Monday, January 10, 2011

Itanda Falls

As so often happens, plans change at the last minute. A single phone call freed up the entire afternoon and you just learn to make the most of it. Did someone say Itanda (ee-ten-duh) Falls? An hour-long drive down a dust covered road led to these beautiful falls on the Nile River. This much larger version of Bujagali Falls offered several points at which to perch myself. The power of the rushing water is mesmerizing.
We learned that this day had been chosen to memorialize Hendrik Coezee, a skilled kayaker working with Eddie Bauer to investigate uncharted African waters. On December 9, 2010 Hendrik was eaten by crocodiles while exploring the Lukuga River in Congo. Read more about what happened in the article written by Canoe & Kayak Magazine. The final post on Hendrik’s The Great White Explorer blog included these prophetic last words: “I would never live a better day.”

Hendrik’s kayak was all that remained. While Canadian, American, and Ugandan onlookers waited, a memorial raft was set aflame as it floated over the rapids. The fire blazed and then fell apart as the power of the water pulled the raft downstream.