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Siberian Adventure With Tomass Marnics


Back in February a friend of mine named Fredy from Switzerland informed me of a multi-day paddling trip to southern Siberia being organized by Tomass Marnics and asked me if I wanted to go.  I thought about it for roughly five minutes, called fellow Pyranha paddler Tony Gianfagna and immediately started searching for plane tickets to Irkutsk.  Before we knew it, it was August, our Russian Visas had been issued, and we were on our way.



To be honest I didn’t know a whole lot about this trip before we left.  I knew that Tomass had been organizing these trips for a few years, he had intimate knowledge of the expedition on hand, and it was his responsibility to organize the food as well as shuttles.  Really, all Tony and I had to do was show up.
When all was said and done, our group of international paddlers spent 11-days paddling the Kiltoy River and one of its tributaries, the Biluti.  The lack of access to these rivers and the remoteness required this trip to be completely self-supported.  That’s right, for 11-days we carried everything that we needed with us, cooked over an open fire, and bushwhacked the 5 kilometers to the Biluti River base camp (affectionately called the Biluti Hotel) with fully loaded boats.  At this point the put-in seems like a distant memory , but I can recall stuffing food, (including cans of horse meat) in any area of my boat that was not occupied by myself or other pieces of gear.  The Everest made an deal vessel for me, and others on the trip.  The extra room certainly came in handy.
I think my favorite part was the contrast of the types of rivers we paddled.  Our days on the Kiltoy were spent dodging massive holes and crashing through big breaking waves. Exactly the kind of big water adventure you’d expect from  Siberia.  As soon as we turned our focus to the Biluti our experience changed to a creek boating paradise.  Low volume rapids, narrow canyons, and waterfalls were on the menu for our three-days there.  We had ideal flows for both stretches of river and I am grateful for all 200 miles of our trip.
Reflecting on the past two weeks of traveling it is clear that this trip was about the whole package.  The travel to Russia, the bond that was formed between 10 paddlers from Latvia, Russia, Switzerland, UK, and the US, the extended period of time spent in the wilderness, and the amazing paddling combined to make this an unforgettable experience.  A very special debt of gratitude goes out to Tomass Marnics for organizing the trip.  There is absolutely no way a full -time teacher like me from the U.S. would have been able to experience paddling in Siberia without his leadership.
Now that I’m back in the U.S. I’m still recovering from a 24-hour travel day and getting ready for the upcoming King of New York Race Series on the Raquette and Beaver River.  Fall is my favorite time of year in the northeastern U.S. and I could’t be happier to be back home on familiar rivers.

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  1. Siberian Adventure With Tomass Marnics | Whitewater News Blog - Kayaking, Rafting, Canoe, SUP & River Conservation says:

    […] Read the full story over at the Team Pyranha Blog. […]

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