Traveling outside the country provides an opportunity to combine a passion for paddling and a desire to experience different cultures than we have at home– with great people. Our trips have been a win-win combination for the past 23 years — just ask the group that joined us this past week here in Ecuador.
New Jersey, Texas, Georgia, Virgin Islands – five boaters from different parts of the country, whom combined have joined us a total of 71 times in Costa Rica and Ecuador. They have of course run into each other on previous trips, but this week provided the perfect combination of Class IV boaters and Class IV water to make for a magic trip.
Mike was our "newbie" per se this trip as this is only his second trip with us-the first being in Costa Rica back in 2001. He has come a long ways since that Class III trip!
Ecuador made for Tim's third international trip with us, the first two being in Costa Rica. This Georgia boy just added six new runs to his boating resume. And in between paddling, found some new partners-in-crime to meet up with and paddle in other parts of the States this sumer.
Who'd ever guess that a long-time resident of the Virgin Islands would be such a hot shot boater. More impressive than his tally of 8 CR trips and 9 EC trips with us is his paddling resume around the US and internationally as well.
You would think after so many paddling trips to rain forest environments that Daryl would have learned to dress appropriately. We have just accepted that this island boy is always prepared to be diverted to Alaska on his way down to paddle with us!
It did not take 14 trips to Costa Rica and (at least) 8 to Ecuador for us to come to respect this Texan's boating. Tom has been boating Class IV whitewater for some 40+ years. It would be hard to imagine what our trips would be like if we had not run into Tom many many years ago in Costa Rica and won him over to our team!
Hig water, low water, rain, sun, big holes surfed, rapids run and walked, Kevin has experienced more of Costa Rica and Ecuador with us than any other paddler. In 1996 he joined us for his first trip. Little did he know that 16 Costa Rica trips later he would still be paddling with us! Over the years he has brought his son along as well. Kevin was also in on our first year in Ecuador--when he did not believe us that there would not be a phone to use for much of the time in the Oriente! Twelve trips later Kevin has pretty much learned the ropes in Ecuador.
Our thanks not just to this very good group of friends, but to all who join us paddling in Costa Rica and Ecuador. It is a commitment not just to Endless River Adventures, but to the partners we have teamed up with in both countries. Without your support, many of our partners in these two countries would not have had some of the opportunities they have—economically and socially.
The biggest compliment we share about Angel is that he is our "Miguel" here in Ecuador. Fifteen years together and Angel is the guide-of-guides getting us to and from the rivers--and a whole bunch of in between stuff also!
It would be hard to wrap up Ecuador without a shout out to Craig--who has been guiding the rivers with us here in Ecuador for almost every season since 1998. Craig's combination of phenomenal boating skills, sense of humor and sheer enjoyment for being on the river are what make him such fun to paddle with.
Here’s to the boaters that think outside their backyard and travel abroad. Exploring new cultures-even those that have become familiar after many years, from the inside of a kayak is a memorable experience; and as you can tell from this crew of merry pranksters–it is an experience that is worth repeating over and over again!