Eneko Yarza Kayak

IBAI BIDAIAK: Blog hau nire bidaiei buruz da, munduan zehar ibaiak jaitsiaz kayakari eta ibai gida moduan.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . Beste bizimodu bat ezagutzera gonbidatuak zaudete.
RIVER TRAVELS:This blog talks about my travels around the world, as a passionate nomad kayaker and as a river guide.
VIAJES POR RÍOS: Este blog habla de mis viajes por el mundo como kayakista y guía de ríos apasionado y nómada.


Memorias de Goa - India 2007 (esp)


Después de hacer en kayak el Primer Descenso (es decir, que nunca nadie lo había bajado antes) del cañón Ghuya Ghat en el alto Río Tons el día de navidad de 2006, en las Himalayas de India, para la nochevieja ya estaba en el estado de GOA, el único estado católico de India, con playas, palmeras y fiestas.

     No era para kayakear, pero estuvo buenísimo ya que por medio de la amiga Evaíxia caí en una banda de artistas internacionales que todos los años volvían para pasar la temporada. Hacían ropa, artesanías, malabares, bailes, música, y mucho más. Gente bella y de corazón abierta.

     Para aportar mi granito de arena a esta buena familia filmé y edité este video para las memorias.

     Para toda esa Banda y para los demás:

GOA Memories - India 2007 (eng)


After kayaking on Christmas Day 2006 on the Indian Himalayas the First Descent (ie, that no one had gone down before) of the Ghuya Ghat canyon in the upper Tons river, for New Year's Eve I was in the state of Goa, the only catholic state in India, with beaches, palm trees and parties.

      It was not for kayaking, but it was great because through my friend Evaíxia I fell into a band of international artists that every year returned for the season. They made clothing, crafts, juggling, dancing, music and more. Beautiful people with open heart.

      To contribute my bit to this good family I filmed and edited this video for memories.

      For all that band and others:


Good bye in Mark´s Canyon (COL)


After the death of Mark Hentze by a rise of the river we met in Medellin Kees Van Kuipers, Joana and other friends to help us in bureaucratic tasks (more statements in the police, paperwork for the prosecutor, etc).

     On Tuesday 13 March 2012, 7 days after the "storm", it was the cremation of the body of Mark, a different ceremony: Kees stick on the coffin a funny photo of Mark with a wig, right there we made a toast with Guaro (brandy with anise) and above the coffin was put a big green bud to burn them together and give to Mark a smile for his next trip. Part of the ashes will go where the family in Oregon-USA and the other part to Mark's favorite river in Colombia, the Chicamocha Canyon in San Gil.

     They were not easy days, memories and different feelings were mixed in the same pot. Something was needed to put an end and say goodbye to Mark. The other times I've lost "cat lives" I returned to the scene, and this time also wanted to return. Return to understand and clarify memories. Return to see and show the beautiful and wild canyon we discovered. Return to get some picture of the fascinating bedroom where Mark said goodbye and send it to his family. Return to admit and assimilate what happened. Return to say goodbye to Mark.

     9 days after the flash-flood we left early from Medellin and after 2-3 hours on the highway direction Bogota we arrived to Pailania neighborhood in the municipality of San Francisco, where the last expedition was begun.

     Those in the photo are some of the guys from the Majagual house in Pailania, who gave us some information to Mark and me before entering the river, who helped me out of the river, and the first to be launched in the search and found some stuff while police and firefighters were drinking coffees.

     In this farewell tour of Mark we left the cab in this house. As a reward for what they did I gave them more money and thanks, and I told them that we intended to walk back to the canyon. They grabbed a machete and were ready to join us. Good people those from Pailania.

     The trail to the river leaves behind the house (30min) and then going downstream along the left bank with no path to the waterfall of the canyon (45min). This is the same route that I took after the flash-flood, but now I knew the way and had shoes

     This is the class 5 rapid I kayaked. Here the river begins to be steeper.

   We continue looking for the way down the left bank, the right is worse. We are entering the canyon.

     This is the last rapid Mark and I ran one after the other, and here we came out to begin the long and difficult portage over rocks.

     A couple of steps down is the waterfall siphon.  Feelings begin to surface ...

     Behind there is the waterfall that disappears under the rocks. Dutchman Kees Van Kuipers, a great friend and the most knowledgeable of Colombian rivers with Mark Hentze, watching the show that comes downstream.

   =>  This is what you see upstream from the waterfall. They are not small stones and in low water all the water goes from the other side, from river right. Today farewell day the river flow is about 20cm lower than when we kayaked. From here came down the big wave

      And this below is what is downstream from the waterfall. As when I came with Mark there is no water flow from river left. The flat rock you see to the right of the person was my bed, and 3 rocks downstream, high and flat, was that of Mark. On the flood the biggest rock in the middle of the river was under water and was the reason of the water explosions to the air. The trunk of the large tree on the left was flooded and the big horizontal branch almost did not, and that in less than 30 seconds.

     Where I am is where Mark was sleeping, imposing high flat rock, but no escape routes up from the wall, and a fall of 7 meters downstream of the rock, where the wave probably threw him away. From here down smooth walls.

     Mark and I left the kayaks here and went to look the rapids that were later, but how did we go down of this rock? This photo shows a trunk between the boys and a hole. We put a rope in the trunk and went down through the hole into a cave from where we left downstream. Then we returned through the same place, remove the rope and we made the fire to cook the last dinner aside the log.

     We found some souvenir for the museum of Mark (his sleeping bag, the tarp, etc).

     To this rock of Mark the wave came, the water went through this hole and filled the cave. My skirt stuck in the trunk and broke down as it received hits of rocks and logs. It's a special place, as being Plato's cave in reverse, and I left the skirt stuck there as a reminder...

     This is the image Mark had from his rock to upstream. Top left is the start of the waterfall that disappears under the rocks. Where I'm sitting is my rock-bed, and that's where I told good night to Mark and I contemplated this wonder with the moonlight to 2 days of being full, and I lay down.

     25 minutes later was the awakening. The wave came from above and quickly began to fill all the gaps between rocks. 5 seconds later I was in the water and when my head was out I started to climb up like a chimpanzee where I was, from the right of the picture, probably the only way out to the heights.

     In this rock-bed I'm at about 5m of water level and water rose to where the trunk of the large tree on the right is divided into branches. The water rose about 10-12 meters.

    In the blink of an eye I was up here on the border between the smooth rocks and vegetation. I had come through the branches or vines that are on the left. To the right is the reference large tree.

     Here are the vines where I got up, and I can not remember how. In the second hit of rise this was under water and I kept climbing to the vegetation and spend the night up there. I am a lucky monkey.

     Learnings for the river people: The river level that rises in one place is proportional to the increase of volume of water + volume occupied by the rocks there. River level = volume of water + volume of rocks. Now look at the huge rocks and you'll understand a little more how the river rose up 10 m.

     It's complicated the situation where I am and many feelings are mixed. I had a big scare and this produces fear. Miraculously, I survived and I'm grateful and happy. But my friend drowned and sorrow gnaws at me.

     Each of Mark's friends who went to the canyon had their low moment, but the bad gulp must be assimilated for the water to continue flowing in its channel.

     View downstream from the rock of Mark, beautiful and wild. From there was Mark Hentze gone, and there will not stop running water and floods, as the cycle of life itself. I encourage all the family and friends of Mark, water will not stop and neither life.

     We went a few to the canyon of Mark, but on behalf of many. Andy Atkins the english-canadian, Kees Van Kuipers the dutch, Joana colombian, Emilio french, the 3 local boys and me. Thanks Team!
    Leaving the river there is no joy but feels peace. "What a great hike!" Joana says. Tired from inside and out, is what we needed.

     After the storm comes the calm, and through the whirlpool of water everything we must let go, to cleanse and purify.

     Leaving the river I asked for Luis the gold digger, the first person I met after the wave, who gave me sugar water and showed me the way to the road. Thanks Luis, thanks to the priest Abel, thanks to the boys, thanks to Nicos, thanks Joana, Kees, Andy, Joe, Niamh, Emilio.

     Here is Eneko Yarza among us, and I will not stop, I´ll not slow down, I have been given extra time and I must take advantage of it. What would you do if something like that happens to you? if you see the end of this movie but it´s given to you extra time? would you be looking to spend time doing nothing? Think about that, for someone will be good.

     From the terrace of Casa Kiwi, where Mark was staying in Medellin, we say goodbye and the team dissolves.
               GOOD BYE MARK!     ADIÓS MARK!      AGUR MARK!

     I return to Euskal Herria (Basque Country) after one and a half year around Latin America. A cycle ends and another begins.     And THE BIG WHEEL KEEPS ON TURNING.

                                                              Link of the previous article: Death and Life in a Wave

Adiós en el Cañón de Mark (COL)


Tras la muerte de Mark Hentze por una crecida del río nos juntamos en Medellín Kees Van Kuipers, Joana y otros amigos para ayudarnos en las tareas burocráticas (más declaraciones en la policía, papeleo al fiscal, etc).

     El martes 13 de marzo, 7 días despúes de la "borrasca", se hizo la cremación del cuerpo de Mark, una ceremonia diferente: Kees pegó en el ataud una foto graciosa de Mark con peluca, allí mismo hicimos un brindis con Guaro (aguardiente con anís) y encima del ataud se le puso un gran cogollo para quemarlos juntos y regalarle a Mark la sonrisa para su próximo viaje.  Parte de las cenizas irán a donde la familia en Oregon-USA y otra parte al río favorito de Mark, al Cañón de Chicamocha en San Gil-Colombia.

     No fueron días fáciles, los recuerdos y diferentes sentimientos se mezclaban en la misma olla. Algo hacía falta para poner punto y final y despedirnos de Mark. Las otras veces que he perdido "vidas de gato" he vuelto al lugar de los hechos, y esta vez también quería volver. Volver para entender y aclarar los recuerdos. Volver para ver y mostrar el bello y salvaje cañón que descubrimos. Volver para sacar alguna imagen del fascinante dormitorio donde Mark se despidió y mandarselo a su familia. Volver para admitir y asimilar lo sucedido. Volver para despedirnos de Mark.

     9 días después de la crecida salimos temprano de Medellín y tras 2-3 horas por la autopista hacia Bogotá llegamos al barrio de Pailania en el municipio de San Francisco, donde comenzó la última expedición.

     Los de la foto son algunos de los chicos de la casa Majagual de Pailania, los que nos dieron algo de información a Mark y a mí antes de entrar al río, los que me ayudaron al salir del río, y los primeros que se lanzaron en la busqueda y encontraron algo de material mientras la policia y los bomberos tomaban cafés.

     En esta excursión de despedida de Mark dejamos el taxi en esta casa. Como recompensa por lo que hicieron les di más dinero y agradecimientos, y les comentamos la intención que teníamos de volver caminando al cañón. De una agarraron machete y estaban listos para acompañarnos. Buena gente los de Pailania.

     El sendero al río sale detrás de la casa (30min) y luego sin sendero por la orilla izquierda del río buscando paso río abajo hasta la cascada del cañón (45min). Ésta es la misma ruta que yo tomé tras la crecida del río, pero ahora lo conocía e iba con zapatillas.

     Éste es el rápido clase 5 que descendí en kayak. Aquí el río comienza a tener más desnivel.

   Seguimos buscando camino por la orilla izquierda, la derecha está peor. Estamos entrando al cañón.

     Éste es el último rápido que corrimos Mark y yo uno detrás del otro, y aquí nos salimos para comenzar el largo y pesado portage por las rocas.

     A un par de rápidos viene la cascada a sifón. Comienzan a aflorar los sentimientos...

     Ahí detrás se ve la cascada que desaparece bajo las rocas. El holandés Kees Van Kuipers, gran amigo y el mayor conocedor de los ríos de Colombia junto a Mark Hentze, contemplando el espectáculo que viene río abajo.

   =>  Esto es lo que se ve desde la cascada hacia río arriba. No son piedras pequeñas y en agua baja todo el agua va por el otro lado, por río derecha. Hoy día de despedida el caudal del río es unos 20cm más bajo que cuando lo kayakeamos. Por aquí vino la gran ola.

      Y la foto de abajo es lo que se ve río abajo desde la cascada. Tal y como cuando vine con Mark hoy tampoco pasa nada de agua por río izquierda. La roca plana que se ve a la derecha de la persona era mi cama, y 3 rocas río abajo, la alta y plana, era la de Mark. La roca más grande del centro del río quedó bajo agua y era la que mandaba explosiones de agua al aire. El tronco del gran árbol de la izquierda quedó inundado y la gran rama horizontal por poco no, y eso en menos de 30 segundos.

     Donde estoy yo es donde estaba durmiendo Mark, imponente roca alta y plana, pero sin rutas de escape por pared hacia arriba, y una caída de 7 metros río abajo de la roca, seguramente donde la ola lo tiró. De aquí para abajo paredes lisas.

     Mark y yo dejamos aquí los kayaks y fuimos a mirar los rápidos que venían después, pero como bajar de esta roca? En esta foto se ve un tronco entre los muchachos y un agujero. Pusimos una cuerda en el tronco y bajamos por el agujero a una cueva por donde salimos río abajo. Luego volvimos por el mismo lugar, quitamos la cuerda y al lado del tronco hicimos el fuego para cocinar la última cena.

     Encontramos algún recuerdo para el museo de Mark (su saco de dormir, la tarpa, etc).

     A esta roca de Mark la ola llegó, por este agujero el agua pasó y la cueva se llenó. Mi falda o cubrebañeras en el tronco atorado se quedó, y se malogró ya que golpes de piedras y troncos recibió. Es un lugar especial, como si fuera la salida de la cueva de Platón a la inversa, y ahí dejé la falda atorada como recordatorio…

     Ésta es la imagen que tenía Mark desde su roca hacia río arriba. Arriba a la izquierda se ve el comienzo de la cascada que desaparece debajo de las rocas. Donde yo estoy sentado es mi roca-cama, y ahí es donde me despedí de Mark con las buenas noches y me quedé contemplando esta maravilla con la luz de la luna a 2 días de ser llena, y me acosté.

     25 minutos más tarde fue el despertar. La ola llegó desde arriba y comenzó a llenar rápido todos los huecos de entre rocas. 5 segundos más tarde yo ya estaba en el agua y cuando saqué la cabeza comencé a escalar para arriba como un chimpancé por donde me tocó, por la derecha de la foto, seguramente la única salida que había hacia las alturas.

     Estoy a unos 5m del nivel del agua, y el agua subió hasta donde el tronco del gran árbol de la derecha se divide en ramas. El agua subió unos 10-12 metros.

    En un abrir y cerrar de ojos me encontraba aquí arriba, en el límite entre la roca pulida y la vegetación. Había llegado por las ramas o lianas que se ven a la izquierda. A la derecha se ve el árbol de referencia.

     Aquí están las lianas por donde me subí, y no me acuerdo ni como. En el segundo golpe de subida esto quedó bajo agua y seguí trepando por la vegetación y allí pase la noche. Soy un mono con suerte.

     Aprendizaje para la gente de río: El nivel del río que sube en un lugar es proporcional a la subida del volumen de agua + el volumen que ocupan las rocas en ese lugar. Nivel del río = volumen de agua + volumen de rocas.  Ahora miren las rocotas y entenderán un poquito más como subió 10 m de golpe.

     Es compleja la situación en que me encuentro y muchos sentimientos se mezclan. Tuve un susto grande y eso miedo produce. De milagro me salvé y agradecido y contento estoy. En cambio mi amigo se ahogó y la tristeza me corroe.

     Cada uno de los amigos de Mark que fue al cañón tuvo su momento bajo, pero hay que asimilar el mal trago para que el agua siga fluyendo por su cauce.

     Vista río abajo desde la roca de Mark, hermoso y salvaje. Por ahí se nos fue Mark Hentze, y por ahí seguirá corriendo el agua sin parar y con oleadas, como el ciclo de la vida misma. Animo a toda la familia y amigos de Mark, el agua no parará y la vida tampoco.

     Fuimos unos pocos al cañón de Mark, pero en nombre de muchos. Andy Atkins el inglés-canadiense, Kees Van Kuipers el holandes, Joana la colombiana, Emilio el francés, los 3 muchachos lugareños y yo. Gracias Ekipo!
     Saliendo del río no hay alegría pero se siente paz. "Qué buena caminata!" dice Joana. Cansados por dentro y por fuera, es lo que necesitábamos.

     Después de la tormenta viene la calma, y por el remolino del agua todo hay que dejarlo pasar, para limpiar y purificar.

     A la salida del río pregunté por Luis el buscador de oro, la primera persona que encontré después de la ola, el que me dio agua de panela y me mostró el camino a la carretera. Gracias Luis, gracias al cura Abel (que la foto no salió), gracias a los muchachos, gracias a los Nicos, gracias Joana, Kees, Andy, Joe, Niamh, Emilio. 

     Aquí sigue Eneko Yarza entre nosotros, y no pienso parar, no pienso desacelerar, se me ha dado un tiempo extra y debo aprovechar.  Qué harían ustedes si les pasa algo parecido? si llegan a ver el final de esta película pero se les regala un tiempo extra? se quedarían viendo pasar el tiempo sin hacer nada?   Reflexionen que a alguno le hará bien.

     Desde la terraza de Casa Kiwi, donde Mark se hospedaba en Medellín, le decimos adiós y el Ekipo se disuelve.
                               AGUR MARK!   ADIÓS MARK!    GOOD BYE MARK!

     Yo vuelvo a Euskal Herria (País Vasco) después de año y medio por latinoamérica. Un ciclo se acaba y otro comienza.          Y LA GRAN RUEDA SIGUE RODANDO.


                                                                 Link artículo anterior: Muerte y Vida en una Ola


Death and Life in a Wave (COL)


Mark Hentze prepared for a not return expedition, first descent of the Santo Domingo river.

On Tuesday March 6, 2012 Mark Hentze and I (Eneko Yarza) started the expedition at Pailania bridge in the town of San Francisco in eastern Antioquia (Colombia). The river was nice and quiet.

     Mark and I met 2 months before in Putumayo where we kayaked together the Mocoa river. This time we met in Medellin and organized what was going to be my fifth first descent in Colombia, an expedition he wanted to do for a long time: put in at Pailania bridge in San Francisco town and run the rivers Santo Domingo, Verde and Samaná norte until the highway bridge. 35 km long with 500m difference in height, dropping 300m of them inside a canyon from km 4 to km 8 of the trip. We estimated it would take us 2 or 3 days to complete, so we were going to eat and sleep on the river. 

     This is an area where a lot of antipersonnel mines are, and not long ago a big conflict zone with different guerrilla campsites.

     Friends from Medellin  Nicolas Mejía and Nicolas Yacaman came as a support team. They brought us in their vehicle, they filmed us some interviews, left us cameras to document good the entire expedition and they where going to be alert to any notice from the cell of Mark. Very cool these guys.

     This below is the last picture would be left on land, all of the following would be taken by the river, all except one body with his pajamas and a watch.

     At first water was quiet and then began to drop. I ran a pretty class 5 rapid and soon we stopped on the left bank to look at what was coming behind these large boulders. A few steps later the river was falling 8-10 meters and disappearing for a few meters under large blocks. With the kayaks full of things took us time to portage these rocks. 30m downstream of the waterfall we left the kayaks and Mark said, "I want to stop here, I don't know what is happening to me, I'm tired". We looked at what was coming next, strong and continious rapids and drops minimum 1km long, tomorrow would be a long portage day through the near vertical wall vegetation on the heights.

     While we cooked pasta two drops of rain fell so I searched a flat rock where to put the tarp as a roof. This rock was about 5 meters above the water level, we could sleep the two of us but was smaller than the rock Mark liked that was 6m in height and 10m downstream from mine.

     Mark said again: "What a beautiful place".

     Mark sent a message by phone to Nico Mejia at 21'40: "All right, many jumps. Nice."
There were lightning but no rain where we were, so Mark told me he was going to his big rock to sleep, 10m downstream on the same river left, and I invited him to come to my tarped rock if it'd rained. "Well, good night."

     Although I did not know, Nico sent a message to Mark at 21'55: "Ok, raining in Guatape".

     Sitting on my rock with the light of the almost full moon, I was looking upstream the giant grey and dry blocks. I made the last "good night" footage at 22'05 and fall to sleep with the sleeping bag's zipper open to hip.

     22'30, second 0, awakening: A sudden roar takes me out of the dreams. I open my eyes instantly, I lift my head and see a white wall in front where before was dry. I get up at once, while I get out of the sleeping bag I shout twice to Mark, horizontal rain, I bend down to get off the rock and a wave over my rock pulls me down.

     second 5 of awakening: The wave pulls me 2m to a rock with knee and hip and another 2m to the pool that was dry before. I am going around under the water, among stones and sand, and two thoughts go through my mind as I struggle up: "I have no lifejacket! This will be the end?"  Now head out of water and find myself five feet from the left shore-wall going upriver fast towards the stream of my rock-bed on the eddy that was forming, I don't want!, and between me and the wall my sleeping bag floating. With no thinking I put the arm over the sleeping bag and push to the wall and grab it. For that moment the water brought me up the 4m fall.

     second 10 of awakening: I grab the wall and start to climb up with legs in the water with the moonlight. I estimate that the water was rising one meter per second and climbed 10m with feet in water. I go above the water and reach a roof and no scape up, I see a vine or branch far left, "will not work!" micro doubt, the water rising and instantly "Life or Death!" tell myself and I jump to it. I don't fall and like a cat escaping from the water I kept climbing and I shelter in the vertical vegetation.

     second 30 of awakening: I'm alive! I am ALIVEEEE! Barefoot and wet in pajamas, legs shaking. I try to breath deep, 2 minutes, 15 meters higher than I was sleeping, more noise, what! the river takes another blow up and the big tree trunk is under water and the splashing of the waves wet me. Another shot of adrenaline and up in four feet in the vegetation of the wall. There is one meter almost flat, here I stay.

Moon the next night over the mountains of Antioquia.

     With the moon light I could see the white beast, all giant blocks under water, and explosions of water were higher than where I was. Mark! Mark! I shout, but I hardly hear me. The earth and trees trembling. I estimate the river flow increased from 15 to 300 m3/sec or cumecs in an instant.

     I couldn't tell this story if anything of these things were not like that: sleeping bag open, sleeping bag floating between me and the wall, fast reaction, skills in water and rock, this vine or branch, and the light of the moon almost full, and maybe something else.

     At 2 am it began to rain for 3 hours. I was very wet and cold, but those were tiny things, huddled hugged me, I just had to spend the night and in the morning seek for the road. Mark! Mark! I can not do anything.

     At 6 am with the first light I came down the wall to the camp. The water was low and only 2 meters higher than yesterday afternoon. I went to the rock of Mark, there is no trace of anything, Mark! Mark! Find my spray-skirt stuck and broken. I stick my head in the hole from the rock of Mark to the cave, there is no signal and leave the skirt stuck to the trunk, the reminder ...   Find a strap 10 m in height. 7 in the morning, no signs of Mark, I'm leaving.

     I walked barefoot almost 3 hours upriver from the shore. I find a gold digger and he says that the river is very high this morning, that this is in the rainy season. And it was 10 times smaller than last night! He gave me to drink sugar water and showed me the way, thanks. I reached the road in Pailania. I called the Nicos and began to move all the cards (U.S. Embassy, police, fire, etc..). Abel, the priest and president of Pailania, let me clothes, they gave me breakfast, and began to organize the search.

     Day and a half after the flash flood was found the drowned body of Mark Hentze from Oregon-USA, 20 km downstream of the campsite in the Rio Verde and Rio Caldera confluence, the beginning of the River Samana norte. Mark came to Colombia every year since 2005 and just had the residence visa. He was one of the most knowledgeable of the rivers of Colombia and the author of Colombia Whitewater , the only guidebook of rivers for kayaking or rafting in Colombia, which myself had too. Mark Hentze, quiet and calm, never had any conflict with anyone, it was a good person, and after leaving a good legacy he said bye in an almost chosen place, in his beloved Colombia, in a river that he chose, in a canyon that seemed to him fascinating and in a high flat rock he chose.

Go along a peaceful journey Mark, and thank you.

     That white train would take us both, but I got a wildcard and again got away. From the 7 lifes of the cat another I spent, and  I laugh crying because we are ants in a world of giants.

     Thanks to life that has given me so much...

                                                  Link of the next post: Good bye in Mark´s Canyon

TV news video link: "Mark Hentze dijo adiós en los ríos de Colombia".