We woke up at the crack of dawn and loaded all our gear into a truck, but not our normal truck. We were going to be heading to the delta where we were going to load all our gear into small little boats that were just trees with the center dug out. The truck that transported us there was pretty sweet because it had to traverse through dirt roads, and rivers that were up to 3 feet deep! As soon as we go to the boat launch, area which was a lengthy drive to get there, we unpacked everything from the trucks and repacked everything in to the skinny boats. While doing this we saw some wild elephants roaming around the swamps not far from us!
Each boat held two people and their gear. We also each had a paddler that came with us and was in charge of taking us around. He stood in the back with a long pole and just pushed us around. His name was Trust and he turned out to be a really nice guy. The trip up the delta took over an hour and it was under the blistering sun. Luckily they had warned us so most of us had umbrellas out to block the sun. You can imagine the strange site we were as a flock of boats traveled upstream in the delta covered with umbrellas. The best part is that everyone (besides me) that bought an umbrella did so at the first store they went to in town and purchased to cheapest umbrellas they could find. This resulted in half the group carrying around kid’s umbrellas in the shape of butterflies and tigers. I’m not gonna lie, they were pretty cool but I was all set with my umbrella that Shelby sent me a month back!! I did get really unlucky in the fact that my camelback bag leaked and got all the clothes that I had packed soaked. As soon as we got there I took everything out of my bad and had it hanging all over the trees to dry off, also a site to see.
We were taken all the way to our own little private island where we set up and made camp. Our ‘pollers’ were joining us so they also set up their tents. Once everyone was set they showed us around the island and took us to the hole they dug in the ground that would serve as our bathroom, and the location where it was ‘safe’ to go swimming. The swimming location was sketchy and even though he told us that there weren’t any hippos, or crocodiles in the water we had to worry about I don’t think most of us trusted what he said. That caution was all thrown out the window as soon as the sun reached it’s peak in the sky. Oh my god, does it get hot in Africa! We all ended up in the water and ended up spending the afternoon cooling off. We didn’t encounter any large animals but there was certainly a lot of fish. The coolest thing about the fish was that they were really slow and I could actually catch them with my bare hands. We had contests to see who could catch the most fish and one of the girls actually caught 5 little minnows in one go! The most I got was 4 but we were all very successful with our new found skills. If we were swimming in the delta then we were getting lessons on how to push one of the boats around. They were really cool but I can’t say I felt that sturdy in them. Even after I got the hang of it I still thought I’d flip over at any second.
Around 3pm we all got in our boats and headed to another island to go on a bush walk. Along the walk we learned all about the plants of the island as well as the animals that roamed it. There are tons of hippos and elephants in the area so you had to watch your step where you were walking, not just for the pool but for the enormous foot prints they would leave in the mud. We even came across leopard tracks at one point but unfortunately we didn’t see one. We did see loads of birds, and antelope though. We walked around until the sun was starting to set. They wanted us back in the boats and on the water for when the sun going to set. I’m so glad we got there in time too because it turned out to be the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever witnessed in my life. The pictures turned out pretty amazing as well.
When we got back to camp Kelly had dinner ready and we hung out by the fire eating up. The crew of pollers joined us for supper and afterwards they put on a show for us. It was just singing and dancing but we loved it and in turn shared with them songs we knew. That was terrible, but in an awesome way. While this was happening we discovered how much fun it was to mess with the shutter speed on your camera and how cool lights can look at night. We didn’t use my camera but as soon as I get the pictures I’ll show you what I mean. Basically while the shutter stayed open you could take a flashlight and spell things out in the air and when the shutter closed you could actually read the entire word you had just spelled out. Really really cool.