Paul and I were absolutely convinced that there was no way the guys would ever come up river that far to get us. It was totally impassible there. Furthermore, as we had already learned, all previous attempts to do this trip with tourists had failed at this very point. The idea of waiting three or four days for people that weren't going to show up, only to have to turn around and hike all the way back to our starting point was quite depressing. We don't like to wait around for solutions. We like to forge ahead. Plus, we didn't have enough vacation days left to wait around. We had to get this thing done!
So after several hours of eating, visiting, etc., we finally broke out the map (actually it's a chart that we use for our flight navigation) with the guys and showed them our location, based off of our GPS readings. It took a while to convince them. Then we gradually introduced the idea that the next day (sixth day of the trip) we would like to continue downriver. That idea was met with much grumbling and consternation. They had never been beyond this point and were content to wait for days at our present camp. However, Paul and I again urged them to accompany us further downriver, enticing them with the idea that our chances would be much greater of being picked up, and then they could get on their way back to their village. Finally they agreed. In truth, we were ready to go with or without them at that point, as the idea of forging ahead was much more exciting than waiting with little hope, only to eventually turn back.So the sixth day we tore off downriver. Most of the day we just walked right in the water, b/c there was no trail and the jungle was very thick. It was all rocks--wet, slippery, slimy rocks of every possible size. Amazingly no one fell or twisted an ankle. Seriously, it was miraculous, b/c we were going at a very fast pace, criss-crossing and wading through endless rapids. We saw tons of big fish. They were everywhere! It was like the land flowing with milk and honey...except in this case it was water and fish! In the above picture, we were taking a short break on a rare, wide-open area where the river ran shallow and gentle. As you can see in the picture above, we're looking pretty wild, wet and worn-out by this point.
On the ninth day of our trip, we left the banks of Data Dian for the short boat ride to the airstrip. Dozens of folks were waving goodbye having loaded us down with gifts of wild honey and honeycomb, fruit, rice, traditional pastry things and more, and making us promise to one day bring our wives and kids back to visit. I would like nothing more. But in the meantime, I was simply looking forward to seeing them myself.