River 3: The Sandrananta

Edit 17 Nov 2015: We were incorrect in thinking that this was a first descent. Read about the true first descent here: http://geraintanderson.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/into-unknown-first-descent-of.html

The Sandrananta, our initial first descent began with a day of full on 4×4 driving. There was mud and stuff but we didn’t get stuck so that was nice.

Cheeky pineapple

Cheeky pineapple

Following this we spent a Saturday night in a bunk house in Ikongo, ready to add our chapter (to be read in south African accent). The next day we were perfectly set up for a Sunday morning organising our kit and cooking breakfast by a church in front of 100+ locals blowing off prayer to laugh at the fazzas (a local word for gangly white men in skirts).

Josh’s crowd-pleasing face

Josh’s crowd-pleasing face

The first giveaway of excitement downstream was the congregation sprinting a few hundred metres to the first set of rapids, where they continued to whoop and holler as we paddled past. Many high fives and fist bumps were had, good fun all round! The rest of the day was flat scrapey nonsense, Campbell took one for the team with a swim to keep morale up on the one good rapid. Good lad (#LADSLADSLADSMADA2K15).

Calum at “Sticky Lawrence” – the site of an unfortunate swim for Campbell

Calum at “Sticky Lawrence” – the site of an unfortunate swim for Campbell

That evening on a comfortable camp unnamed members of the team whom had substituted ponchos for sensible clothes delved into the benefits of this choice and its associated privacy, stroke technique galore and an evening well spent deep in the bush! On an other note if you don’t own a poncho, who even are you? As a now hardened expedition kayaker and total bad ass, I can tell you a poncho represents fashionable evening get up. A towel/drying implement, a warm sleeping recepticle (minus the head hole always ending up around crotch area), along with ensuring celebrity status with the locals. Alas, I digress.

The finest garments known to man

The finest garments known to man

Day 2 turned out to not be quite as guff, with building bony grd 2 then 3 then a cheeky chossy 4, this was followed by a 70 / 80 ft top to bottom monstrosity that may go with more precipitation and a more testosterone fueled group than ours.

The Monster!

The Monster!

The afternoon included some lovely first descent grd 3 and 4, most notably one round an island Calum charged in order to not poo himself (this country is bad for your bowels and colour of your underwear, as I type and sip rum Matt and Sam are upstairs running back and forth from the bed and toilet, this seems to be a rota of who is likely to have an accident at any one time). Completion of this quality whitewater culminated in us finishing an anticipated five day section in two, happy days!

One of the chossier sections!

One of the chossier sections!

Sam lining up one of the many little ledges

Sam lining up one of the many little ledges

We finished the next morning dropping a further 50m with some nice grade 4, which we mucked about and beatered our way down before reaching our take out and destination. We were therefore disappointed as a true traveller finds solace not in his destination, but the journey and is disappointed if he does find his destination (also to be read in a south African accent). Generally a worthwhile first D and top #bantr #lads #letsgetmadagascartattoos