Yesterday was a sad day in the whitewater world. The Day 1 Section (Silverback) of the Nile was closed to river traffic through the main rapid of Silverback. The hydro project that claimed my favorite wave on the river (Ugly Sisters) already, has now claimed Silverback rapid and soon the river upstream will begin to flood out. Nile River Explorers and other organizations here put together a sort of “Irish Wake” type of celebration yesterday. It was the last day, last run of this section of the Nile, perhaps forever, or until the dam breaks or is taken down in future generations.
The Jackson family and Team Jackson Kayak was lucky enough to participate in this final run/flotilla. A huge group of local paddlers, rafters, and and conservation groups were on hand yesterday to say farewell to this section of river that has been opened up only since 1999. My first time here was in 2003, not long after. I filmed the original ‘EJ’s Playboating Basics and “Ej’s Advanced Playboating” instructional videos between here and the Zambezi rivers with Chris Emerick. Now, Nick Troutman and I are producing some new videos called “Expert Freestyle” and “Pro Freestyle” with Team Jackson here while we train/paddle here on this trip.
We shot the final run of Silverback and have it captured forever on video. More dam projects are planned for the lower sections of the Nile as well, and without intervention it will be the same fate for the rest of this incredible river.
A huge party raged all night last night at NRE in memory and to celebrate and show respect for the section of river known as “Silverback”. While the rapid is still there and flowing, the river is “closed” and the construction crews were at river bank ready to begin dumping rock in the river and create the final section of dam to turn rapids into lake.
Thanks for many wonderful memories for the Jackson family and team, as well as countless others over the years that have enjoyed the wild waters of the Nile, Day 1 section.