INCREDIBLE KAYAK ADVENTURE ON THE DANUBE

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Six Currumbin Creek Canoe Club Members have an experience of a lifetime

 

IÕm one of six Currumbin Creek canoe members that had the adventure of a life time kayaking 1009 Kilometres down the Danube through Austria, Germany, Slovakia and Hungary.


Our first impression of the Danube was the incredible beauty and fast flow. Most of us felt a little uneasy at first as we usually paddle on rivers that are gentler, but our sea Kayaks were a lot more stable than our TKs/Ks so getting used to the flow was much easier than expected.

 

We averaged 40 Kilometres per day over the month and experienced all the weather variables possible despite it being summer – hot sun, head winds, rain and cold days – we had it all!

 

The Danube is a flurry of activity with various craft, including enormous barges and luxury cruise ships. Lenny one our group members is a surfer and jumped at the opportunities to ride the large wash made by the barges, giving the captains and crew the fright of their lives. One of our Bulgarian guides, Jenny, aptly christened him Òthe river pirateÓ and he certainly did earn that catching some big waves.

 

Along with our guide Jenny our other guide Bobby ensured there were no mishaps. We often had to navigate Locks that hold the water back at differing levels of the River. To move through the Flumes to reach the next level of the river you needed to pull a lever and kayak down what looks like a giant slippery slide. Great fun, and quite scary!

 

Each day was a new and incredibly scenic adventure. From picture-postcard landscapes and countryside, to majestic castles and little towns nestled into the hills. Even from the river we could hear the church clocks chime on the hour. So different from Australian kayaking experiences, this new experience was spellbinding.

 

The kilometres are marked along the river bank stating in Germany and going all the way to the Black Sea so each day we would know what number to look for and that would be approximate site of our camps.

Thank God for Jenny IÕm sure we would have gone down some rapids had she not being there to guide us.

 

Two of our party Myra and Red belong to a chorus and have lovely voices. Often they would lead a song as we paddled raising our already high spirits.

 

Throughout our trip we saw people on the river or banks of the river thoroughly enjoying themselves Ð drinking, dancing and singing. We would often spontaneously join in on the fun.

 

In Austria on the Day of Assumption, a Christian feast day, we heard a band by the riverbank playing such contagious Ôom pa paÕ music we pulled over to join the merriment.

 

In Hungary one morning we heard some fabulous music and made our way to the source. It was a large group of young people still dancing from the previous night! To our delight they welcomed us, so we joined in, danced on the banks in what seemed the middle of nowhere Ð complete with bar and ice-creamery! It was fabulous interaction with the locals and a fun break from paddling.

 

In fact one of the lovely things about paddling in Europe was that we could stop on the banks of the river and not be far from an enchanting cafŽ to enjoy a refreshing drink.

 

Along the Danube through Germany and Austria there are beautiful cycling tracks filled with people enjoying trips, We would often see the same groups again and again and we all exchanged big waves and helloÕs which was lovely and felt like they were old friends.

 

In terms of wild life, Europe has a lot of deer. One even swam in front of us battling the fast flow – thatÕs certainly something we donÕt see at home!

 

Wild pig is also plentiful in some parts, on one of our lunch stops in Hungary we came quite close to a hunters camp, As they Ôgeared upÕ to make a kill Ð complete with bows, arrows and guns they made it clear we werenÕt welcome. Our friendly hello was met with a death glare as one man deliberately bumped hard into LennyÕs shoulder as he passed by. Our stop that day was cautious.

 

We stayed at either kayak/canoe clubs, which were great – complete with showers, bars and some had cafes, or in camping grounds – being more basic we had to forego the hot showers and extras. We experienced an enjoyable balance between the two, which satisfied both our desires for comfort and adventure

 

The Bulgarian land crew were marvellous – locating our sites, cooking and looking after us. We ate a lot of food weÕre not necessarily used to eating in such large quantities including typical sausage, cheese and various regional soups, Our cook was a champion wrestler in Europe and now a coach in Bulgaria, so he understood the need for food that sustained us through our long days paddling. IÕm just not sure how soon IÕll be able to eat Bulgarian sausage again!

 

To sum up our paddling adventure it was one of the highlights of my life and would recommend it to anyone that looking for excitement and the adventure of a lifetime.

 

You can contact the ÒX CLUBÓ at www.teambuilding-bg.com  email info@teambuilding-bg.com

 

Written by Carole Norman, for the Danube Kayaker Adventurer team members from

Currumbin Creek.