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Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have been in Uganda for almost four weeks now. I’m so happy paddling has brought me to this beautiful country. The kayaking over here is amazing, but it’s only a fraction of the experience.

I am living on the Hairy Lemon which is a small island in the Nile River in the south of Uganda near Lake Victoria.

It’s nowhere near Kony, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s not as basic as I thought. The island a little bigger than a football field.

Camping here is fine and the food and facilities are great. Solar power, flushing toilets and showers. It’s paradise here.

Being woken up by monkeys, birds, roosters and the likes is very amusing.

Notice anything strange in the photo below?

It's a Tree Vipor snake!

Barry and Andrew from Galway are also here on the lemon too which is great craic. One of the roosters on the island has taken a liking to Barry. It walks up to his tent every morning and blasts him out of it. He then returns fire with his flip flops. Barry’s aim is spot on everytime!

The sights, smells and sounds here are like no other country I’ve been too. Getting around on motorbikes up and down the river is an adventure in itself. Lots of kids come out to the roadside to wave at us with huge smiles on their faces wanting to practice their English with us.

Kayaking in the sun on big water everyday really takes it’s toll. By my second day here my knees got blisters from the heat and the Jackson mesh padding in my boat. I put a layer of soft sticky back foam on top of the existing mesh foam and problem solved. Thanks to James Bebbington for that foam. However I had to take four full days off the water to let my knees heal up. It’s the small cuts and scrapes you have to be careful of out here being on the water.

Kalagala Falls

We have run most of the rapids bar Hypoxia so we might have a look at that one this week. Scouting is a bit of a pain with all sorts of insects, snakes and stuff I’ve never seen before on the banks. I had a frog jumping around my legs one day running a rapid which made things more interesting.

On Monday of this week I decided to take a solo trip down the river. The rapids turned out to be the least of my worries. On the flat section after the Dead Dutchman rapid I was taking in the beautiful scenery when I noticed a huge crocodile in an eddie only 30 meters from me. It must have been 15-20 feet long. It went under the water and the next few kilometres were spent looking over my shoulder.

The Dead Dutchman Rapid

Itanda (the locals tell me it translates to "death")

On Tuesday myself and Barry went to the top of the river for a trip. We didn’t see any crocs but our line down Itanda did not go to plan. I was leading and got pulled left on the entrance to the rapid. We hit off each other before the entrance ramp and in true boater cross we went down it together scrambling to both get ahead.

It was like Galway fest all over again. There were a few bad words said. I got out in front and we both had nice lines behind the pencil sharpener.

But a weird boil sucked us right into the Cuban. I punched through the hole as Barry got a little working and was able to surf off the shoulder for a nice line through the rest of the rapid.

As you can see from the photo Barry took on his way past I was not as lucky. The ashtray is a pretty big hole.

I managed to surf out on surfers right and had a clean line down other place. We then paddled the rest of the river taking in the constant nature show along the way. Eagles, lizards, monkeys, birds, otters and the likes. We finished the day with a nice session on Nile special wave.

Regards from Jinja, Uganda!

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