French Alps 2019 paddling trip – Day 07 The Lower Durance by Ian Bell

French Alps 2019 paddling trip

Day 07 The Lower Durance by Ian Bell

After the late finish yesterday on the Ubaye we had a lazy start today. The plan being to have some time on the campsite and then leave late morning to do the Sunshine run later in the day even though the weather forecast was suggesting that it would be in the rain rather than the sun.

Repairs - John RasquinhaThe morning was spent on the campsite, for some this was a chance to rest whilst others visited local shops for supplies. More importantly there was a significant amount of time spent repairing boats. The most serious being Martin`s which required a major weld to the hull. Fortunately, Dom had all the required equipment to do the job. This was also a useful opportunity for others to learn how to do these types of repairs. They will be examined on this later in week to see if they hold. As we approached departure time, an amendment was made to have lunch on the campsite and then paddle. This gave some members opportunity to play a rather competitive game of Pictionary, which was won by Keith and Hannah.

At 12:30 the bus and cars finally left for the river with 14 potential paddlers. Only 13 finally paddled as one member who shall remain nameless forgot some key items of his kit. He went on to spend the afternoon in Embrun sightseeing. We finally got started paddling around 2pm with a warmup on the slalom course at St Clement. This was at a good level and more and more of the team were starting to get more adventurous on the play waves. After the slalom course we set off down the main river towards the Rabioux Wave. On arrival at the “Rab wave” Keith tried to test some of the group on the line to take and then informed us that we would go on the right of the island for a change this time. All 13 paddlers successful negotiated the Wave. Sarah added to the entertainment by side stuffing the wave. John and Ron both cleared the wave but rolled after, keeping potential rescuers alert.

Once we left the “Rab” the lower river was entertaining with a number of large wave trains and bouncy rapids to keep us on our toes. A couple of people decide to practice their rolls which the resulted in some rescue practices for some of us.

We arrived at the final feature of the river, the Embrun Wave. Again some of the group became adventurous with their playing. Neil unfortunately took a swim but failed to beat Helen Siertsema’s long swim record from a couple of years ago; although it was at same point of river. Just after that, we reached the get out to find Stuart had returned from his sightseeing and very kindly lead the loading of boats while most of group got changed. An obligatory supermarket stop on the way back to the campsite for what is likely to be a damp evening under the tarp; as thunder is forecast for this evening.

More photographs……….