Sunday, 8 February 2009

Paddle Steamer

This Time Last Year

I was up at 5.30am for a paddle upstream on the Bartola. a lot of bird noise, but not a lot to see.


Everyone packed after breakfast before embarking on a paddle downstream on the Rio San Juan. I was teamed up with Pat in an old wooden canoe and everything went fine until we came to a rapid and shipped some water. I decided enough was enough (Pat is 80 years old!) and decided to be rescued by the San Miguel who was escorting us.

At a tributary junction (I can't remember the name of this river), Pat and I swapped canoes and paddled upstream. We pushed over three rapids and spent some time watching and photographing dragonflies. Everyone had lunch on the riverbank before paddling back downstream to the San Miguel.


At this point we all got on board the San Miguel for a ride back to El Castillo, whilst a smaller boat, Bob, was charged to tow all our canoes back. We stopped off on the way to examine the ruins of an old Paddle Steamer which had sunk in the 19C. This was part of the Vanderbilt service from New York to San Francisco in the Californian Gold Rush, and apparently quicker and safer than going across country!


We disembarked at El Castillo and walked through the town, whilst the San Miguel rode the Diablo Rapids. We re-embarked upstream of the rapids. The Vanderbilt's route did this too and built a small railway through the town for carrying the passengers and their luggage. The town has no visible remains of this, but the town has no access by road either. Everything arrives by boat.

We continued upstream to the Rio Sabalos and stayed the night at the Hotel Sabolos right on the river front. In the evening we sat on the deck drinking and watching the stars.

Gallery

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