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Major Trip Reports.…
Day 13 St Clements to Embrun
At 10:30 the cars finally left for the river with all the paddlers, families, parents and white-water gurus. We finally got started paddling around 12 Midday. This was at a good level and more and more of
the team were starting to get more adventurous on the play waves. We set off down the main river towards the Rabioux Wave with many practising their rolls. We were paddling as one large group of 17 on this large river. There is plenty of room and you can paddle 3 or 4 abreast on most of the rapids. We enjoyed the giant wave trains as we had all paddle this section before. The youngsters including Sarah had to do the jumping in from the overhanging cliff again. Ollie and Ella drew on points with two “5.9`s” for their forward flips into the water.
On arrival at the “Rab wave” we met Maria and proceeded to swap parents and boats. Spectators moved to the beach below the Rab wave to watch and take photos. The remaining paddlers set off down the traditional left-hand route between the island. Following the previous paddle, we had all decided to take a line either in the middle or slightly right of main tongue this time. This should make for good photographs as the wave had changed again with higher water levels. One by one we set off. After two weeks paddling and
numerous rivers, we were all feeling more confident. However, with the roar of the water and anticipation of waiting your turn, the run always induces much more concentration and stress than it probably deserves. One by one we all made it down safely, now we could all enjoy our lunch in the sun watching the many rafts and kayakers attempt the same rapid.
After lunch Sarah took a team of daredevils to swim through the Rab Wave. Ella and Ellie wanted to paddle the grade 3+ rapid so we carried the boats up to about 100m upstream and set off following each other through the wave. We all made it safely and the juniors paddling, and confidence had come enormously over the time in the Alps. All are now very competent on large, fast flowing grade 2-3 Alpine rivers.
Steve and Maria had swapped duties and the group of 17 continued down the Sunshine Run. Large and frequent grade 3 rapids were tackled as one group with the juniors often taking the lead. Large wave trains, boulders and swirling bubbling eddies followed for the 14 km run down to Embrun. We kept well clear of the collapsing loose cliff just above “Pont Neuf” and paddled the rapid with style. The group were laughing and joking as we went and before long, we came across the new bridge at Embrun that marked the last play wave. The lake was rather high this year and consequently covered most of the rapids for the last 200m.
We packed up the kayaks into the waiting cars and vans, some visited the supermarket for last minute items for the BBQ later and headed back to the campsite.