18 November 2013

  • Technical data of the trip was as follows: Total Distance: 31,92 Km; Overall time: 7 Hr 22 Min; Moving time: 4 Hr 51 Min; Stopped time: 2 Hr 31 Min; Overall Speed: 4,3 Km/Hr;  Average Moving Speed: 6,6 Km/Hr; data is corrupted due that we moved the kayaks by half truck from Wat Khlong Bun to Wat Ulom.
  • Number of participants: 2 (Sean & Pat)
The sun rose above the Tawan Resort and the early sky mirrored on the water of the local pond, a tranquil setting in stark contrast to the loud Loy Kratong celebrations that had taken place the night before; we sat silently and ate a few snacks while contemplating the day ahead. The evening before we had found little to eat in the area with the exception of a bowl of rice topped with an egg, our bodies urgently needed some food. Khun Karong arrived on time with his pick-up; we had had our doubts as the day before he was already in high wind, and we were sure that our up-front payment for transport had been put to good use during the celebrations the night before! But he had said we could count on him and he did not disappoint. We loaded our kayaks and drove off to Wat Chao Pluk. The pick-up made a stop at the 7/11 a bit further so that we could buy a bit more breakfast, then Karong wanted us to by-pass his house as he - what we understood - forgot his mobile. The mobile was not the reason; he wanted to take some pictures of us with whole his family, which we granted with pleasure. We said good-bye and a few minutes later we were back on the main road and soon arrived at the premises of Wat Chao Pluk.

We unloaded the kayaks near the bridge and said farewell to Karong. At 08:20 we were in the water ... and 15 minutes later again out of it. A huge pack of water hyacinth blocked our way near Wat Khlong Bun on exactly the same spot as in previous years, another ‘Red Zone’. We called up Khun Karong and dragged our kayaks from the river bank up to the premises of the temple. Khun Karong arrived at the same time, but with another vehicle (probably as old as the former). We asked Karong to drive us to Wat Nam Tao, there, as the river level was so low, we had to launch our kayaks behind the ordination hall on a steep muddy bank. This was not practical, so we decided to do as we did the year before and launch near Wat U Lom. We re-launched at the confluence of the Lopburi River with Khlong Bang Phra Kru and Khlong Nong Mo, it was 09:30.

We passed Wat Wang and 15 minutes later we arrived at the confluence with the Bang Kaeo Canal. There was only one more obstacle and the rest of the trip was in fact pure administration as it was part of our normal training track during the year. We took a short break near Wat Thang Klang and continued our trip to arrive at the Bang Nang Ra water regulator shortly after 11:30; the going was tough as with the low level there was little flow and after the cool weather of the last few days, the sun was back with a vengeance. At the regulator we were lucky; one of the five water gates was open and we did not have to take on another obstacle!  We easily floated through the gate and with time approaching mid-day, our minds were suddenly focused on food, the floating restaurant near Wat Sala Daeng was calling! The skies cleared blue and with strong strokes we arrived at the restaurant a bit more than a half hour later, we parked our kayaks and made a collective attack on the menu, ordering plate loads of food, ice cream and coffee to feed our energy starved bodies. Afterwards we sat and rested as we waited for the tide to turn at 13:30, by then we were recharged ready for battle again.

The last two hours of paddling lay before us, we floated past a number of temples, reached the Guardian of the northern direction (the yak Thao Vessuwan, leader of all the yakṣ) on the northern tip of Duan Island; passed the nine-headed dragon on its southern tip; dived under the Asian Highway; continued towards the elephant kraal and the mouth of the Lopburi River. Here we made a sharp turn left to land at Wat Tong Pu at 15:40, the end of our fourth Lopburi trip in commemoration of our late friend Harald. Sean still had his batteries charged and at 16:00 took the water again for a 4 Km trip to his home along the Pa Sak and Chao Phraya Rivers. Unfortunately the pick-up party with the traditional bottle of sparkling wine arrived too late due to some small incident, but Patrick kept the bottle safe for the following year.


Detailed tracks on "Route You" for this event: 

Chao Pluk - Ayutthaya

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