October 25th, Thursday
The early morning saw us pack up camp and then Andy provided a refresher course for all the crew members and took the skippers out to practice a few maneuvers. Then, true to our plan to first go upriver as much as possible and for as long as the rapids would allow it, we set out. We did not need to go far as around the next bend, the first rapids were waiting for us and put our skills to test. The water being very shallow and fast, both boats hits rocks and the one driven by Armin started to frequently overheat, prompting Andy to decide to look at the impeller at the next occasion.
Not long after this, we encountered a long stretch of rapids which, although not very difficult, proved to be almost too long as Armin´s engine overheated twice shortly before reaching the upper end of the rapids, forcing him to drift down and try all over again. Finally, both boats stopped in the backwater just below the top of the rapids and we pulled up both boats by rope, only to continue around one more bend in the river and face even bigger rapids. A closer inspection of the rapids on foot let Andy to conclusion that this indeed was as far as we could go. We had already done considerable damage to both propellers and to try and go on would only mean that we risked our engines.
Hence, after a total of 12 kms upstream, we turned back and looked for another camp site where, with enough time at hand, Andy could inspect the impeller on the one engine. Corrosion through sand (also during earlier expeditions) had damaged the casing of the impeller and Andy decided that, on our way down to Tuipui, we would have to get to our third engine stored there for spare parts. Dinner around camp fire consisted of rice with smoked pork and an aubergine – carrot stew.