British Universities Kayaking Expedition (BUKE / Uniyaker) is a well established biennial expedition in search of some of the finest white-water on earth. Previous expeditions have explored; Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia; Siberia, Vietnam, Venezuela and Ethiopia.
Between June and August 2015 this year’s team of paddlers from British universities explored the rivers of Madagascar.
A central aim of our expedition was the Sakaleona River, it is on the east coast of the island and has been rafted once previously but never kayaked. It looks to have ideal whitewater gradient and the put in is right at the base of the tallest waterfall in the country. There was also the potential to pack for an extra day and break up the descent with a short hike into the adjacent drainage for some ‘park & huck’ style boating. However this plan was destined to fail from the beginning…
Once reaching the last big town on the coast before heading inland, we discovered the only road up the river was closed. The best solution proved to be bartering a boat ride 40k inland, upstream, then attempting to get transport from there. This boat ride unfortunately cost us the majority of our cash and we could not afford to get to the get in by truck, only making it half way thanks to a fortunate midnight lift.
The attempt to walk the other half of the distance to the river (roughly 20k) resulted in a portage pack related accident and a serious shoulder injury to josh. Our chosen escape route, in order to get josh back to medical help, was to hike back to the nearest alternative river and paddle back to the coast, aiding josh as a team wherever necessary. This results in a 13 minute video with under three minutes of actual kayaking. We hope you enjoy watching!