3rd August: Paddle on the Durance

I was brave today. I went paddling. John, Dan and Matthew, took vehicles to the get out point 10 kilometres up the river and, when they were back we got on at the campsite. I was really apprehensive because I haven’t paddled for a while and the river looked quite fast to me. However, Dan reassured me and, with most people on and ready to fish me out if I swam, I launched into the flow with no problems.

There were a few rapids and bouncy wave trains as we made our way down the river and, at times, I was very nervous. However, I managed ok without too many heart pounding moments and only one expletive! The scenery was stunning. John and I had worried we’d be too hot in our dry suits, designed for UK weather, but the cold water and cool breeze meant we were fine.

After a while, we reached a slalom site in the river. Having successfully negotiated a couple of small drops and breaking into the eddies, on breaking back in I ended up upside down and abandoned my boat. Dan quickly rescued me and the England canoe slalom team who were practising at the site, collected my boat and paddle. Suitably cooled off, and not too traumatised, I was soon back in my boat and didn’t have any more dramas.

Not long after, we stopped on a beach so that those who were brave enough could jump from a rock into a deep pool in the river. I just took photos!

Dan, John and I stopped before the last big rapid to check what it was like. John decided to go for it, while I decided I’d quit while I was ahead and give it a miss. We both had a very enjoyable trip.

Back at the campsite, we dried our kit and did some shopping. After dinner, the evening was spent chatting (and drinking!) with the 4 couples and families who come out to this area regularly, sitting outside Dan and Jackie’s tent listening to a dodgy singer crucifying some good tunes by the bar.

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