Special Excerpt/NRS Duct Tape Diaries: 10 Ways to Die on the Blue Nile River


- Advertisment -

“Welcome to Africa my river people. You must begin to exercise your flexibility in all ways: mentally, physically and spiritually. When we push off the beach, you will climb many rungs down from the top of the food chain.”  The trip leader spoke with a huge smile on his thin, very tanned face, but with absolute seriousness in his eyes. Continuing the welcome speech, you could hear our TL’s fading Scottish accent behind the many years spent boating all over the world where his language was now that of the river. We looked at each other knowing this speech was coming from someone who has seen shit hit the fan. I grabbed my phone to start an audio recording for posterity’s sake.

Later that evening in the only hotel in town, we took advantage of the sketchy internet to write some emails home attempting to explain our new knowledge of the next 34 days, to the ones we love but ultimately just telling them we love them. Nervously we repacked our drybags while talking over the TL’s welcome speech, stopping every now and then to wonder in awe how tomorrow we were pushing off in an attempt to be the first successful, full descent of the Blue Nile from its source at Lake Tana to the Sahara desert on the South Sudanese border. And the TL had just told our group more ways we could die than I could count on both hands.

We had already driven through the raging political turmoil taking place in Ethiopia at the time. The government, in giving permission to large Chinese contractors to factory farm the rural lands, was displacing and disrupting local life to the breaking point. The riots and uprisings across the countryside had been kept hush-hush from the global media.

We learned in the welcome speech that two weeks prior to our arrival in Addis Ababa, a western journalist had been killed while documenting the military suppression of the riots. The country was still under curfew. We had waited four days for our bus driver to finally feel safe enough to agree to drive us 12 hours across the rural lands to Bahir Dar. When we did make the drive, the smoldering wreckage of burnt-out vehicles, flipped-over busses, and Molotov-cocktailed buildings all flashed through the windows. We crossed our fingers and hoped we wouldn’t be next…

Read full story HERE:

Editor’s Note: Guest contributor Scott Lacy is a Colorado native, raised on western rivers each summer and Nordic skiing every winter.  A graduate of Dartmouth College, today, he’s a professional biathlete based in Bozeman, Montana. In between a full-time ski training schedule, he has a paddling passion for promoting backyard adventures, preferably car/gas-free, and raising awareness on the importance of clean watersheds and increasing water usage issues.  Follow Scott on Instagram: @scottysbiscotti.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest news

Kind Design River Topo Sun Hoodie Review

Our friends at Kind Design asked us to test out their latest River Topo Sun Hoodie product.  Knowing how...

Sweet Protection Wanderer II and Rocker Top Renowned Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings

The Virginia Tech Biomechanics Helmet Lab impact tests helmets to evaluate their ability to reduce linear acceleration and rotational velocity of the head resulting from a range of impacts a whitewater kayaker might experience.

Guess the Winning Time in the 2022 Green Race Contest and Win a Werner Paddle! 

Win a Werner Paddle!  Guess the winning time, or closest to it, for the chance to win a Werner Ultimate...

A Glint at Sprint: Olympians Add to Their Medal Tally

Apparently, Olympic gold medals weren’t enough. Olympic champions Lisa Carrington, Balint Kopasz and Shixiao Xu and Mengya Sun showed the same winning form that took them...
- Advertisement -

Athlete Story: Should I Run It?

By Melissa DeMarie There we were, standing on the boulder next to “the big one,” that rapid which had everyone...

From Coal to Surfing: Craig, CO, Gets $3.3 Million EDA Grant for River Park Project

With the Yampa River running through town, Craig, Colo., is going about making its transition from coal to river...

Must read

Kind Design River Topo Sun Hoodie Review

Our friends at Kind Design asked us to test...

Blast from the Past: Watch Pamela Anderson Paddle the S. Fork American on Baywatch!

Yes, our archivists have dug up that long-lost Season...
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you