Stoked on Ecuador! SWA is back baby.

Don punches the hole at “Darcy’s Rapid” on the Chingual River in Ecuador
The Small World Adventures crew is fully assembled and ready for the 2012/2013 season.  Tarquino flew back in early October, Greg, Guy, Don and Darcy flew down on October 18th, Larry came the 21st, and Liam got in on November 6th.  We is back baby and ready for action!
 Guy, learning the ropes of life in Ecuador.  Not bad, eh?  Shorty, sunshine, good water, good friends.
Liam missed the initial weeks of exploring because he was chuffed about his jumper or something like that; but he will have the next 4 months to catch up!  Meanwhile, the rest of us were busy trying to paddle every section that we guide on our trips to see which rapids have changes, which accesses have been improved or fallen into disrepair, AND, of course, just to have fun.
Greg and Don stocking up on road trip supplies
We figured, why F around when we arrived and started out straight away with the Oyacachi, Cheesehouse and then a ROAD TRIP!

 Darcy meeting some new chica friends

We had a grand time seeing old friends, getting reacquainted, meeting new friends and catching up with all our favorite rivers.

Larry, SWA master mind, enjoying a sweet run down the upper stretches of the Upper Misahualli

There was, of course, a small adjustment period getting back into the Ecua-way of living.  First of all, we have to adjust to having awesome fresh fruits and veggies.  Then we have to re-adjust to listening to rega-ton.  Next is watching Greg invent 10 new hand shakes with each shuttle driver we have and, oh yeah, gotta re-adjust to paddling in a shorty top.  Life is rough down here!

Greggy punching holes in Oro Pendula Island on the Chingual
On the rivers, it seems there must have been mega high water in the Quijos Valley while we were gone.  Many rapids have changes on the Cosanga, Quijos and Oyacachi rivers.  Plus, logs that have been beached on giant boulders for a decade are GONE.  Pretty exciting to think about what was going on while we were gone!

 Don and Greg dwarfed by boulders up North.  This is saying a lot as Don is 6 feet and Greg is 6’6!

Over in Tena seems things to have changed less (except for a few logs and access points).  The Jondachi, Piatua and Misahualli are rather prone to changes in big floods, but all those rivers are more or less the same.

The boys doing their community service road improvement project
For a more detailed account of the river changes, check out our Kayaker’s Guide to Ecuador Blog.
Mi Hombre Lucho on one of the countless rapids on the Topo

A highlight of the early season this year for me and Don was a run down the Topo river with local paddler Lucho.  We hadn’t paddled the Topo for almost 5 years and it was great to get back.  They are currently building a hydro project on this river so access is a little tricky, but with Lucho, it was no problem!

Sorry I could only take 1 photo, but Lucho was flying down the river and I had to concentrate on keeping up, not on taking photos;-)

Look for Lucho on the future SWA guide roaster–this guy is the MAN!

Greg working hard to find the tongue on “Darcy’s Rapid”

Our group road trip was up north to some of our favorite rivers up there.  We were lucky enough to see Toucans, hawks, and color tanagers.  The bird watching contingency should definitely move their tours to Northern Ecuador!  That place rocks for the birdies (and the kayaking).

Greg, enjoying a classic Ecuadorian bridge over the Rio Due

In other news, Larry is busy training up our awesome new cooks–Liliana and Jemana.  He is also working on new guide housing for Greg and Liam.  Guy is busy planning and plotting the new SWA hot tub, and Tarquino is a loco as ever!

 Guy, checking the Chingual.  I think he’s loving his new office.

We have just completed our first trip of the season and all the guests are in route to Quito with Memo and are as happy as can be. 

Larry, getting bubblicious in the clear waters of the Piatua

We’ve also started doing daily water level and weather updates. Weather prediction is nearly impossible here in the Amazon Basin so we figured we’d at least tell you what happened and what is currently happening with the water levels and weather here.  Check it out, yo: Ecuador Water Levels and Weather Updates

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