Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Tales from the Island of Vancouver..

This past week the west coach branch of Team Swain took the opportunity to travel north and spend a relaxing week creeking on Vancouver Island. Recently, there has been a flurry of excitement about Vancouver Island as a premiere creeking destination and as long as you have a bit of time, the "island" offers unlimited opportunities. We began heading north on Sunday and arrived in Port Renfrew the next morning. Port Renfrew is located on the south central west coast of the island and is home to several of the Islands classic runs. Before leaving Hood River we anxiously watched as a large storm moved towards the mainland, and we assumed that we would recieve a neccesary dose of rain allowing us to explore some of the more rain dependent drainages. As luck would have it, most of that storm proved to be in the form of snow. The weather on the Island always seemed to be in flux turning a heavy snow storm into bluebird sunshine faster than a squirell on a hot tin roof.

Vancouver Island is absolutely stunning and I look forward to returning very soon.

For a full trip report check out:

Photos:(Above) Sunset from Port Renfrew, B.C. (Below) The water was clear. Ryan Scott entering the Middle Gordon. Austin, Todd, and Jay waiting in the pit. Todd Baker exiting Terminator. 20 feet deep? Todd heading into City Limits (sequence). Sunset from the tidal pools. Morning coffee. "its snowing!". Heading in to the MIddle Gordon. Round Two, Jay Entering the Middle Gordon (sequence). Austin and Christie taking a look at the long one. Rob Bart breaking left. Rob exiting the middle Gordon. "How bout a cold one, eh?"

Photos courtesy of: Josh McKeown, Kim Russell, Christina Russell, Johnathan Ramsey, and Christie Glissmeyer

Paddling in the Republic

Kara wondering whats down there

From the window of an airplane I was looking down on the island of Hispaniola wondering what was hidden in the valleys of the ten thousand foot peaks of the Dominican Republic. Every kayaker is always looking for that next great adventure and I thought this might be mine. Kara and I planned a trip six months later to see what we could find. What we found were some really unique rivers and a virtually untouched paddling destination. I took the idea to the NOC, that this could be a new Adventure Travel destination, and now two years later we just completed our first ever commercial trip in the Dominican Republic.

Rob taking in some scenery

My friend Rob Barham,and I arrived in the D.R. one week before our guest so we could have some time to explore before our guest arrived, we also built in some extra time and the end of the trip so we could return to some of our favorite runs. Of course every great trip has to have its fair share of difficulties and ours' was no exception it took us a few days to liberate our kayaks and after it was all said and done we were short two boats, not a big deal except one of those was my beloved Pyranha Burn! But It was not going to keep me from getting on the river.

Boat liberation day!

Our first few day's were action packed lots of miles really remote rivers and awesome boating. Because only a handful of people have paddled in the D.R. logistics can be next to impossible, lucky for us we have established a partnership with Rancho Baiguate, these guy's have been running all sorts of adventures in the D.R. for the past ten years and have things pretty well dialed in. Not to mention they run one of the most exciting rafting trips I have seen, among all of their other adventures from trekking to canyoning.

A typical river scene

Most of the rivers we ran could be characterised by crystal clear water, with smooth granite boulders and at some point the walls would close up into a mini-gorge. Some rivers could contain several mini-gorges which made for some great exploration.

Scouting one of the many mini-gorges

Rob trying the look around the corner

For me, this is what kayaking is all about once again my boat and the river have taken me to another amazing place that few people have seen.

A rapid named poco ma fuerte

Trying that boof thing

The entrance of poco ma fuerte
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