First Strokes in Colombia. Rio Semana
After three epic months in Ecuador my time was up and I had to leave the country. Next stop Colombia. In my typical fashion I had made exactly no plans on what to do and where to go and I was travelling alone. Going by Bus I made it to the border crossing town of Tulcan at nightfall, around 7:45. Against all the advice I had read about crossing the border on the internet (and not doing it in the dark) I just decided to go for it. It was totally fine. I bought a bus ticket from a representative from one of the companies, right there at the border (another internet no no), got a ride to the bus terminal (in some guys sketchy car, another internet no no), hopped an overnight bus to Cali then an all day bus to Medellin, arriving around 8: 00pm, and feeling very tired.
I travelled without a boat as mine had broken in Ecuador. But I had lined up a boat from a friend of mine, Arnau, who was leaving Colombia the day before I would arrive. This made my 30+ hours of traveling significantly easier.
On arrival in Medellin I used the bus terminal WiFi to figure out a hostel to stay at, then hopped a taxi and found a bed for the night. Once I had arrived at the hostel and showered (I smelled terrible) I got in touch with Jules Domine, a french kayaker who runs a company here called Expedition Colombia, who was looking after my boat. He let me know where it was and also that there was a Rio Semana multi day trip leaving the next day. I wasted no time in getting directions to his house and the next day I headed over there (which was harder than anticipated after the taxi driver was lost in the nearby area for a while). But eventually I made it there, quickly packed my kayaking gear and helped Jake, Jules’s number one raft guide, load the truck and head out into the city to collect his rafting clients, and Mael, a french kayaker I had met in Ecuador a year before who was working as a safety kayaker on this trip and head to the river.
Everything was going to plan until about an hour into our journey our truck broke down. After a number of attempts to figure out the problem I conceded that I do not know enough about cars and took a nap on the grass verge besides where we were stopped. I was still tired from the travel day the day before. Three hours, and a mechanic from the nearby town later and we were back on our way. Arriving at the Semana put in in the dark we unloaded the truck and went to grab some food, before setting up camp and sleeping for the night. The tree I selected for my hammock was a bit smaller than ideal and I actually didn't have the most comfortable nights sleep but no worries.
After a delicious breakfast of eggs and Chorizo we headed out for day one, around 20km on the water under the hot Colombian sun. The river level was low but still incredibly fun, low water on the Semana is still a few hundred CMS which is a lot more than most Ecuadorian rivers run at during their peak flows. We meandered through some amazingly beautiful and fun rapids, fun gorges and passed some amazing scenery along the way, a quick stop for lunch by a stout rapid which I walked and Mael ran very smoothly. A lot more fun paddling and we arrived at the amazing campsite. Located by a small creek it had a beautiful ‘swimming pool’, cliff jumping, swimming etc. A delicious meal cooked on an open fire of pasta with Pesto, Chorizo sausages, kebabs. it was amazing. Then another night in the hammock, (this time I selected a better tree).
Some food in the town and then a long trip back to Medellin and I can safely say it was the best run I have done in Colombia so far. Looking forward to more.
Keywords: Colombia, Colombia, Dewerstone, Expedition, Jackson, adventure, explore, kayak, kayak, kayaking, kokatat, travel
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