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Major Trip Reports.…
Day 08a The Lower Guil
Day one for many on the river today and an ideal first river in the Guil Valley below Mont Dauphin Fort. We all arrived at the get in along the gravel track and carried our boats down to the water`s edge where the newcomers got used to the wizardry of whitewater kayaking.
Everyone practiced edging their boats while others rolled and surfed in the clear blue water. We split into groups and set off downstream making sure to avoid the rocks and enjoy the scenery. We arrived at a
wave where some of us had a short play before setting off again downstream practicing breaking in and out as we went.
Soon we passed a pretty waterfall on the left and turned around to see a rock formation in the shape of a hand. More eddy hopping and we soon arrived at the convergence with the Durance. The water here was a bit confused, so we had to concentrate and keep our balance and joined the main flow. Alexander made the mistake of dipping his paddle to check the water depth. And we all know it’s just the law to do a roll after making such a signal.
Before we knew it we arrived at St Clement where we or I was a bit nervous in my new boat so we paddled straight through the Slalom course to the get out on the beach. Here we all practiced swimming down the rapids and then tried to safety people with our throwlines. Everyone’s throwline work was really good this
year so everyone must have been practicing!!
The non-paddlers met with us and enjoyed lunch on the riverside including a big cute dog that was eyeing up everyone’s sandwiches.
The kids played with their buckets and spades in the sand while we waited for cars to arrive.
A great start for everyone.
Day 08b St Clements to Rab Wave (Lower Durance)
After lunch on the beach at St Clements some of the crew decided to paddle down to the Rab wave as they had heard that it was “just a wave train” this year. We set off as one large group of 11. The river began to pick up speed and waves
and eddies grew in size. We all headed for the best waves playing and bobbing as we went. The largest set of waves were below a set of powerlines on a large left-hand bend. The mood in the group was good with most laughing and joking as we went.
We paddled around the large rock wall dividing the current with a large recirculating eddy on river left and headed off on river right. This signalled the run in to the Raboiux rapid. We passed through two sets of large boulders standing as gates to the left-hand channel. Most rafts and inflatables take the main flow to the right of the island.
We stopped about 50m about the Rabioux rapid. There is a large triangle shaped rock on the left just below the main wave. Keith and Stuart went first. Then one by one we paddled out into the centre of the current and lined ourselves up for the rapid. As we dropped in there were two waves which funnelled everyone into the main vee, fortunately we all managed to make it through in one piece. This was not the easy wave train produced by the higher flow of the week before. The river had dropped and had produced a steeper hole with a difficult double wave.
Grateful that we had survived with three and half rolls and one swim, we loaded up our kayaks and headed back to the campsite for the rest of the days sunshine.