steep creek beds


We laughed and we laughed and we laughed. Our bellies were wobbling. What a sight we must of looked. We took off on an adventure up the near river in hope that we would get to the town of Bourail to buy baguettes and croissants. I was the dingy driving master for the day and slowly putted up the river. Next thing we run in to a sand bar. I didn’t see it until we were bogged, so out came the oars and we continued on our merry way pushing off the bottom till the sand bar was gone. Not long after we hit the bottom again, the proper shuddering as we hit rocks. I am sitting in the dingy “thinking what is wrong with me” I didn’t see that sand bar either. Out came the oars again and we hap hazardly rowed up the river. Soon we reached a sand bar that was so shallow, that we had to get out. Slade took the kids and I towed the dingy for a good 500m before the water was deep enough to get back in. From here Slade took over the driving and I stood on the bow watching for shallow spots. Sure enough there were more. I took one oar and Slade took the other. Together we rowed and rowed and rowed and rowed. The river was apparently 3 nautical miles from the bay to town. We rowed from one bank to the next in a crazy zig zag pattern. My arms burned and I was straving.

The kids wriggled around in the front making it hard for us to stay on course. The fact that my arms are short and weak and Slades arms long and strong also meant that we went around in circles a little to frequently. with the encouragment of croissants on our arrival in town, twe rowed our hearts out against wind and current. For 2 hrs we rowed over an extremely shallow river, then finally after 3 hours in total we saw street lamps. We were close we were so close. We were the only boat on the river and now we understand why. Now we sat in the scorching sun completely exhausted with a glimpse of town.

There was a problem however, we were down a very steep embankment that was thick with bamboo trees and river weeds. At the bottom of the embankment was sinking mud and bug slippery boulders. We got so close but yet were so far. We could see locals looking at us as we rowed in circles realising how stupid we looked in our fully loaded up dingy, two kids sitting up the front and us rowing in about 50cm of water in a hazardous circle. We picked a spot in the embankment and decided we could try and scurry up through the bamboo and weeds to the top. I got out onto the slipper rocks and grabbed the kids. We all stood perched picariously on the small rock while slade tied the dingy up to antohter rock. From there we clambered up the boulders ,through the spider webs, under the fallen down bamboo and tried to climb up through the weeds/grass. The bank was too steep and we couldn’t get up. Slade got to the top with his long legs and grabbed a long pice of bamboo. He held out the bamboo. After a lot of coaxing KL finally grabbed the bamboo stick. Slade pulled from the top and with one hand, since I was carrying AK with the other I pushed KL’s bum up as high as I could. Finally she got to the top. I then had to duck under a fallen piece of bamboo whilst carrying AK. I got half way under and slipped sliding back down onto the rocks. I couldn’t get up the bank so we had to try and get AK a very un athletic two year old to grab the bamboo stick Slade had so we could drag her up to the top. She couldn’t work out how to grab the bamboo. So I shoved from behind as hard as I could while Slade came down the bank enough to grab her and reef her up to the top. It was then my turn I grabbed the stick and Slade used all his muscle to heave me up to the top. Now this i am sure must have qualified him for the worlds strongest man competition.

We popped out of the long grass to land on the highway. We must have looked like the strangest tourist ever. We walked along the side of the road until we stumbled across the Information centre. From here we made a bee line to the shops for baguettes and croissants. We ate our lunch by the river in the bus depot and then made our way back to the dingy. For all the effort we had made to get there we didn’t spend much time at all there. The town was filthy with rubbish and was tiny. We were so hot and exhausted that goin back to the boat sounded like a good option. We were also running a race with the sunset since it had taken us hours longer then we expected to tget up the river. We followed the road back to where we though we had popped out of the bush. We couldn’t find the dingy. We walked up and down looking for something familiar. Finally we saw a tiny bit of what we thought could be our dingy through the thick scrub and bamboo. Were we had came up was way too steep to climb back down, we would of never of gotten the kids down the bank safely especially since it involved shimmying under fallen down bamboo. We then walked up and down the river looking for a place to slide safely down the bank with the least vegitation. We finally found a spot just as my anxiety was increasing and I was thinking we were stranded. There was a break in the thick bamboo, so we went over the long river weeds using them as rope. Slade climbed down first. KL was then lowered from the top by me on her stomach and Slade postioned himself to catch her when she got close enough. Slowly she slid down over the top of the grass to Slade. He grabbed her feet and lowered her the rest of the way. True to form AK was hopeless. I give her 10 points for enthusiasm, she is always willing to give it a shot but she is just blessed with the clumsy gene. We tried to lower her down the same way as kL, since she is short there was too much space between her and Slade being able to grab her. I climbed ontop of her and together we shuffled down the bank. Once Slade could reach I passed her through my legs. I then very unclassily slid the rest of the way grabbing the weeds to help me down. Once again the 3 of us stood peceriosly on a slippery rock while slade brought the dingy over. Into the dingy we all hopped, gratefull that the steep bank had left us all in one piece. Off we went in our dingy. I stood on the bow dipping the oar in to the water to keep an eye on the depth while Slade drove. Luckily the tide had come in and we didn’t need to row. The river looked so different onn the way back, almost twice as wide and no rocky sand banks. For an hour and a half I dipped my oar in every 10 seconds to make sure we didn’t get too shallow. It was a much faster trip to get back. We couldn’t help but think that we may have taken a wrong turn on the way up. Once we were back in the bay we took the dingy over to turtle bay. Here I piked my first ever beach landing. Freaking out when I got close spinning us around and heading back out. Slade then took control, landing the dingy. The kids ran around the beach while Slade and I ate baguettes with cheese and good old goon. A well deserved wine. We watched the sun set and the boat piching and rolling. After a very long day we headed back to the boat and got ready for our trip back to Ouano bay. We all enjoyed the day and it was a good laugh. A deffinate adventure.


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