(Buri Gandaki, Modi, Myagdi, Rahughat Khola, Kali Gandaki, Marsyangdi Rivers (Nepal), Tista River (India))
August 16, 1991. I have arrived to Kathmandu in the afternoon. As Friday in Nepal is the pre-holiday, and the state institutions finish the work on Friday already by 15 o'clock, naturally, by the time of my arrival to Ministry of Tourism it was closed already.
In general I should arrive to Katmandu not alone. Three persons (two - from Zlatoust, one - from Tver) were going to travel with me yet, but the residents of Zlatoust had the problem with the reception of foreign passports, and the fellow from Tver had no time to change Soviet roubles into dollars. I wait for their arrival on August 30. And one more person, Victor Magritskiy (to a word, one of the sponsors of expedition), should arrive to Kathmandu on September 21 or 28.
August 17. I have visited several travel companies, conducting travellings in Tibet. It has appeared, that the rafting there is forbidden by government of Tibet, and trekking is rather expensive - 150-200 dollars per day for one person.
August 18. As well as in the previous expeditions in Nepal, having paid to Rastra Bank for the permits for the rafting, I have gone to Ministry of Tourism. Yet in May I left there on the table of the section-officer the application for the rafting in August-October and have made arrangements with the liaison-officer, which accompanied with me in April-May, about the co-operation in present expedition also (and for cheaper payment, than 300 dollars, which I had to pay him in the spring). Therefore it seemed, that I for a day can advance in business of registration of the documents. But that's not how it turned out! The section-officer has told me, that his boss (Secretary of Ministry) will be only in two days, on Tuesday, therefore I should come not earlier this term. It is a pity, again it begins the delay of time.
August 19. I have visited the Embassy of Pakistan in Nepal. Have learned, that for the citizens of our country the reception of the tourist visas to Pakistan is free-of-charge. Have not got to Embassy of China.
In the evening, visiting at the hotel "Star" my friends Zaza and Renata Buturishvili, I have learned from them the unpleasant news - the upheaval in the Soviet Union. At first I have not believed and have apprehended the told as a joke. But then, looking at the faces of the friends, I have understood: now they are not for humour. If the democratic newspapers are forbidden, my foreign expeditions can again be under a large question. It is a good thing yet, that I had time to depart from the USSR before the upheaval and shall have leaded at least the present expedition up to the end. But whether will arrive three my comrades on August 30 - whether will they be let out from the USSR?
I have got to know with two strong Polish climbers Alexander Lwow (he is the chief of the expedition on Everest) and Metek (Mechislav) Yarosh (the chief of the Polish expedition on Annapurna). They have expressed me the condolence concerning the events in the USSR.
August 20. Whole Nepal discusses only events in the USSR. At Ministry of Tourism it is taken under doubt the arrival of the Soviet expeditions to Nepal this autumn. In my "business" there is no any progress. The secretary of Ministry had again no time to study my applications.
I have got to know the Polish climber Dariush Petak and the Czech climber Boris Rzhegak. The good guys. They are from the team of Metek.
The information from Moscow is poor. At the USSR Embassy nobody, probably, know anything in earnest (at least, they say so). Nepalese TV and radio, basing on the information of American and English sources, discuss the probability of the murder of Gorbachev. It becomes anxiously.
August 21. My "business" at Ministry of Tourism does not ahead advance. Now the section-officer cannot "catch" the secretary of Ministry, now the secretary has no time to overlook my applications (though this matter is for 15 minutes). Besides it appears, that on August 22-23 in Nepal there will be any festival and, automatically, holidays, and on August 24 - Saturday (that is again a holiday). It cannot don't irritate. You see, I was going till August 30 (before the arrival of my friends yet) to have rafted singly the Buri Gandaki, running down Mt.Manaslu (but for the delivery on foot and the rafting it is necessary 8-10 days about). Now my plans fall to pieces.
I visited the Embassy of China. I learned about the opportunity of direct reception of permits for trekking in Tibet without the intermediary mission of tourist firms. No, by such way the Embassy does not give the permits - it is not profitable, as I understand (you see, the tourist firms obviously "share" the incomes with the Embassy), moreover the care for the tourists is supplied.
In the afternoon I have got to know (with helping of Metek Yarosh) the well-known Polish climber-woman Wanda Rutkevitch (the ascents of eight 8-km-peaks lie behind her). Nowadays in her plans there are the ascents of Cho Oyu and Annapurna. And in the evening I conversed with Kshishtof Vilicky, who subdued already seven 8-km-peaks, moreover four of them – including Everest, Kanchenjunga and Lhotse - in winter. In these days he conducts the expedition on Annapurna.
August 23. Under some messages, the new revolution in the USSR has been not crowned with success, and counter-revolution (headed by Eltsin) has won. It is the encouraging fact. And again whole Nepal discusses this news.
August 25. At last the holidays came to its close. But because of the lack of the secretary of Ministry, everything remains in the old way.
August 26. At last in my business "the ice has begin to drift" - the secretary of Ministry of Tourism has accepted the decision, that the person from NARA (Nepalese Association of professional rafters-guides), instead of one from Ministry of Tourism (as it was earlier), will be the liaison-officer in my expedition. The news is rather unpleasant, because there was already the arrangement with the liaison-officer of my previous expedition (the rafting down Everest), that he in the same quality will be in new my expedition already for 200 dollars, and how many will require the person from NARA - it is not known.
August 28. I have met the future liaison-officer from NARA. I have made arrangements with him about the same sum (200 dollars approximately). Thank goodness, at least in a financial question I have not lost. Now practically everything is going smoothly, but now already there is no sense to leave from Kathmandu earlier August 31, as on August 30 three our fellows should arrive, moreover with a new catamaran (for the last years my catamaran was very frayed).
August 30. All formalities are completed, in my hands there are the permits for rafting. However the new impact expected me - anybody from my company has not arrived. At "Star" there has appeared only the climber from Kazakhstan Sergey Ovcharenko (which I got to know in the spring yet) with the friends. They have in the plans for 1992 Mt.Makalu, while not passed yet by anybody from the USSR.
I have got to know with David Allardice - the participant of the rafting on the Indus in 1990 in body of British expedition. He has told me about the Indus and Braldu.
September 1. The start of expedition. I have gone away with the liaison-officer in the regular bus from Kathmandu to Gorkha. The first river planned for rafting - the Buri Gandaki (it run down Mt.Manaslu). In Gorkha I made arrangements with a porter about the cost of his service - 100 Rupees per day plus "my" food (that is I pay for the food and spending the night of the porter). The porter carries the pipes of frame of the catamaran and gondolas, I carry everything else (weighting about 35-40 kg). We have stopped for the night behind settlement Sonwara. During all evening it rained.
September 2. We have reached Aarughat. For the last 8-10 km it was necessary to go along a stream, constantly passing from one bank onto another, and on the stream, sometimes up to the waist in water. I have injured the knee of the left leg again. I had to go, overcoming pain. Before Aarughat I have seen the Buri Gandaki. Now, in the monsoon time, on it the flood. The Buri Gandaki represents itself the powerful river of brown colour. Now the on-foot delivery will be upwards along it. For all evening it was raining again.
September 3. In 3 km after Aarughat, in small settlement Simre, the porter suddenly has declared, that his leg is injured and he can't go further - the replacement of him is necessary. But as in Simra the porters were not, it was possible to persuade our porter to pass yet 3 km up to the large settlement Arket. He made it, limping very much, and has categorically refused to go farther Arket. And the local porters, estimating the vulnerability of my situation, have demanded from me 200 Rupees per a day, that for me was expensive too (after the payment of money to the liaison-officer and the payment for the permits it remained at me in all 130 dollars only - for the carrying out the 1.5-month's travelling through Nepal and India and the rafting on eight rivers!). The liaison-officer has offered to begin to raft from here (from Arket), but I considered, that it is necessary to start above. Suddenly my porter has offered the variant: he will carry the load during two days, but only for 150 Rupees per a day (you see, he is injured). It was nothing to do, I have agreed. But the most interesting was ahead. In a hour of walking the porter has forgotten about his trauma and has rushed along so quickly, that I could not overtake him. My companion turned out to be artful. We have spent the night in settlement Alma. It rained again. The trail has turned in a drain-trench. For whole day we went on water.
September 4. I have overlooked the river up to Doban. I have decided to begin the rafting from town-ship Tatopani ("Hot water") - here is the thermal source. It was very pleasant to have a hot shower. The rain does not stop. I was attacked by leeches - "dzyukas". In the evening the legs were bled a long time ("dzyukas" enter in the person body the substance, interfering to coagulation of blood).
September 5. In the morning I have reconnoitred the site up to Jagat. I began the rafting from Tatopani. I made the carrying over three impassable (in large water for catamaran) rapids – after Kholabensi, Khaeigaon and at the distance of two kilometres lower Labubesi. The river is powerful. The fact is, that the maximum quantity of the rain precipitation in Nepal drops out in August and at beginning of September, and the "peak" of the monsoon is at the end of August. So I have got on the Nepalese river at the largest water.
September 6. I have continued the rafting. The basic obstacles from Alma up to Arutar - the rollers of 2.5-3 m height and the powerful "holes" of depth of up to 2.5 m. Unfortunately, before Arket there has taken place an incident. The fact is, that originally (being in the USSR) I was going in this expedition to raft in the new catamaran, and only at the last moment (as with me on August 16 the fellow from Tver has not gone, which just should grasp with self the new catamaran) I have come back to the old catamaran, the frame of which and also strings and the rubber linings for pipes were in Kathmandu at my friend Ram. But I have forgotten, that in Kathmandu the rubber linings remained twice less, than it is necessary. And I found out it before the departure to Gorkha only. Therefore it was necessary to assemble the frame of the catamaran for the rafting on the Buri Gandaki at shortage of linings. As a result at the rafting on this river before Arket, getting in the system of the most severe 3-meter rollers and the powerful "holes", my catamaran began to fall apart into two parts. Finding myself in water, I have thrown away the paddle and have seized by hands the both halves of the catamaran (each half corresponded to each gondol), preventing their final separation. In such position I had for several kilometres to pass rapids of 5 and 6 severity grade. 2.5-meter rollers covered me over the head, I fell into two-meter "holes" and for a few seconds left under water. It continued so during several minutes. The water was very cold, and I have terribly frozen. Forces have begun to leave me.
Eventually I was lucky. On a quiet site it became to wash me ashore to the left bank, and I succeeded in mooring to it. It happened before Aarughat already. The catamaran represented itself a pitiful sight. A few pipes and spare paddle were lost.
September 7. The day has passed for the binding of the new frame in Aarughat and the preparation of the catamaran for rafting, and also for small rest - I didn't want to leave for the rafting on the unknown river in the evening almost (as at 18.30 it's growing dark). Unfortunately, the pipes for the paddle did not remain, and the liaison-officer succeeded in getting of a straight stick of 1.5-meter length only, therefore the new paddle has turned out very short. Besides in the morning the all my kapron ropes have been stole. Because of this it was necessary to use for the binding of the catamaran frame the paper strings partly (the others were not in Aarughat), which (and it was obvious) in one hour of rafting will begin to snap. I have firmly decided after the rafting on the Buri Gandaki to come back to Kathmandu for pipes, ropes, rubber linings and strings. But now it was nothing to do. Now I should raft with the rucksack (the money for a porter was not already). During the preparation of the catamaran for the rafting the huge crowd - a hundred persons about - has surrounded me. It was obvious, that for this locality the rafting on the river is the bizarre matter.
September 8. I have rafted from Aarughat to the mouth of the Buri Gandaki, where it falls into the Trisuli River. The rafting has turned out very unpleasant: the paddle was too short and very uneffective, the paper ropes become to snap already in 10-15 minutes, and I was afraid, that the catamaran will fall apart again. But, fortunately, the severity of obstacles did not exceed the fourth grade, and I managed to reach the mouth of the river.
September 9. I have met in Benighat (it is beside the mouth of the Buri Gandaki, on the road Kathmandu-Delhi) the liaison-officer and have left him here with all things for 2 days. We made arrangements, that on September 11 in the afternoon he will be ready with the rucksack and pipes to get to me on the bus Kathmandu-Pokhara, in which I shall go and which I shall specially stop in Benighat. And I got on the bus to Kathmandu, where I have reached late in the evening.
September 10. This is the day of the purchases (strings, rubber linings, partially kapron ropes) and the getting (the same ropes). I have got to know the several Soviet climbers. As the very little money is left at me, I have decided to ask the kapron rope of 30-40 meter length at the compatriots. The team of Balyberdin (going to Everest) just now (I have been a hour literally late) has taken to the airport the whole equipment, and its ropes at hotel did not remain. Misha Mozhaev (going to Cho Oyu and, probably, Annapurna) gave me the several-meter cord.
The team of Vasiliy Senatorov (going to Annapurna) presented the 30 m rope. In general, the climbers have helped. I have purchased something from the local dealers, and the spare duralumin pipes were kept at my friend home.
September 11. In the morning I have gone away to Pokhara. In Benighat the bus has been replenished by my rucksack, pipes and the liaison-officer. Because of the several breakages of the bus we have arrived to Pokhara in the late evening.
September 12. In the morning in a taxi (buses did not go because of the next religious holiday) we have reached up to Phedi. Here I have employed the next porter (at the price of 85 Rupees per day plus "my" meal), and in the passing lorry we have reached Lumle. We have passed three kilometres from here up to Chandrakot and have got on the Modi River (running down Annapurna) – the second river planned for rafting. We have reached settlement Fonda. Again I have strongly been bitten by "dzyukas". And again time from time the monsoon watered.
September 13. I have rafted on the Modi from Fonda almost up to the mouth - to Kusma. The river, to my pleasure, is less full-flowing, than the Buri Gandaki, but steep-falling enough. Near Chamurkong there were the extremely dangerous rapids. Before Kusma, pleading pain in stomach, the porter has refused to go further. It was necessary to replace him by other. Now there is ahead the going on foot to the third river of my travelling - the Myagdi (running down Mt.Dhaulagiri).
September 14. We have reached settlement Singa on the Myagdi. From Kusma we went at first along the Kali Gandaki upstream (here also it will be - in near future - necessary for me to raft). On this site the Kali Gandaki is the rather simple river, the most severe obstacles are of 4 sg. The "trained rearrangement" has taken place again. The porter, carrying the pipes and gondolas from Kusma, has suddenly declared, that it is heavy to him to carry a load, and has found to self substitute - the young and strong fellow. The truth is, beginner has agreed to accompany me only for 100 Rupees per a day plus "my" meal. But he became to go much faster than the previous porter.
In Singa I have got to know Ken Pumford - the American, already for two years teaching in Nepal in settlement Beni (through which we today passed). He is in love with Nepal and Nepaleses.
September 15. We have reached Sibong. It is two kilometres before Mattim - the place of the beginning of my rafting on the Myagdi. The trail to Phedi (it was already the second Phedi on my way) went along the Myagdi and then has climbed upwards.
September 16. I have rafted on the Myagdi from Mattim to Babichor. It has fluttered me hardly. Some times I was on the brink of turning over. My rafting evokes the genuine interest at Nepaleses. Here obviously anybody did not raft earlier. The Myagdi is the rather powerful river, is closer in a power to the Buri Gandaki, than to the Modi. However in the middle of September the monsoon period comes to an end, it rains already much less often, than half-month back, and the level of water in the river begins slowly to fall down.
September 17. I have rafted on the Myagdi up to the mouth (settlement Beni). Having disassembled the catamaran, we have reached settlement Rahughat and the mouth of the Rahughat Khola River, the fourth (under the plan of the rafting) river, running down also Dhaulagiri.
September 18. We made the delivery on foot up to settlement Damdam. Then I have rafted on the Rahughat Khola River up to its mouth. It is narrow and shallow small river, similar to the Modi in its average current. It flows in basic in the canyon-shape gorge. There was the large problem of launching of the catamaran from the trail to the river. There is a lot of stones and boulders in a channel (that is not characteristic, for example, for the Buri Gandaki and Myagdi). We have begun the delivery on foot along the Kali Gandaki upstream and have reached Ranipauwa.
September 19. We have finished the delivery along the Kali Gandaki up to the mouth of the Miristi River, steep-falling down Annapurna. It is 2-3 km higher Tatopani, the second on the route. Here, on the popular tourist trail to Jomosom, the hot spring is "cultural" - the pool is constructed, the kiosk with "Coca Cola", "Pepsi Cola" and other is established. In the pool three pairs of the foreign tourists had a rest. But, unfortunately, I had not time to join up with them. I began the rafting from the mouth of the Miristi and have rafted to Beni. The rapids higher than of 5 sg were not.
September 20. I have paid off with the porter and further have gone alone. From Beni I have become to raft on the Kali Gandaki with the rucksack. The last, naturally, reduces the manoeuvrability and stability of the catamaran. I went without the reconnoitre. It was promoted this the fact, that the river has become more simple (not more severe than of 4 sg) and more wide. Therefore I could beforehand leave from the dangerous pressers. I went without rest during all day and have finished the rafting behind settlement Ridi at 18 o'clock, when already it has become to darken. I have got tired terribly. However tomorrow the not less difficult day of the rafting without rest will be. It is necessary to try to reach the Trisuli River.
September 21. I have got up at four a.m., in a hour already was on the water. I went during all day with the minimum short stops. On the Kali Gandaki (on the site from Ridi to its falling into the Trisuli) there are only two more-less severe rapids - a few kilometres before Ramdighat (where is the automobile bridge) the rapid of 4 sg and near Devghat (on the last kilometres of the Kali Gandaki) - of 3 (3-4) sg. The other obstacles are quite simple. I have finished on the Trisuli River (before Narayanghat) late in the evening.
September 22. Early in the morning in the passing bus through Mugling I has reached Dumre, and then in a lorry - up to Besisahar. From here it has gone the on-foot delivery to the upper waters of the Marsyangdi, running down Annapurna. This delivery goes along the river. I have employed the porter on 90 Rupees per day plus "my" meal. I already have passed the Marsyangdi partially in the previous expedition. Now I want to get higher. Today we have reached almost up to Dharapani.
September 23. We have reached the bridge near Braga (before Manang). From here I began the rafting and have reached Ghyaru.
September 24. We have carried over the gorge near Pisang and before Bagarchhap. I have rafted from Bhratang to Kodo and from the mouth of the Dudh Khola to Nachaygaon. We have carried over the gorge before Tal up to Chamje.
September 25. I have continued the rafting from Chamje. In Khudi I have paid off with the porter and have continued the rafting with the rucksack already. Before Phalenksangu there are the enough interest rapids (of 5 sg). I have spent the night just after the left tributary Chhangdi Khola (two kilometres before Bhote Odar). Tomorrow again the race will be - it is necessary to finish the rafting on the Marsyangdi.
September 26. I have got up at 5 o'clock, in a hour already was on the water. During all day went, almost not mooring to the bank. Only in region Markichok it was required to go in a lorry on the road round the dam on the Marsyangdi. I have finished in Mugling at 18 o'clock. I had to disassemble the catamaran already at night. Almost at twelve p.m. the liaison-officer and I have got on the bus to Kathmandu.
September 27. We have arrived to the capital in the morning. And only then, when I have got "home" (that is to my friend Ram, at which always stayed in Kathmandu), I have allowed self at last to relax. It - after the month of the continuous running, wild tension, continuous work from 5 a.m. till 20 o'clock daily. I was full of wild joy. You see, I have passed all rivers, which wanted to pass in Nepal. In the first expedition it were the Barun, Arun, Bhote Kosi, Sun Kosi and Trisuli, in the second – the Lobuche Khola, Imja Khola, Dudh Kosi, Tamur and Marsyangdi, in the third - the Buri Gandaki, Modi, Myagdi, Rahughat Khola, Kali Gandaki and Marsyangdi. I "have closed" for self Nepal!
I have visited the hotel "Star". No, Magritskiy on September 21 has not arrived to Nepal. It means, that the planned by me at the end of September rafting on the Tamur together with Magritskiy will not be held (I was rafted singly on this river already). I have called at Ministry of Tourism and have informed, that the rafting on a number of the rivers has been successfully finished, and I refuse the Tamur. After it I have decided to hear from the Soviet climbers (if I shall find out them in Kathmandu), how is the matter with the Soviet and Polish expeditions on Annapurna, Cho Oyu and Everest. I have got to know the famous Soviet climber Vladimir Shataev, coming back just now from the South Wall of Annapurna. He has told me, that there are not present already any Polish expeditions, but there is the team of Vasiliy Senatorov only. It is strange! Where have the teams of Metek Yarosh and Kshishtof Wilicky got? Shataev has told, that he has the maps of Karakoram and can give me them in Moscow. As he tomorrow will depart to Moscow, I have transferred him the letter for my father. A little later I have got to know another famous Soviet climber Nikolay Cherniy (to a word, I am amazed with modesty of such world-known climbers, as Shataev and Cherniy). The last one has told, how he transported Wanda Rutkevich after her trauma on Mt.Elbrus. Now Nikolay is going on Annapurna. If there will not be a success from the southern direction, he will climb from the north.
For all day I went in raised mood. Though it was excited, whether will arrive Magritskiy tomorrow (and it already will be his last possibility to arrive). And it is time to begin the preparation for the finishing stage of the present expedition - the Tista River (running down Kanchenjunga) in Sikkim and Western Bengalia (India).
September 28. Alas, Magritskiy has not arrived. But today is Saturday, and the Embassy of India is closed.
September 29. Sunday. The Embassy is closed. At me already everything is ready for departure to India, except the presence of the entrance visa.
September 30. In the morning I have handed over to the Embassy of India the passport and the form. I have asked so that by 15 o'clock the visa will have been put (you see, the buses to Kakarbhitta, on east frontier of Nepal and India, leave at not late 16 o'clock, but my Nepalese visa tomorrow comes to the end). At 15.15 I have received the passport with the Indian visa, have taken a taxi, have come "home" for the rucksack and pipes and have gone to the bus-station. I was in time to catch the bus to Kakarbhitta.
October 1. I have arrived to Kakarbhitta in the afternoon, have quickly passed all frontier and custom formalities and have appeared in India. In a jeep together with heaps of bags with lemons I have reached Siliguri in Western Bengalia. Have hardly found the more-less cheap hotel - in towns of India the prices for hotel (in regard to Nepalese) rather high.
October 2. As I had not the permit for visiting Sikkim (and the more so, for the rafting in it), I have decided for the beginning to have rafted on the lower part of the Tista River, running in Western Bengalia (here the permits are not necessary). On the map the first settlement on the Tista in Western Bengalia was Kalimpong. Therefore early in the morning I have got with all things on the bus, going up to it. However a few kilometres before Kalimpong on the bridge over the Tista (Tista Bridge) the not very pleasant surprise waited me - the police check-post. It has appeared, that around of Kalimpong there is the national park, and all foreigners, visiting these places, are registered. It has become to be, in Western Bengalia I can begin the rafting only below Tista Bridge. But I still visited Kalimpong. The road from the bridge creeps upwards and only upwards. The places are beautiful astonishingly. The unprecedented by me earlier trees and plants were met. The mood improved appreciably. Then in the bus I have come back and after Tista Bridge began the rafting on the river. It here is simple (of 2-3 sg). I have spent the night on the right bank.
October 3. I have continued the rafting on the Tista and have finished it after Coronation Bridge and settlement Sivok, when the river has left on plain. There remained a few kilometres down to the frontier of India and Bangladesh.
October 4. I have come back to Siliguri and have gone to Sikkim Agency. I succeeded in receiving the permit for visiting this state. But for receiving the permission for the rafting there, it is necessary to appeal to Department of Tourism of Sikkim in Gangtok.
October 5. Early in the morning I has gone away in a bus to Gangtok. On the border of Western Bengalia and Sikkim in settlement Rangpo there is the double check of the passport and the Sikkim permit. I have reached Gangtok in the afternoon. It is the very beautiful town - many-tiered. In basic in Sikkim Nepaleses live. The level of their life obviously is higher, than in the mountain regions of Nepal. Here the people dress in the European way completely. I went to Department of Tourism of Sikkim. Therefrom I was sent to firm "Advay Tours and Travells" to Mr.Chetri. Just this firm carries out the rafting of the tourists on the Tista in Sikkim (the cost of the two-day rafting is 100 dollars per person).
Mister Chetri has treated me with understanding and promised to prepare to me the free-of-charge (or for a small cost) permit for the rafting on the Tista from Makha to Rangpo. He has told me to come tomorrow. Therefore I have decided to make a trip to Phodong. On the one hand, there is the known Buddhist temple. On the other hand, the hotel and meal are much cheaper, than in Gangtok.
October 6. Having examined early in the morning the temple, I have come back to Gangtok. Mister Chetri has informed, that the permit for me is ready. But he had for me one condition: on October 8 I shall take participation in the ceremony of opening of the tourist-rafting season in Bardang on the Tista River. In this festival the Main Minister of Sikkim State (that is the chief of the state) will participate. I have agreed. We made arrangements, that I shall arrive to Bardang on October 7-th in the evening. Having received the permit for the rafting on the Tista from Makha to Rangpo, I already late in the evening have reached Singtam, located on the bank of the Tista.
October 7. Early in the morning I have gone away to Makha (it was 15 km to this settlement). The road went along the Tista. The rapids on the river did not exceed 4 severity grade, therefore I could raft on the Tista without a stop. I began the rafting from Makha and have overcome 30 km up to Rangpo by 15 o'clock. Unfortunately, I have passed by (leapt over) the boundary (between Western Bengalia and Sikkim States) small river (the left tributary of the Tista) and have found myself in Western Bengalia State. I had to leave on the bank the catamaran and almost all things and to come back to Sikkim, having overcome the small-river-tributary (partially by swimming, partially by fording).
At 17 o'clock I have appeared in Bardang. And as I have appeared there without my catamaran, I was offered to become the member of crew of the large raft, brought by two Nepalese guides-professionals from Nepal. We should tomorrow have rafted on the Tista before the Main Minister of State. And now I have been offered together with the other members of the crew of the raft (two guides from Nepal and the guides-professionals from Sikkim) to carry out the training rafting from Bardang to Rangpo. I have agreed with pleasure. At once we have sailed away, and a comedy began. Seven perfectly not "co-ordinated" persons did their business just anyhow, therefore we caught all "holes" on the Tista. And in the "holes" there began the mass "plague" – the tumbling out of the raft of the members of crew or, at the best, the loss of paddles. After two-three rapids of 4 sg there were overboard five persons - the all, excepting me and the captain of the raft (Nepalese). However the last one has managed to lose one of two oars. From six lost paddles five have been caught subsequently. All having dropped out overboard members of crew have climbed then back, and we have safely finished in Rangpo. And as I have become the member of crew of the raft, being the basic sight of tomorrow holiday, I have been fed free-of-charge (moreover very tasty - for the first time in the last month I have sampled meat dish) and have been given a sleeping bag and a place in tent.
October 8. In the morning I have been fed (again free-of-charge). Then I have drawn the posters with the image of means of rafting, used by tourists-rafters in the USSR. And at 10 o'clock the ceremonies of the holiday began. Before us the Main Minister of State has spoken. I have been seated among the honourable visitors in the first row. With an answer-back speech the kayaker-girl from New Zealand has spoken (four girls from this country participated in the holiday). And then we in the raft and four girls in kayaks in solemn march have passed by the chief of the state and have followed further to Rangpo. As against the yesterday's training rafting, anybody today was not tumbled out overboard and did not lose paddles. In Rangpo, at Branch of Department of Tourism of Sikkim, we have been fed substantially and tasty (and again - free-of-charge).
Then I have left the hospitable Sikkim State. From stay in it there remained the wonderful impression. Having taken away the left on the bank of the Tista things, I have departed to Siliguri, where have spent the night at the bus station.
October 9. I have tried to leave in the afternoon train to Delhi. However I was able only to reserve and redeem the ticket (of the second class) for tomorrow's morning. Fortunately, the money was enough for the ticket (though flush).
I have spent the night at the railway station.
October 10. I have set off by train to Delhi with the delay of 8 hours.
October 11. Covering a half of the country, I have arrived to capital of India at 21 o'clock. As tomorrow in the morning my aircraft to Moscow will take off, I have at once gone to stay the night to the international airport Delhi.
October 12. By aircraft of Aeroflot I has arrived from Delhi to Moscow. That's all! The travelling was finished. The third Himalayan water expedition is completed.
Thus, I already have rafted down from nine 8-km-peaks - Everest, Kanchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu, Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna and Shisha Pangma. Next - four Karakoram 8-km-peaks (headed by Mt.Chogori) and Himalayan Nanga Parbat. But it in Pakistan and China already. Now I begin to prepare for expedition in Pakistan. I plan to have rafted on the Bunar, Braldu and Indus Rivers.