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October 29th, Monday

Breakfast, packing up and loading the boats was a well rehearsed exercise and at 08.00 a.m. we found ourselves at the spot where we had agreed to meet with the two trucks. They were slightly late but nevertheless kept their promise to show up and we did a good job in loading up the two boats onto the two trucks and put engines and all our gear on top of the boats. Then, we took off into the mountains as we first crossed over the bridge in Kawlchaw and then climbed up into the hills to an altitude of 1200 meters.

In the far distance and across the valley we could make out the town of Saiha, most important town occupying the Southeast corner of Mizoram State and which, just like Aizawl and Lungley, occupies an important spot perched high up on mountain slopes. Over and across the hills we went on a reasonably good, single lane asphalt road, down into valleys and an altitude of 500 meters, then steep up again to almost 1000 meters and on and on and on.

In fact, the road we were on led to Lungley and at Lawngtlai we were going to turn off and go into Southern direction again. Lawngtlai is a big sprawling city and here we made a stop to meet with another uncle of Zorba to give him the accumulated pictures and text files so that he would transmit all the data to Spain – something we had been unable to do for the last few days because of a general lack of network coverage. After a short lunch, we hopped onto the truck again for the remaining 150 kms which were to take us to our next put-in place below the gorge in the Kaladan / Kolodyne River. Twice more we stopped for a bit of food as well as coffee / tea as the sunlight started to fade away and we continued on our road in the dark.

The further South we reached, the worse the road became and when we eventually turned off this main road to go to the river, we were facing a last 20 kms of rough dirt road with sometimes deep ruts and covered with a thick layer of dust. There had been a short rain shower earlier in the day and the road was muddy in certain spots.

The truck drivers were excellent and made it through until the very last bit when we could already hear the river and see it in the full moon light below us. The lead truck got stuck in the mud and it took us over half an hour to get it going again, only to then arrive at the river proper another 5 minutes later at about 09.00 p.m. We offloaded the boats and equipment onto the beach and set up our tents for the night, not bothering with dinner.

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