Kayaking in Colombia, River Log III

- Kayakers are more friendly
- Guerillas kidnapped some Europeans..
- Scouting the Samana River
- It's flooding again, check out this surf wave!
- Ben and Shannon are here from Oregon to paddle and film a new kayaking video!

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10/7/2003 - Kayakers are more friendly..
This guy from Colorado just wrote today and invited me to go visit that area, so cool, hey there is something about kayaking that I haven't seen in other sports, kayakers are more friendly, well, what I'm trying to say is that you see surfers fighting for the waves or the territory but kayakers are sharing info, sharing techniques, inviting people over for paddling some river, that is something very cool... you know what I mean?

My friends down here like the new report a lot too and send you Gracias for getting their pictures in there, Joja moved 2 weeks ago to Germany, but he already saw it and send you thanks too, I'm gonna miss my partner of five years a lot, his two boats are now hanging in my garage.

Down here it's been raining and raining hard, more than usual, kind of scary, I haven't been able to go paddle yet, we could make it last weekend, the river was so high, a huge flood. I hope you are not busy with work so you can go and enjoy a few surf waves, I remember the huge waves of the north California shore, man that would be nice in a kayak, I can imagine how cool that is.

Muchas gracias, I hope I can go up there and visit some time.

Mauricio drops into Cinthias Hole on the San Juan River.

10/8/2003 - Guerillas again

Those pictures I sent of the San Juan River are near our put in up in the middle of the gorge, up from there still at least half of the river to discover. The San Juan is pretty long river.

This American kayaker Shannon is still writing and seems like he will be coming down next month with other four kayakers, he told me a kayaker name Ben Stooksberry will be contacting me soon, is that the same Ben that is your friend that I see in your reports?

Man I don't know if those guys should come down and get in those rivers, they will be like gold for the guerrillas. Have you seen the news lately about a group of eight European hikers that were up in La Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to visit some Indian communities? The day they got kidnapped while they where crossing a bridge one British guy jumped in to the river and escaped, he got lost in the jungle for eleven days until some Indians found him, he was hallucinating and in very bad shape. I saw the guy in the news while he was going home.

Man those guys got kidnapped three weeks ago, a huge army is trying to find them with the help of the their countries, but that's a huge jungle, full of rivers with great gradient, I dream of those rivers..

Things are getting so much better down here, but still not safe enough and I don't want to see your friends in the news.

10/8/2003 - Scouting the Samana River
Jason, Check out this river, it's the Samana, located just two hours from here. It is located in an area that was controlled by guerillas until recently. This river has never been run!

This picture was take by one of our drivers, I gave him the camera and told him to photograph the river, he just stopped in the middle of the bridge, took three pictures quickly and left right away, that area was a guerilla fortress for years, now the army took control and is kicking ass, but still I don't feel safe enough to go there, I dream of this river!

Immediately after this river goes under the bridge, the river goes in to a wild gorge, long ride, from the map I calculate around 30 miles before the confluence to the Magdalena river that is located at very low altitude, so the gradient must be high!

These pictures of the Samana were taken in summer, so this is very low level, I have crossed that bridge several times years ago when it was still possible to drive to Bogota, but by those days I was into the kayaking.

Around 5 years ago a very close friend went camping here, he hiked down where the river goes into that gorge and described the river with lots of rapids, marble rocks, deep jungle, man can you imagine that? Man ....

It would take several days to run the Samana for sure, and no one has ever paddle this river.

Looking upstream on the Samana River.
Our truck

Looking downstream on the Samana River towards the unpaddled gorge section, thirty miles of unknown rapids and high gradient.

10.29.2003 - It's flooding again, check out this surf wave!
Hola Jason, como estas, man I'm happy with my new camera, it's really a cool toy, I totally recommend it to you if like me you love to keep a huge file of the rivers.

Here's a picture I liked a lot from last Saturday, like you can see the speed in that surf, I found it very cool.

As you can see, the high water still, man if it's been raining hard and lonnnnnnnng, lots of floods all over the country, it's so sad... many deaths already, many crops f--ked up.

Ok my friend, I hope you are well, take care

Viajando por Colombia y para Colombia, nos place saludarlos.

Mauricio floodstage surfing..

11.18.2003 - Ben and Shannon are coming here..
Hey Jason,

The kayakers from Oregon's Ashland Mine Productions are on their way, this guy Shannon and Ben Stooksberry or something like that, check out this email from Shannon:

Hola mauricio!

We are on our way. It is Ben Stookesberry and myself. We are now in Panama and deciding whether to fly to Medellin or take a boat to Cartegana and then fly to Medellin. Any new thoughts on that? When would be a good time for you to paddle with us? We are looking at being there in a week or so.

pura vida!


Jason, Are they cool people? do you know them? I gonna let them stay at my house, is that Ok??

Ok hermano, Hope you are well, enjoy that rain, I hope down here the rains stop soon, it's just too much.

11.27.2003 - Ben and Shannon are here from Oregon to paddle and film a new kayaking video!
Hola Jason, como estas hermano, todo bien? I hope so.

I'm in Cartagena a real Carribean city, so nice, well I'm working, but still really fun. Ben and Shannon just got here yesterday coming from Panama on a boat, we met yesterday and it was great, they totally fell in love with the old Colonial city.

We had great time walking all over drinking rum last night, my wife is flying in tonight and we are going to meet later on, man it's so nice. These guys are great people, they are staying in a friend of mine house and they are really having great time, I'll write you soon to tell you more, see you my friend, I hope you are well, take care


Hola Jason,

Como estas, here finally the rain seems to finally stop, hopefully the summer is already on, it was about time, last Saturday Ben and Shannon ran a first descent twenty minutes from my home, amazing creek, some twenty footers, and the last one was a forty-footer.

We are getting some material for the video, then on Sunday we went to the San Juan, it was medium flow and they tried to paddle some action on the middle canyon about two miles above my put in (we usually put in below a rapid named El Feo, or 'The Ugly').

Man we found some hard class V and then later on it was all about Aguardiente, we have such a great time, I joke with them a lot about if they are making a kayaking video or a landscape/cooking video, they have been really impressed by our food and way of living.

Now I'm at work and they are in a farm on shore of the San Juan for a few day to film that medium section of the San Juan Canyon.

One the Middle Canyon on the San Juan which Ben and Shannon ran, another first descent.

Headed to the river with Ben and Shannon..

I also took Ben and Shannon to the upper Buey that it's supposed to be a 2 - 3 day trip, I did not join them because that section of the middle canyon is hard for me for sure. Ben told me many times to go along but I did not want it to be slowing things up, as we saw the topographic maps and the view from the canyon there's a great gradient and many waterfalls along for sure.

The section of the Upper Buey that Ben and Shannon ran. A first descent!

Check out this creek twenty minutes from my house, Ben made the first descent.
Here is Cynthia Mahoney running a big waterfall on that creek..

I hope you are well, keep in touch

Ben is an Incredible guy.

See U


Hola Jason, como estas, I hope you are well.

I bet it's cold up there, down here the summer is going great, lots of paddling for sure, the river is back in green color, nice speed, we are getting back in to the canyon. There is this rapid just above our put in called El Feo, (the Ugly) no one has ever run it this rapid, not even Ben in December.

And there's some Pics from last Sunday of me running a rapid call Cinthias Hole and the drop upstream. This is summer level, 1.3 meters on the gauge.

Hope you are well hermano, keep in touch

If you want more info on boating in Colombia, feel free to contact Mauricio at: kayak@epm.net.co