Abel & Peter River Expedition
After 12 days of intensive paddling in all type of conditions and 700 km on the Drava, Mur and Danube rivers, Peter BARTL and Abel CATHELINEAU finally reached Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, on November 30, 2011.
Before their departure they would never have expected such a nice trip : many adventures, encounters and beautiful landscapes. Paddling on rivers is great, can also be dangerous but is nothing but boring ! The involvement of Peter was precious as he has a strong whitewater background. Abel brought two 17 footers boards specially designed for the trip with the support of the Swiss company Nidecker.
Peter’s experience was imperative for such an adventure, he has a knack for anticipating problems before they arose ; like trees, muddy shores/banks, streams and other danger.
He also proposed the right equipment : no neoprene at all, but wind stoppers, thermo-regulation underwear and ski clothes, mountain shoes and gloves for the base camp and also for paddling. It was cold all the time except two days with just a few hours’ sunshine.
That adventure was an everyday learning : temperatures below zero and reaching -10° Celsius during the night, got stuck in a frozen tent (really no way to get out..!). And not to forget : shoes too cold to be worn, frozen gas, ice on the boards, paddling during hours and hours with 10 m visibility, all day long and night paddling, electronic equipment who start to disfunction... and inextricable problems with the police border !!
Conclusion : we had a really great time on the rivers and the fact that we paddled down three rivers and crossed 5 countries, brought full magical powers to the trip.
We are convinced that we will help everyone bridge the way to such a trip... maybe not in winter. You might not believe it, but we were in full autonomy (food and water), slept under the tent and... it was great.
Adventure is not only on TV ! You just need to take a decision, prepare the necessary equipment and leave ! Not to say that for many of us, sleeping under the tent is already an adventure.