Approx. miles by pirogue: 550
The water had become too fast, and the rocks too many. We hadn't been prepared for this; hadn't had a chance to stop and scout ahead by foot. Having finally fought our way free of a narrow, overgrown channel of quick water running through dense forest, our lumbering dugout canoe suddenly surged out into the open. Archie and I, already exhausted, looked ahead in panic.
We were speeding towards a churning field of rapids. Boulders littered the wide waterway and each one threatened to undo us. We managed a couple of risky and unplanned 360 degree pirouettes between obstacles before the breaks became too high and we inevitably struck a rock. Water gushed over the sides and, in a desperate attempt to avoid the pirogue sinking, we leapt overboard. The fierce current dragged us unsympathetically over shallow rocks to the end of the rapids. The pirogue's nose had gone under and the rear was only held near the surface by the empty water containers we used as buoyancy aids. Our bags floated off in various directions while we desperately thrashed back and forth in the still-speeding water, shepherding them to the moving 'base' of our sinking canoe.