By Theresa Landman
Kayakers: Derrick Law, Shaun Boughen, Bob Daffe, Kevin Daffe,
Scotty Burrell, Peter Finoff, Jochan Kirkoff and Theresa Landman (with a brief
appearance by Adam Villard).
Landing in Quito was a high, not
only because of the upcoming kayaking but the high altitude was making me feel trippy! I
felt protected sending an e-mail to my folks as an armed guard stood a few feet away from
me, pointing his shotgun towards the door. Derrick happened to get a drug bust on film,
got pickpocketed on the bus, while I decided to donate my camera to the bus gods for I
never did see it again.
We arrived in Tena, which would be our base for most of the trip. Taxi drivers were use to
kayakers and had their trucks outfitted with roof racks and benches for seating in the
back. Luis our personal taxi driver liked the way Peter tied the boats on his truck and
would only want his help for the duration of the trip.
The usual question of the day was "What's it going to be Bob, Class III, IV, V or
another surprise flood river?" Even though he's never paddled Ecuador before,
everyone assumed he should know. Might as well throw the dice, it could be a Class VI for
all we knew.
The guys were pumped to go kayaking and the rivers were all in flood, - so much for the
warm-up. We plunged into the Rio Napo, which was big water and great surfing. The next day
we ran the upper Misahualli river in flood and it was Class V boating time. There was lots
of unintentional hole riding, backenders and cartwheels. Bob said this would not be a good
river for swimming, it was very fast, few eddies and a long trek through the jungle to get
your boat back.
Next was the Lower Misahualli, which was relatively, more relaxing. It was very thick
jungle with Tarzan vines, shiny blue butterflies, parakeets, vultures and waterfalls. The
surfing was great but the 1.5-hour portage wasn't. Sheer