Tuesday, October 19, 2010

10.00pm depart Kuala Lumpur the touring Dag Tiwok Kayak all loaded up on the ever faithful workhorse GREEN. Fuel and food and cold drinks in the fridge. I wonder how far I will paddle this weekend 200k would be a dream more like 140-160k? The goal is to paddle 220k or as far as I can towards the South China Sea in Pekan Pahang Malaysia from Kuala Krau 1k up past my endpoint (roughly kilometer 171) from the first part of the trip. This weekend im supported by another expat Robert who is an avid traveller of Malaysia.

The GPS is set and guides us towards GPSPoint TMNG111 whch is under a bridge on the river which Robert (my landsupport for this trip) does not believe exists on Sungai Pahang (Pahang River).

1.30am we cruise past Kuala Krau out the other side and a right turn and there is the bridge WOW so big eventually we squeeze past a locked gate in GREEN and pitch out camp under the bridge no need for a TARP and a hot drink and a Sustagen energy drink and its time for bed at 2.00am.

6.00am Damn whats that horrible noise? oh RATS is the iPhone ALARM screaming get up get up.

Breakfast is cooked big tin cold baked beans, sustagen school energy drink hot team, final check of the kayak, put on the kit, sunscreen and load up 9 liters of water and we carry the kayak to the water and a quick RV of the maps and a lunchpoint is agreed on 40k south "Temerloh" in about 5 hours time. 7.25am I head for those first 4-5 wobbly strokes off 25 minutes later than I wanted.

Packing the kayak

That first wobbly paddle

Im off on that mighty big river

Its nice cruising along I average 7.5k for the first hour then I have a toilet break at a little jetty however the current tips me over after I have lifted the skirt off im over and in standup its too deep real deep over my head deep under I go again. Spluttering I reach the bank 1 meter away and sink past my knees in SOFT MUD. It takes me over 15 minutes to empty the kayak and clean myself up and yeah go to the bathroom. My average speed plumets to 7k.

I decide no more stops and plan B is used. Recovering I stop to wash my glasses and spot a troop of monkeys and a troop of otters (family) under them however my noise makes them dissappear before I can take a picture. Wow otters cool really cool.

Salvage Crew?

It takes me the rest of the morning to get the average back up to 7.5k. I stick tot he left bank its shaded and the current is usually good, the middle is a mess of eddies whjch errupt and pull you around in circles and slow your progress.

Pleasant weather not hot and not cold. Then the best boat house I have ever seen 3 huge logs with a house built on top.

Soon I pass under the ECE bridge at Lanchang wow not so big from down below.

ECE Bridge

Then I pass a fish cage being transported on top of two 15hp boats

Fish Cage

I get a call from Robert have to reach the bridge yet - yes about 400 meters ago - oh rats im stuck at roadworks and cannot get to there for ages. He has had a sweet teh terrik (Tea and Mil with sugar) boiled in wood fired stove at a run down shack haha.

I continue on my downstream journey - Im starving what's for lunch as I have almost paddled 40k talk about read my mind the phone goes "just before the Termerloh jetti lunch is right there" - cool and damn/rats its on the other side of the river 200 meters away and about a kilometer downstream.

Me from 800mm away via the camera lens at Temerloh

The pesky noisy ferry

Me arriving at Termeloh for Lunch!

This little guys was having lunch also mmmmmmmm insects.

And his buddy also

1.30pm and lunchstop is finally made - Wah step into knee deep mud and take my now dirty clothes into the restaurant bathroom to wash them. What luxury a 40foot log canoe is in the restaurant its upper class huge trees outside making this a pleasant place to stay for an afternoon. However, i'm on a quest and the South China Sea beckons. Lunch is the usual fare of sampling Nasi Goreng Ayam (Fried Rice and this time Shrimp) with an egg on top - my my delicious. I spend too long here and 1 hour 15 minutes later (1.45pm) im on my way with Camp to be somewhere near point 245k and 250k some 35k down the river to be confirmed by Robert when he reccies the area.

You think I can reach K260 hahaaha

Departing Temerloh.

Wahoo 11 minutes before sunset I slip down the side channel and there is camp.


Sunset is 18:59 and no moon so I cannot be late. No sooner I start paddling than the current stops flowing as the river widens - RATS! I cruise on making good time in the slow current and paddle down the right this time which is also the road side and the river bank/cliff is adorned with scruffy buildings and rubbish :( .

Message at 5.00pm RV at 250K or 245K a quick calculation 245k im not going to make 250k before sunset.

A thunderstorm starts in the distance I wonder if im going to get wet or beat it. My back hurts there is something wrong with the seat and im tired and hungry 4 hours sleep is not enough with only 10k left to paddle. Phone goes again take far right hand channel at two islands as I pass fisherman after fisherman. TIme passes slowly as I race the thunderstorm and there is Robert snapping away happily the bright orange shirt a little beacon to aim at. I exit the water 6.47pm and at the K248 mark and struggle to get out of the kayak yet again the mud is horrendous i fall in and struggle to get out yet again im just tired I guesss. Not bad I have knocked off 36k in 4 hours wow and my average has increased to 7.6k per hour for the day.

Camp site is a disused ferry crossing point it has shelter but the toilets etc are destroyed. We pack the kayak onto the car for the dinner trip which is down in a little kampung where Robert got destroyed playing checkers with the locals this afternoon. Then we see why my back hurts the seat back has flipped over.

Nasi Goreng Udang again (Fried Rice and Shrimp) and Milo on Ice. Im exhausted but we have to pull out the maps for the locals to view.

Soon its bed time I really gotta get some sleep. The kayak is unloaded again and prepared for tomorrow and I crawl into the sleeping bag and no alarm is set we both need sleep. 9.30pm and im asleep before I zip up the sleeping bag.

7.00am wakeup and prepare breakfast yes baked beans cold and lots of brown bread and hot tea washed down with the usual sustagen school energy drink. Fix up Roberts stupid Nuvi GPS which will not show any points kast K200 even after deleting points K005-200. We elect to use the maps for the land support. im finally on the way at 8.45pm. Lunch RV is to be K290 and the end goal today is K310 or close.

Wow scenic paddling little houses adorn the banks and people are fishing from every possible spot. Most people say hellow and surprisingly most speak english doesn't matter I know enough Bahasa to communicate.

I whack in 8k for the first hour then the river flow slows. Cruising on the biggest bend of the whole trip (300+ meters wide) I realise too late and have paddled the long way round.

Phone goes as I paddle out of the bend - no food after K275 lunch will be early.

Me approaching Chenor from over a kilometer away.

Paddling back upstream as I drift too far down

Lunch restaurant.

Chenor from the kayak

The kayak after lunch

12.45pm I have padddled 28k in 3 hours Robert meets me at the jetty "Chenor". Wow nice old town right on the river reminds me of that Gerik rundown look. Lunch is Rice and Kurry Chicken no Fried Rice available here and Robert has the Patin (local fish) and rice. The locals were nice they thanked us for visiting their town.

They got a shock when Robert spoke bahasa to them

Im back in the water 1.45pm RV at K315 or K320 and off cruising slowly little do I know whats going to happen next. 2.45pm I send the hourly update K280 passed "damn no signal" . I cruise on there is almost no sign of life houses are indispersed every time I try to send an hourly update I get no signal - oops. I pass an otter barely 10 meters away he flips under a overhanging tree and I try and take clip of him then 2 more otters and a huge water monitor lizard which just watches as I slip by barely 5 meters from it. The litle monitors however crash into the water from whereever they are 2-3 meters up a tree crash they drop straight into the water. Troops of monkeys everywhere and the river is now very wide.

Try and cross to the other side to change current is fraught with fun the middle is even more dangerous than before huge whirlpools erupt under you or in front of the kayak pulling it round even if you keep paddling.

Me leaving Chenor

Domestic rubbish wow aren't we clean people

The bank is the safest place. K300 passes and hunger sets in and I polish of a whole packet of oreo biscuits for a 10 minute break. Still no reception. Under a large pair of trees a troop of monkeys sound the alarm and drop down the branches directly above me and scurry of I get a great view that I forget to get the camera out.

My arms ache a sign I have not eaten enough or just getting old.

Gunshots punctuate the afternoon until one stretch where the continuious blasts of a shotgun sounds like a shootout.

My average is slowing 7.5/7.4k/h K310 comes up and this would be a good place to stop and its 6.30pm but I cannot get hold of Robert I get a in message anmd then loose the signal :(.

My view just after sunset.

Paddle on to K315 and its almost dark as the sun sets at 6:58pm. K315 I get reception im at K316 on the right however I cvan see nothing its pitch black I head over to the right and at K317.5 and still no reception again. Then the phone rings im now at K318 on the left at a Jetty - rats $@$@$#$@. I tell him to put the car lights out over the water so I can see them and start paddling the 300 meters across the river to the left and round a bend and there is a Jetty and a torch shines in my diretion and the beam hits me from 200 meters out.

Sanctuary at 8.05pm struggle out of the KAyak (the GPS telling me im at marker K320) in the swift current round the jetty and a batch and change of clothes load up the Kayak and press the "HOME" button on the Nuvi and the voice directs us out of Kampung Chini Jetty towards KL. A quick check of the GPS shows 148K for the weekend and 76 yesterday and 72 today the last 5k taking me over an hour to accomplish. So 83K left to the South China Sea target date for the 1 day sprint to the Sea is 30th October. I don't care I just want food and sleep. We find sustanence at Marang R&R old town and test the you guessed it Nasi Goreng Ayam.

12.00am Cruise into the driveway home having slept most of the way home. Unload the Kayak and leave the rest of the kit in the truck. I just fall asleep on the lounge and wake up 8.00am and cruise to work - its a different world.