Sunday, December 06, 2009

Day 4: Pacuare

We couldn't get ahold of our usual shuttle driver Luis, but the hostel found us someone, and it turns out he is the president of the Costa Rica Whitewater Association. This was the guy Patricia -- who runs the hostel -- said thought we would surely die if we ran the Reventazon back in January. We never actually got confirmation on the veracity of that statement, but he was a really nice and knowledgeable man.

We pulled the gear out of the car at the put-in and I opened my bag to discover that my wetsuit was not in it. I had that horrible, sinking, guilty feeling, but only for a few moments, because Josh said he had brought extra wetsuit gear. I was very relieved. However, knowing how cold Josh gets it wasn't really going to be enough neoprene, but we'd make do. As long as I didn't get as cold as I was in the back seat of the Rover over the pass, I'd be fine.

There was a little extra pressure being the only one with functioning water and land cameras. I have been almost hesitant to bring my land camera because it has to be left in the vehicle with could be a target for thieves. I took the risk and brought it along. I'm now wishing I'd gone ahead and bought the water housing even though it costs about 2/3 the price of a new camera. But that way, I could take the camera with me instead of leaving it in the car. I could even shoot some higher end video from shore. Maybe next time.

The Pacuare was running in between the two levels we had previously ran it: level 0. First time was 20; second was -10. I'd forgotten some of the heavier rapids, such as the Upper and Lower Haucus.

The upper didn't give me any trouble, but the lower, I didn't fight hard enough to stay in the middle and got swept left, nearly making contact with the undercut wall on the left. The slide feature that had given us so much trouble at high water was almost a non-feature at this level; it was just a bit of a hole and we all punched through.

The take out on this river, 16 miles later, was a little dangerous because of brazen thieves. The rafts had gone on ahead of us so we had to stay close and walk quickly. I took my knife out of my bag (the vest mount is way too loose) though wasn't sure what good it would do since it's blunt tipped. We had to walk a little way down a dirt road and around a fence to the restaurant where the Rover and driver were waiting for us, and there were lots of people in the restaurant. We were safe. The bathroom even had showers; that cold water was refreshing after walking in a wetsuit.

Back in Turrialba we napped for a couple hours in the relative quiet of the afternoon, then spent the evening walking around and finding food. We ate at an empty restaurant (do people ever eat out in this town?). I had ceviche - a huge bowl full for about $4. Score! I also ordered chicken but wouldn't have, had I known how much fish I was getting. I gave half of it to Josh. Alicia ordered chicken but couldn't eat most of it. Something wasn't right with her ever since our fried egg breakfast from the soda across the street. She was getting seconds on flavor all day long. Peter C shared some awesome stories of hurling aboard and directional sprays. Having raced sailboats the world over, he's probably seen it all. For some reason, he kept mentioning green eggs and ham.

Day 5


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