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Corsica 2014 – Call of Duty on the Island of Beauty

The Forecast was promising to have some extraordinary conditions on Corsica for Easter kayaking as meteorologists were talking about snow-covered mountains in what extent they have not been sighted for a decade. No doubt this season should become the most crowded as whitewater kayakers all over the planet desired to get wet. With a late Easter holiday, ferry tickets booked in advance, two weeks, three cars and  a good crowd of 12 paddlers altogether Paul Meylahn and myself were ready to catch tributary streams of any feeder we could speculate about, run upper Uppers…in short: even to be able to top the last first class season of creekboating on Corsica!

Unfortunately the blessing failed to appear, the nights stayed too cold and we missed the rainy weeks just by a few days…anyways we could not complain at all, each day was sunny hot, rivers were just slowly dropping from nice medium flows and the motivation to run all the Classics and their upper stretches was unbroken when you once woke up in that amazing Meditarranean ambience and the beauty of each river glazing in sunlight. After a few warm-up sessions on the Tavignano river, Golo and Fium Orbo we started to get back on our actual mission to get some steep miles on the Uppers. We caught an unreasonable level on the upper Golo but got rewarded on the last steps as the whole group was able to join and get some first boofs. The upper Fium Orbo was just perfect to enjoy all the drops and slides leading to the “rocket Gorge”. None of us ever did it before, so we were quite stoked to enjoy that hidden pearl of barely touched whitewater with its must-run passages just on our own. The officially classified as “hardest run” on the upper Vecchio became the most significant and challenging trip for us. The 8 Km long section took us about 6 hours and was offering difficult but truly fair whitewater out of paddlers’ construction kit: labyrinths of massive granite blocks with often just a single pass leading into slides and drops, simply degrading the massive steepness in bits and pieces eddy by eddy, feeling the urgency that each stroke must be placed right and your internalized route must be followed with all your skills and power – amazing! Endless gorges, steps of pleasure, fast decisions, always peering up in the sky to keep an eye on the setting sun and with Wavesports’ Recon just the perfect creeker underneath you to trust on and having the privilege to enjoy whitewater in dimensions which scares most people away…

After that trip we were definately hooked once again on the corsican dream of exploration and were looking forward to check out the “west coast”. Unfortunately one of the best rivers here, the Rizzanese, got damn dammed and the second classic, the Liamone river, was too low. Instead of dissappointment we checked out the Codi river, which was barely affected by the dam as it leads into the upper Rizzanese and instead of a massive portage out of the gorge we could finish at the lakeside – but I guess that’s not a real advantage compared to “our” loss…

The low level forced the group to get lines and boofs right or take some serious impacts, but anyway Codi is one of the steepest and magnificent rivers out here, it drops like it should invented the raincoat (quotation :) so we had some good fun running continuous slides and falls, taking fotos (which is not really possible if you’re too occupied with the river itself or scouting to keep the time-scedule) and get a big group down there to experience some waterfalls. The lack of alternatives presented the Taravo river at a solid half tide as last option to stay at the awesome “Chez Antoine” camping right at the beach and still go kayaking until the ferry gets us. After a few laps already on the “standard” sections we won’t keep that river underestimated anymore: The Taravo has much more potential than ever expected and with its at least 40Km of perfect bulky whitewater, two awesome and completely runnable gorges (Gorge rouge and granite gorge) it’s definately on my to-do list for next corsican adventures. To get the most out of our last paddle-day we decided to check out the upper upper put-in, get through both gorges and end after 30Km when the valley opens up and the river gets more public. The unimpressive little stream with its wood-and grassland character embedded in a dreamy fantasy-valley absolutely isolated (we drove the road until there was no more road or village) seemed to be rather a mission for the arms than for the kayaker heart. But we were brought around after the first few kilometers and the several waterfalls dropping in and working on the rivers volume. It got steeper and steeper and we just kept paddling like duracel-bunnies on unscouted, blocked and continuously dropping class IV and V. The rivers character was awesome and fair because we could stay in our boats and race down through always changing and challenging types of obstacles. After 10Km the first retentive and unpredictable fall forced us to stop, scout and build-up some safety, simply to take a breath, smile and realize that meanwhile the river was full on and just gets better. One of my highlights was the following Gorge rouge which is completly runable, several kilometers of pure pleasure and with sunshine in your face kayaking at its finest. Ok, the 4 Km class II spanned to get to the next gorge can suck, but to experience that river from its beginning and rest when it needs one also can be very ruminant and peaceful. See you soon Corsica, keep me surprised and alive!!!

Special thanks to Confluence Watersports and Blue&White for supporting me with Wavesport Kayaks, AT Paddles, Bombergear and Langer Equipment…and of course HelliWelli-Whitewater-Shop for sharing the spirit!!!

Martin Koll

Tags: boof · corsica · kayak · Martin Koll · Recon · rizzanese · taravo · upper · vecchio · waterfall · Wave Sport · white water

Rubrik: Teamblog  Poster: Martin Kollaktualisiert: 29.04.14 - 20:10

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