Camp site on the Eystri Jokulsa

Eystri Jökulsá Day 2

Breakfast in bed again today. Sounds like a luxury, but when there are 3 smelly blokes in a two man tent, I can assure you that is not the case. Tom refuses to sleep in the middle, so I take that position; at least it is a bit warmer.

Tom kayaking a Pyranha Mountain Bat on the Estri-Jokulsa

Started early on the river (for us) and almost immediately the rapids are more interesting than any we had seen the day before. We passed a rope river crossing system, and then the road bridge that was our get-in on the 1989 trip. The river got increasing more challenging, we reached the spot where Ian had taken photos two years earlier. Andy capsized on it, much to our amusement, and rolled safely, much to our relief. Next was a river-wide pour over. We inspected and it looked pretty nasty, so we all wimped out and portaged. It looks like you may well have got a pasting had you got the line wrong. The portage was tricky too, in a steep sided rocky canyon. There was no sign of the large boil we had used in 1989 to avoid the pour-over and I think the level must have been much lower then.

I seal launched into the river after a bit of dithering, and Andy set up to do the same from a higher point. He clumped into the river and immediately complained of water in his boat. I felt about under water, and there was a dent in the stern of his kayak, which on closer inspection turned out to a be a huge tear in the plastic. We scrambled out where we could and climbed up the canyon walls. It was not too steep, and heavily vegetated,  so more of a scramble than a climb. Tom, meanwhile, had missed the excitement and was busy seal-launching in himself. The noise of the river meant he completely mis-understood our shouting, and thought we were talking about a huge hole in the river, rather than on the one in the stern of Andy’s kayak. With a team effort, and a long throwline, we pulled Andy’s now ruined Mountain Bat out of the river bed. We stopped for lunch and Tom and I carried on down the river, leaving Andy stranded.

Tom kayaking a Pyranha Mountain Bat on the Estri-Jokulsa

The river from here down really warms up, and there are several pumping rapids that keep us busy. I got through the rapid that I got thrashed in 2 years ago, although Tom rolled at the top of it, he managed to get to the bottom unscathed. The river had some more great rapids and play spots, but unfortunately, I had run out of film, so was unable to record it.

Once past the confluence with the Vestri-Jokulsa, the river got much simpler, and started to break into separate channels in a wide braided plain. I managed to get within about 1km of the Landrover, but Tom was nowhere to be seen having darted down a different channel. I eventually saw him and some frantic paddle wavig got his attention. We lounged about in the sun for a while warming up, before packing up and heading back upstream in search of Andy.

The hole in the stern of Andy's Pyranha Mountain Bat

27 miles later, we found Andy getting rather bored and just about to set off in search of us. It was a nice evening though, and we pitched camp where we were. The tent was surrounded by horses again tonight and I was sent out to chase them off.