Monday, 21 July 2008

Turkey - the main course

The Manavgat is quite close to Korpucay but it felt like a world away. The Korpucay area was the most touristy place we went to on our trip, and the river itself was heavily rafted. The Manavgat was just about the complete opposite. Once off the main road you were into a remote unspoiled area. Everyone in this area seemed to be getting by on small scale farming on the rugged terrain surrounding the river. As we got further in the area we realised the boating was going to be committing to say the least.

Getting down to our campsite beside the river

We were surrounded by these......

Moon rise from our campsite

After a good nights sleep and breakfast with a local family, we set off to paddle the "grand canyon" of the Manavgat. We knew that this was probably going to be a long day out......we didn't really comprehend how long. The river started off as a small stream in a steep valley. Once we were in there was clearly no way out. This first section was tough, we would paddle for a hundred metres or so only to come to a boulder choke that we would have to clamber over and around. A couple of times the river would disappear underground. This was hard tiring work. A couple of times we had no choice but jump into the water and swim across pools between the chokes. This was all pretty miserable so there aren't many photos. We had about 3 hours of this before things changed dramatically.

Floating down the top of the river before the boulder choke hell began

Boulder purgatory

The boulder chokes seemed to go on for ever and we were really suffering. Just before it all got too much though we rounded a corner and we saw the welcome sight of huge springs bursting out of the sheer sided gorge which reared up before us. The gorge walls were immense and completely awe inspiring. The spring water flowing between the walls was clean and clear, and the volume of the river increased tenfold. The whitewater really kicked in now. The rapids were long and steep with very short pools in between. Pretty much everything had a line and we started to really enjoy ourselves. The drops kept on coming and the gorge seemed like it was never going to end. Eventually after nine hours on the water we emerged from the canyon to arrive at our campsite. We were absolutely exhausted but we all agreed that we had just experienced one of the best river trips we had ever had.

The walls rise and the springs start to flow.....

With a huge spring to the side of him Frankie fires it up on the first big drop of the canyon

Heading downstream in the gorge

Grandad running the last bit of a double drop

Leaning back a bit too much on the same rapid

Getting ready to get back on the water after one of the few portages in the main canyon

Jamie approaches a nice boof

Approaching a Manavgat 10 footer

Wide view of the same drop

Landing the boof

Frankie lines up the same falls

At the bottom of a nice slide and drop

Grandad lines up on a rapid

Looking back upstream at the canyon

Matt nearing the bottom of a long rapid

The canyon went on and on luckily at the bottom we were able to relax after a long day by looking at yet more Turkish wildlife.



After our long day on the Manavgat we soundly for a long long time! We then packed up and headed over to the Alara river where more adventures both on and off the river were in store. More on that soon..........

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