Monday, December 28, 2009

Roger and Doug--extra days of paddling

After their week on the Peter E. rafting/kayakng Extravaganza, Roger and Doug decided to add on a few extra days of kayaking. We hit the Piatua River, the Upper Jondachi, and the Oyacachi. We had great water levels, beautiful weather and 3 great days of kayaking!

Here's Roger boofing a ledge hole on the Oyacachi River

Roger and Doug practice their boater-cross skills in "Serpintine" on the Oyacachi

Doug, boofing at the top of a long and complicated rapid. The Oyacachi is famous for it's continous and complex boulder-garden-style rapids.

Here's Doug again, but this time boofing his way down the Jondachi

Don leading Roger and Doug through the Upper Jondachi.

If you can swing extra time off of work, adding extra days of kayaking is a great option! Roger and Doug certainly left with smiles on their faces.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Peter Eisner's Rafting/Kayaking Extravaganza--and, the #5 reason we love Ecuador!

Peter Eisner's December 2009 Rafting/Kayaking Extravaganza

Here's Peter happily boofing his way down the Piatua

Peter E. has been a long-time guest of Small World Adventures, and this year he decided to bring some friends and family along with him. We had a mixed group of kayakers and rafters, and so put together what we thought was the ideal tropical vacation. This week had a little bit of everything: there was rafting, kayaking, live Andean music on the porch of SWA's kick ass riverside lodge, fresh squeezed Maracuya and Rum drinks for happy hour, orchids, hummingbirds, rainforest walks, monkeys, sloths, and much more. All and all it was one helluva vacation!

Here's the entire gang after a day of paddling the Upper Mishaulli for the kayakers and a day of jungle hiking for the rafters. Unfortunately, now I have to neglect the rafters in the rest of this blog. Don is busy putting together a YouTube video of the rafters and I'll put the link up on this blog as soon as he is finished!

The kayakers joined the rafters for runs on the Borja section of the Quijos, the Lower Quijos, and El Chaco Canyon. Then, while the rafters were paddling the Jatunyacu and doing some jungle explorations, the kayakers went off to the Piatua river. Here's Peter and Doug at the put in.

Roger, choosing the correct slot in "Sabado Gigante."

Roger and Doug making their way down one of the many boulder gardens of the Rio Piatua.

A friend we met at lunch

Another friend we met at the take-out of El Chaco. He's a fully grown frog about the size of my thumb nail (maybe a little smaller). Apparently, 7 new species of frogs were discovered in Ecuador in 2008/2009. Of the newly discovered species, 6 were found in eastern Ecuador (where we do most of our kayaking). The Oriente (Eastern Ecuador) is one of the most biodiverse, but least studied, parts of the country. We are pretty damn lucky that our backyard is full of amazing whitewater and amazing biodiversity. If you are into checking out birds and critters on your kayaking vacation, there are amazing opportunities for it here in Ecuador!

And now, for reason #5 that we love Ecuador...Gringos have a geat excuse to wear silly outfits like tall socks, striped long johns, and plaid shorts! You boys are looking hot!

Thanks Peter for being such a great group organizer, and thanks to everyone else for following Peter's lead!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Reason #6 we love Ecuador--AND, Nov. 21st-Dec. 5th trips

quREASON #6 we love Ecuador: We are famous here! While we are just some regular scum-bag kayakers in the US, in Ecuador, we are muy famoso (we'll at least in the Quijos Valley that is). We were cruising around the town of El Chaco when this Quijos bus pulled up in front of us, and low and behold, there was a huge poster of us rafting with Memo, Lili and Eduardo during the 2003 Chaco Rafting Race. Even though it was Memo, Lili and Eduardo's first time rafting, we came in 1st place baby!

Ok, though, onto our last 2 weeks of trips. Over Thanksgiving, we had 2 dudes from the UK, and 2 ladies from the D.C. area. Despite their cultural differences:), everyone gelled well together and we had a great week! Above Jeannine is leading the way through the rapid in front of our lodge while her trip-mates look on. Crazy Jeannine--7 days of paddling in a row wasn't enough for her, so she paddled 2 more days on the Potomac when she got home beforing going back to work! Way to get after it Jeannine.
People often get to our lodge and ask us where to go for good bird watching...we'll I'd say just stay put, grab some coffee and sit on the porch--those birds will come to you. I walked out my door one morning and came face to face with this Mot Mot. Not a bad way to wake up!

Here is Bob (from UK) paddling his way down the Quijos River. At 75 years old, he ranks in as our oldest guest to date. But don't let his years fool you, he still gave us all a run for our money! Not only did he keep up in all the paddling, but he beat most of us to the river the day we did the Lower Jondachi hike in (about 30 minutes through the mud and intense jungle heat)! Keep up the good work Bob!

And, here's Anne, again on the Rio Quijos, approaching the Pica Piedra rapid. Anne won the "toughest chick" award on this trip (well, actually the toughest person boy or girl award really), but we'll let her tell the story. I'll just tell you she is one tough cookie, and you don't want to mess with her!
Besides the Quijos River, we also paddled the Upper Misahualli, Lower Jondachi, and Jatunyacu Rivers during their trip. Even though everyone in the group can paddle year round at home, Ecuador was an excellent respite from the cold air and cold rivers at home! I mean, come on, who doesn't want to paddle in the tropics when it's 35 degrees at home?

And last, but not least, the Midge-Miester. Dave joined the UK/DC crew for his first week in country and then stayed on for a 2nd week of private boating with Don and Darcy. Here he is rocking the Upper Jondachi--way to go Dave!

And here is the entire crew at the take out of their last day of paddling. It was bitter sweet--on the one hand a great end to an even greater week of paddling, on the other hand everyone had to go their seperate ways.

Here's Marco our taxi driver for week 2 with Dave. I love this shot of his truck with the building clouds in the background. This photo was taken on top of 8,000 foot Guacamayo Pass.

Darcy on "Slots of Fun" on the Upper Misahualli.

Don, testing the weight limit of an Indigenous bamboo bridge


Hector, the newest member of Small World's kayaking team!

He got his first lesson 2 weeks ago, and he's psyched:)