Thursday, February 16, 2006

14 October 2005, a day on the Omo River

The Omo rapids
Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Transcripted from the diary, I kept during the Omo River trip.

A quite start to the day. It is dry. We are early, having had porridge for breakfast. Two fish eagles are posing by the stream. The Wohaita warriors are still here, mostly dressed in maroon, loking somedistance away from the main camp. Low cloud is hanging over the hills. It is not think and it is altogether bright.

The storm passed very quickly last night and we had a dry evening during which we sat around the camp fire, eating meat rissoles, rice and a delicious tomato and onion (finely chopped) salad. There is no general alcohol here, so we are drinking only coffee and orange squash (in vast quantities). There had been a misunderstanding about the alcohol and when we saw the bus down had a box filled with bottles we thought it was for general consumption, albeit each paying their share. Instead, it was drink specially ordered by the crew. Fred and Chris seem a little upset to be missing their gin and tonics, but Geoff and I are happy enough with our enforced alcohol-free two weeks!

The camp is being dismantled now and the boats are being loaded. Smoke from last night’s fire is still emanating, and like last night, it is blowing into my face! Time to get going and to help the others.

And here we are at the end of the day again. The sun has set behind the mountains to the west and a 2/3 moon is about 30 degrees high to the west, following the sun down. We have picked on another amazing campsite, again on a large bend, facing the rapids, with mountains downstream to the west.

It has been a great day, with clear blue skies and a lovely trip through the riverine forest, seeing many crocodiles, albeit briefly before they shuffle off and slip into the water, big ones too. Also saw some buck, a few hippos and plenty of fish eagles. The forest looked a beautiful green as it reflected off the water in the clear sunshine. Plenty of eddies, whirlpools and the largest rapids we have come across.

These were spectacular and featured a large hole (a place you don’t want to be apparently), but they were deemed to be too dangerous to cross, as we are so remote and so far from any help. So, we pulled the boats to the side of the river and forced them down the rocks. Not that everybody was exactly happy about this, especially as we had been promised the best rapids of the trip, but at least we were all in one piece.

I was on the boat with Gary and Geoff today, while Fred was with Claude and Danny…. But now the only light I have is moonlight and writing is not so easy. Time to help in the kitchen, I reckon.

(more to follow)


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