A few weeks ago I went on a Kayak Clinic with Himalayan River Operator Nepal, to Trishuli River. On four days I was hoping to get a grip on kayaking, feel safe in the kayak and maybe, if I was lucky even be able to make a roll in the end of the course. I went on this trip together with my friend Sofie and another Scandinavian guy, Juha. Three beginners who had never been in a kayak before.
Binay Lama became our group leader and teacher and I must say he did a great work with all of us. We started off easy, learning all the basics and some safety guidelines. What signs to use when needing help or assistance, how to get out of the kayak in case it would flip, the right techniques in paddling and lots of training in how to find a proper balance inside the kayak. We went forward really slowly and Binay made everyone feel safe although it was a new experience for all of us. I should tell you that Himalayan River Operator Nepal also provided us with an additional safety kayaker, Jeevan who also worked as an excellent teacher during our days on the river.
The first couple of days we went up the river in the beginning, practicing on paddling, getting in and out of the raft after flipping, self-rescuing and T-rescuing, how to get in the current and out of the current safe, how to read the waters movements, ferry gliding over the river and much more. We also started working on how to make a roll. It takes a good power of strength in your hips, comfort and calm while you are upside down under the water and a good technique when you move your arms. It was hard, and it took some practicing and effort but at last we made it work.
I went upside down and was able to turn myself back again without any help from my guides or without getting out of the kayak. I did the roll on myself and it felt awesome. If it had not been for the good amount of patience, understanding and good teaching skills from Binay and Jeevan I would probably have given up earlier. But they taught me how to do it and I did not feel threatened from the water at any point, every time I failed they were ready to pick me up to the surface again.
Day three and four was exciting and gave me a big adrenaline rush. It was time to face the river, this time down the stream, through the whitewater and the big waves. Once again Binay made us feel safe about the current and our kayaks – If you flip and go under you know what to do and how to get out. Do not panic, just go with your instinct and do what you have been taught. We started of carefully and tackled the first couple of waves, maneuvering between small rocks and drops. You started building up a confidence when you realized that you were able to paddle without flipping over.
A few minutes later both me and my friend ended up in the big waves, our balance got a little misplaced and just like that the river made us flip. We went under the water approximately at the same time. I barely noticed that I was under before my instinct had helped me to do a self-rescue and get out of the kayak, it took me less than three seconds and when I got up to the surface again I could see Jeevan coming for me in a great speed. I grabbed my paddle and he connected my kayak to his and safely escorted me into the shore at the same time Binay did the same thing with Sofie and her kayak.
We had flipped in the current, gotten out, been safely taken to the riverbank – No harm done. All went great and it only lighted up a spark and desire to face the waves again, harder. Now when we had felt the experience of flipping we felt no fear at all. The worst case scenario was flipping in the rapid and if that should happen, we knew how to get out. This made us even tougher and wilder in the rapids, made us wanting to go faster and inside the big waves.
Day four we went all day down river without flipping and it felt great, awesome. During my days at the river with Himalayan River Operator Nepal I always felt taken care of and safe both in the water as well as out of the water. They provided us with the best home cooked meals all day and had made a beautiful campsite on the beach where we had cozy campfires at night.
The kayak clinic had all I could wish for – I learned how to kayak and I also learned that I love it! I recommend Himalayan River Operator Nepal for all of those who are looking for learning kayaking or go rafting on the Himalayan rivers. The staff is really friendly and professional, their gear is up to date and their tents and other camping gear is new and very fresh. You will have a great time!
Linda Nilsson, Sweden