Day 12 – First day of rest

Today we stayed in camp all day. Everyone slept more or less at different times of the day. We ate a lot and it seemed to be all we could do. We dried our stuff and washed a few things.

I went to look at the little river just beside the camp, the little tributary, which is the route we have to follow to get to the Matarombeo wetland. In theory, it should work on this river without you having to get out of the water straight away, by going into the forest or cutting the path. The river is a small, relatively wide stream, so you can easily walk along the bottom or the sides. We should be able to make good speed on at least the first third of the route to the wetland.

After that, we’ll have around 6km of forest to cross and trim. This will obviously take much longer. We’re going to have to get our bearings, know where we are, and it’s going to be a great exercise in orientation, because GPS doesn’t work under the forest canopy, so we’re going to have to find our way by compass.

Today gave us the opportunity to treat the fungal infections, which worked rather well because we all recovered to a greater or lesser extent and we’re all feeling a lot less sore. That’s good, but it’s not enough. Some of us need another day of complete rest.

Tomorrow there will most likely be a departure downstream of the Lasolo river to find a camp for a few people, an area where they catch deer. According to the guys we met the other day, there are pirogues. One idea is to take one of these pirogues up the Lasolo river as far as possible, as high up as possible, to get as close as possible to its source. That was one of the aims of the expedition, so if we can find an easier way than crossing the whole meadow again and cutting into the forest, we’ll be happy.

We’re going to try that with Jamyl and Bagus tomorrow. We’re going to try to negotiate because we know there are people but we don’t know if there are any pirogues. And if there are pirogues, we don’t know if they have petrol to get up there. We don’t know if they’ll agree to climb higher than where they’re used to. They go to the other camp of the men who were capturing the deer. We’re going to have to negotiate and it’s probably going to be expensive, because the piroguers charge a lot of money when you want to use their pirogues, especially in a place they don’t know. We’ll check it out, and once we’re down, it’s about a 2-hour descent, and if the guy refuses, we’ll still have to negotiate for them to take us back to our current camp, because otherwise we’ll have to go upstream with the packrafts, which is no mean feat.

For the others, it will be a day of rest as complete as possible. The idea is that if all goes well, we’ll be able to leave for the Matarombeo wetland the day after tomorrow, in just one day.


At the end of the afternoon, the storm roared up, then the rain came fast and hard. It’s still raining, and the storm is gradually receding. It’s a nice atmosphere, it rumbles and lights up the sky, it’s very pretty.

Last night, just after we’d finished recording, we caught two big bolts of lightning less than 100m from the tent. The sound came a fraction of a second after the light, and that really scared us. It usually happens once, but to have two bolts of lightning strike so close twice in a row was really scary.

We’ve washed the clothes, but there are some things that can’t be corrected, particularly the smells. Dirt is OK, but bathing in smelly clothes is horrible. It’s OK now because we’re resting in the camp, so we’ve got the clean clothes we used to wear in the evenings, but as soon as we set off again we’ll have to put back on the clothes we used to walk in for the last 8 days. And it’s infernal. But when you wash them, you use soap, and when you hang them out, the soap smells good, but as soon as you put it back on, it’s a horror. There’s even stuff that when you walk by you think “ouuuuh”, without even putting it on, it’s terrible!

See you tomorrow!

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