SWA guide–Liam–has written a fabulous blog. He was so inspired by Chris, Steve, Kim, Todd and Paul that he just couldn’t hold it all inside any longer! I’ve put “American” translation in italics when need be. Here’s what ol’ Liam had to say about his 1st week of kayak guiding in Ecuador in 2012:
Our “Torrents” week is all about variety and showing our visitors some of the best rivers Ecuador has to offer. This week certainly lived up to it; from big water on the Quijos in dry cags (dry tops) to technical beautiful blue water in shortie cags (shorty tops) on the Piatua. The paddling is only part of the trip–albeit a very important part–But at SWA we strive to give you an incredible week of paddling combined with Ecuadorian culture and a wee bit of sight seeing as well!
No matter what trip you book on, we create a great blend of adventure and ease. Remote jungle runs, exotic wildlife, fun cultural experiences, great white water complimented by seamless logistics, comfortable transport, a great selection of boats and most of all the SWA riverside lodge.
This was my first week guiding for Small World Adventures and I had a blast! So I owe a big thank you to Todd, Paul, Chris, Steve and Kim. We bagged seven grade four (Class IV) runs in seven days. Though we don’t focus on tuition (instruction) on our Torrents trip it’s hard not to improve when you have seven quality days in a row on the water. For one paddler this was his first time paddling more than two days in a row and it was a real treat for me to see a significant improvement in his paddling.
Team torrents also got to paddle with almost the whole SWA team. Larry, Tarquino, Don and Darcy all spent a couple of days with the group. Only I had the severe misfortune of being in Steve and Chris’s company for the entire seven days!
For the Torrents team here is a list of what we paddled and my personal highlights of the week.
Day 1.) Bridge 1 to the lodge on the Quijos. Todd surfed harder than Swayze in point break in the middle of Pollo Sin Rival. But he hung tough and endered out with a nice story to tell!
Day 2.) Bottom of Oyacachi to Bon Bon. Steve nailed a sure fast roll resulting in his avoidance of a sure scrambling in Gringos Revueltos. Paul and Kim successfully unlocked a tricky entrance to a good play wave and enjoyed a good surf. Later, while drinking beers on the porch back at the lodge, we were treated to a impressive humming bird fight.
Day 3.) Oyacachi. This was one of the harder runs but the group was in that perfect state of being warmed up but not too tired yet and, on the whole, styled it. Then we made the journey over the pass to the warmer Tena Valley. The whole group was in good spirits from a fine day on the water and we spent most of dinner telling stories and laughing. A Particularly good story about a kabutz, 2 girls and some ….sea food is still making me laugh.
|And be one traveler, long I stood|
|And looked down one as far as I could|
|To where it bent in the undergrowth…”|
Day 4.) Piatua. A river made up of round boulders, boofs, and blue water this is one of my top three rivers off all time. We explored Tena that evening and stumbled across a volleyball match. The atmosphere was great on the sidelines and the teams themselves were getting pretty heated. I think I’ll go watch a match every week to make up for missing the premier league (soccer league) at home.
Day 5.) This day we were lucky enough too see tarantulas and monkeys both before we’d even had breakfast. The team spent the day boofing in shortie cags (shorty tops) on the Upper Misahualli. We got out at a quaint jungle lodge which is an excellent place to relax and cool down with a drink.
Day 6.) we tackled the Lower Cosanga. With Chris not on the river Steve thought the time was right to have a little dip. I thought that it might shake him but half way through the next wave train he became a man possessed as he drove through every stopper (hole) and wave he could see.
Day 7.) The final day: we ran the el Chaco Canyon from the lodge. This stretch is the home to the rapid El Toro (the bull) and we all stood up to the challenge of taming the rapid. We spent time playing on a wave trying to pull off old school moves in our creek boats, Chris gets the award for best pop out.
Seven days of great boating done!