Sunday, 19 May 2013

Kayaking to Cambodia, Dolphin spotting and more waterfalls!

Me and Maaike woke early, after another epic Laos thunderstorm, so no sleep, and it was still raining. Then headed to Crocodile restaurant for our breakfast which was included in the trip. On the way we passed Devyn and Ashley's bungalow, their door was open and Devyn was still in her PJ's so we assumed they had only just got up - we were told to be there for 8am - so we thought oh maybe they overslept. Got to the restaurant and even the staff were late getting up, proceeded to wait for ages for people to arrive. I think this was the first time I'd ever been on time for anything...and everyone else was late...we assumed!

Turns out, we had gotten to the restaurant at 7.30am!!! Devyn and Ashley came in and told us they had thought we were just mega enthusiastic about the day of kayaking and wanted to get there that was why Devyn looked at us strangely when we passed their bungalow this morning! Doh!

So we had breakfast and then took our oars down to the dock area ready for our heavy day of kayaking. We were provided life jackets and cone Vietnamese hats. Not exactly the protective helmets we'd seen in their photos, but with the intense sun, these hats would be more valuable for sure!

Ashley and Devyn took one kayak while Maaike and me took the other. Together with about 10 others and 2 guides, we began kayaking down the Mekong River. Me and Maaike were all 'safety first' and were determined not to be last in the group, especially as we're rubbish kayakers, we actually made a pretty good team and only bumped other kayaks a few times. After about an hour and a half of solid kayaking and a very small rapid, we stopped at the first waterfall of our tour, which was a bit of a trek to get to. I stubbed my toe on a rock and broke a flip flop along the way - which was beginning to become a regular occurrence for me - my feet never get a rest!

We then walked back and down river a bit, where our kayaks had been transported to for us to jump in and begin round two - the rapids! They were only small and we were directed down a special route which we were less likely to capsize in. Me and Maaike, Devyn and Ashley bumped boats along this route, which plonked us all into river shrubbery where we got stuck. We eventually got ourselves out and proceeded to kayak through the rapids hassle free, however Devyn and Ashley were stuck for quite a while, and once out onto the rapids once more, they ended up going down them backwards!

Before long we came to a huge opening on the river, more like a lake, which is where we officially crossed the border into Cambodia and is also where the endangered fresh-water Irrawadey Dolphins reside. We'd been told we should be able to see them, so knackered, we welcomed the break from paddling while waiting to spot them. And sure enough, we did! We spotted 3 of them, and they were SO CLOSE! Me and Maaike had had some super wildlife-spotting luck in Laos.  We then paddled accross this lake like area and headed on shore to dryer land for lunch and a well-needed break. Lunch was rice and bread, as always, with some watermelon. By this point we'd been kayaking for a good solid 3-4 hours and were over it!! Imagine us then learning that our kayaking 'adventure' was not yet over...we still had another hour kayak to another waterfall and then a half hour kayak back to Don Det...argggghhhhh, noooo! We were all super sunburnt as well which didn't help, I had to cover my sunburnt legs with my life-jacket.

So off we set down river again, upon seeing our destination me and Maaike sprinted towards it like Olympic champions, simply because we wanted to get out of the boat - pronto! We were then greeted by a tuktuk, and loaded in along with a ton of kayaks - so it was a very cramped ride to the next waterfall. We had around half an hour at this next waterfall, which was indeed the epic huge waterfall it had been advertised as - it was more Niagra Falls than any of the other trickles we'd seen in S.E.Asia! So we took the opportunity and made some jump pictures, then were ushered back to the cramped tuktuk to our point for jumping on board the kayaks again back to Don Det!

This was the final sprint! Today’s motto was “Fast and Steady Wins the Race”. Me, Maaike, Devyn and Ashley quickly grabbed the first two kayaks from the truck and me and Maaike raced down to the water and asked the guide to point us in ‘home’ direction...we thought we were doing well until Devyn came up behind us, "don't you need your oars ladies?" Bugger, so we nicked the oars from the kayak next to us and jumped into the boat. Devyn and Ashley were still getting directions from the guide and they had conflicting information, mwahaha, we knew the correct way!

So off we all set, unfortunately Devyn and Ashley had the advantage of being better kayakers so they went full speed ahead...but we knew the right direction! After they had gone way up ahead heading straight instead of diagonal, they shouted across to us to ask where to go, so being good sports, we told them. By this point though me and Maaike had already given up the race, everyone else from our group were way behind so we'd won already in our minds.

Along the way we stopped to appreciate the awesome storm brewing in the distance, forked lightening and everything, though this made us paddle faster as we didn't want to be stuck in a Laos storm on a river! Eventually we made it back, without getting stuck in a strong current going the other way, like Devyn and Ashley did! They won the race by a minute, and then we all dumped our kayaks and gear and dunked ourselves in the water, letting the rest of the group take stuff back to the shop, Ashley took some stuff back though so she took one for the team, so we felt less guilty! Awesome day, if a little exhausting!

We then went for showers, had dinner and as we were exhausted, went to bed early again! 

1 comment:

  1. You are definitely having such good time. It seems like you're an adventurer yourself. In the Philippines, kayaking was one of the many activities can be enjoyed. For your kayaking or sailboat needs rayomarine is the place for you. Good luck on your future endeavors.