Well I am back in Orissa, what can I say its cheap, there is the ocean and more rivers than you can shake a stick at. This adventure was for a good cause too. My friend Dr. Debabrata Das, dentist, was hosting a charity event called “present a smile” in a small village called Ghodabar, located on the banks of the Mahanadi river (the longest river in Orissa). I recruited some friends from the Surfing Yogis in Puri to accompany me to the event, as well as to paddle down the river with me. The charity event was to give health care to the local villagers who could not afford it otherwise, free medication and examinations were given, and many tooth extractions were done as well. some busted up grills in this area man!
the next day Yogi and myself put in at around 7:30am in the mist from hell, we could not see anything, but needed to start in order to make it the 35km we needed to on time to meet the media, yea, we were met by 4 news stations and several news papers, including the most widely distributed paper in India, crazy shit yea??
So, the river was big and slow, Yogi was on a SUP board and me in my raft, I paddled the entire time, while yogi meditated, swam and rolled hash joints, the SUP is soo fast compared to my pack raft. The trip was pretty straight forward, beautiful views once the fog cleared, tons of villagers and some amazing temples along the way. Head winds and cross winds made for slow going but good exercise. We reached the take out early and all was good. Quite a relaxing and fun trip for a good cause.
The other goals of this trip, that was sponsored and supported locally by the OSPA (Orissa surfing and paddling association), the Surfing Yogis and the ISF (India surf festival) were to raise local awareness of Eco-friendly recreational sports as well as to promote healthy lifestyles. For me, the most important issue was spreading the word about how vital is is to keep our rivers clean, I will try to post my TV interview in which I discuss the importance of educating local people about proper waste management, as well as not disposing of garbage in the river or around it. Generally, environmental conservation, It may not help, but hey, at least some people are trying to get thru to the folks around here.
Here is the section we paddled: we went on the North side of Cuttack and landed at the boat club, where in fact ancient ppl would put into the river and sail to Indonesia and back. The city is over 1k years old, pretty neat place on a massive river.
Dr. Das, secretary OSPA, at the “present a smile” charity event:
view from put in:
Yogi and I lost in the clouds: