After our night on the beach, we woke to yet another gloriously warm and sunny day – hooray! If only the river were a bit warmer too; it felt like it was around 10-12 degrees centigrade, no more. Quick dips were doable but it was a bit too cold for swimming.
We had an interesting day ahead of us. Just to the left of that mountain down there the Kadrin Rapids begin, which was to be our first bit of action of the day…
As we set off on our rafts the river seemed pretty darn perfect: fast-flowing yet safe, and not too choppy to prevent any photography of the surrounding scenery…
The above pics – the calm before the……… ->
Hand-held, non-waterproof cameras need to be put away well before this!
The setting on my (waterproof) camera captures the drops of water as if they’re bubbles in the bath!
Right after the rapids – where they meet the calm water (rather – due to the rapids meeting the calm water), a large, powerful eddy forms. Our guides told us how, at very high water, it can swallow a raft up whole! Mercifully it wasn’t very high water that day (though the following day we had a close encounter with a similar eddy whirlpool – more on that in the next post).
I told you it’d be an interesting day: next up, just round the corner – the Shabash rapids (shabash, among other things, translates as ‘oars aboard!’).
Here’s where they start:
A bit closer ->
As you can see, these pics are taken from the bank of the river. This was on our traditional reconnaissance of the rapids.
On our reccy, we notice some other rafting tourists… head straight for the trickiest ‘barrel’ of the whole set of rapids!
But wait… They’ve hit it sideways. This isn’t looking good…
Under they go!…
Woah! The raft’s literally on its side! Never seen that before…
It was a bit like a circus trick: the raft flips back, and the helmsman is still on there – oar in hand!
The others weren’t so lucky…
The skipper starts scraping up the passengers!
It seems perfectly obvious that the skipper there is an experienced pro. However, what I can’t work out is why he headed straight for the barrel, which, well, is a noob-move. I reckon it’s one of three possible things: (i) he made a bet with the passengers that he’d stay on the raft – while they would not; (ii) it was part of the training – to show the noobs what not to do; or (iii) it was a pre-agreed spot of adrenaline/testosterone silliness ).
Here’s the mystery scene on video:
As for us: strictly no shenanigans! Here’s a shot-a-second (and some crazy unexpected photo-fx!) ->
And here’s us going through the second set of rapids:
And the vid:
After the rapids, as per tradition: kool, kalm, kollected Katun – perfekt for Kaspersky and friends ).
After the day’s hard rapid-riding, time to add a quick dip to the chillaxing proceedings…
The muddy waters of the Katun meet the pristine ones of the tributaries:
The ‘crazy bridge’ theme continues…
Folks climb this here pyramid. Not us. Enough exertion for one day already ).
I’ve been up it before. Incredibly, there’s mobile phone coverage at the very top! Well, you can at least send a text ).
And that was that. Another fine day of Altai-2020 rafting…
The rest of the pics are here.