Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I love Mexico because...

I like going to new places and meeting new people, and of course I take my boat along with me and explore new rivers. My autumn adventure in 2010 took me to Mexico, it's a paddlers paradise; awesome rivers, warm water, friendly people, spectacular landscape, cold cervezas, Tequila, yummy food, the list goes on and on.

My journey started from Zurich, then to Barcelona to Mexico City and finally to Veracruz, it all went well 'til I landed in Mexico City on 20th November, Revolution day! Maniana maniana was the name of the game and all 'planes outta Mexico City were delayed and many cancelled. After 8 hours of waiting and wheeling and dealing I was on a plane to Veracruz.

I had arranged to meet up with open canoeing legend Jim Coffey in Veracruz and then drive out to Jalcomulco, Jim has spent the last 15Winters in Mexico so knows his way around pretty good, after a 2.5hour drive we where in the middle of a crazy street party in Jalco, free food, free beer and fiesta!

I only had a short time in Mexico so the aim of the game was as much paddling as possible, Jim took this mission statement almost too seriously and we were on the road heading out to the Filo Bobos at 7am the next morning! I hardy ever get to go canoeing with other ww open boaters so this was a special trip for me, don't get me wrong I love going on the river with all my kayaking buddies but to go paddling with another dedicated open boater is kinda special, it was almost bizarre to realise how many similarities we had in our paddling styles even though we had learnt to paddle on different continents.

We paddled loads sections of many cool rivers, some I have forgotten the name of and some I never knew the name of, but 2 rivers really stand out as favourites, the Rio de Oro and the Rio Alseseca.

The Rio de Oro, I had been really looking forward to this river, white water all the way to the beach! The river did not disappoint, sweet rapids, a nice double drop combo, 12meters then 9meters and then cruisy rapids all the way to the beach. We had hoped to reach the beach for sunset but a perforated ear drum and suspected broken ribs kinda slowed us down and we had to paddle the last rapids in the dark. Class 2 can be quite a challenge in the pitch black!

The Rio Alseseca is one of Mexicos most famous rivers, with several sections to choose from, full of clean drops and slides it really is a paddlers dream. To prove how small the World is we met 2friends from Germany, Anne and Seppi, at the upper put in and paddled with them down the upper section. Having already decided the Rio de Oro was my favourite river I now had to issue joint honours to the Alseseca it is also awesome, no beach at the take out but incredible rapids and not too much hiking!

Top tips for paddling in Mexico

Good shoes, I did lots of hiking to and from rivers and there is lots of dancing in Mexico.

Hang out with the locals on the beach after paddling the Rio de Oro and go fishing with the locals.

Visit the Taco Man and the Juice Ladies in Jalcomulco, the best breakfast and dinner you can can get.

Contact Jim Coffey at Esprit to organise your logistics, he is a legend!

Mexico is a superb November/December paddling destination for all levels of paddler, there are loads of class 2 cruisy runs and for the hardcore among us there are some BIG drop to hit up.

Stay safe and see you on the river in the Spring melt