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Friday, October 26, 2012

Descending the Rapids

We had reached the most dangerous part of the river,for there were here three rapids at no great distance apart which had to be passed.The waters were then low and the rocks numerous,threatening no little danger to the boats.When the water is high navigation is less difficult,for the difference of level in the rapids become much less,and the danger of being driven on the rocks is also great diminished.The increasing roar caused by the falling water warned us of the close proximity of the rapid,though we had heard it a long way back.At the first big fall we unloaded our boat,carrying everything on the men shoulders along the shore beyond the dangerous part;but we all returned to the boat to make our dash though the foaming waters.For me it was quite a new sensation and indeed,i felt it was quite possible i might never have the opportunity of narrating it.i had full faith in my Kayans,however,and especially in the expert who wielded the steering paddle at the stern.Drawn up to his fullest height, he looked eagerly for the best passage.this was no easy task,for not only had the steersman to avoid the rocks which were above water,but those just covered by it,which were still more dangerous,capsizing the canoe in an instant .At first the current seemed nothing out of the common,but as we approached it increased in force until there seemed almost something uncanny in its overwhelming strength..

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When we got into the comparatively tranquil waters beyond,our boat was full and would inevitably have sunk but for the rapid and able manner in which the Kayans baled the water out.Some of them jumped overboard to lighten the boat at once



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