Sunday, January 6, 2013

White Nile Whitewater

Yes, those are my feet (photos by Nalubale Rafting)
Lake Victoria is the headwaters of the White Nile, a massive output of water northwards through Sudan and Egypt, meeting our familiar Blue Nile in Khartoum. Hosting some of the craziest class 5 and 6 rapids, it was hard for us to keep dry over the holidays.

Crew of 8 paddling out of a beautiful flow
We went north from Jinja, where water pours out of the Lake. We took on eight huge rapids, traveling nearly 30 miles. The common day trip route after a new hydroelectric dam, it was incredible to see, and feel, the Nile's power as one of the world's greatest rivers. An ounce of disrespect and she will kill you, a hint of ignorance will get you mangled. But approaching the beautiful Nile in the right way makes for one of the best experiences in my life.

Keeping the food dry

I could sweat out some poetry on the whole experience, but the pictures do more justice than my words can.   Cheers to the mighty river.

Sewn Plank Canoe in Uganda National Museum
 Another highlight since we last talked was a visit to the important Uganda National Museum. Documenting well the arrival of humanity on Earth, this museum's exhibits show the progression of human beings over the course of millions of years of evolution. Explanations of cultural diversity in the region and the rich cultural history of Uganda make it quite the place to be on any random afternoon. But the highlight for me was a huge  sewn plank canoe preserved near the section on the Nile River. Using a hollowed dugout and sewing planks onto the form, this style of boat is the predecessor to many plank boats we have seen in the region.

Seams up close and personal
Beautiful stems, gunwales, and seams around a connecting piece, the Victoria plank boats give me the itch to run screaming out of the museum looking for the nearest paddle and body of water. It makes me remember, yea sure humans invented boats so that they could fish, travel, and essentially survive - but are we really willing to write off the basic notion that paddling is fun. The joy of it is a motivator strong enough to stand alone.

Storms a' brewin' on the White Nile with a modern planked canoe shrouded in stillness

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