2014 GTR Mekong Boat trip. Part 2. Luang Prabang - Sayabouly Dam - Pak Lay

Discussion in 'Laos Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. The bikes are loaded on board the day before

    297362=18565-IMG_3296.

    Then the next day, its an early start again. Up at first light

    297362=18564-IMG_3298.

    & we're sailing as the sun comes up over the mountains.

    297362=18566-IMG_3304.

    more to come..
     
  2. Away we go...more river & rock scenes....watching life in a time warp go by.

    Slightly foggy & first

    297491=18584-IMG_3307.

    Then it clears up beautifully for awhile

    297491=18585-IMG_3309.

    The river littered with rocks & hazards

    297491=18586-IMG_3315.

    297491=18587-IMG_3319.

    297491=18588-IMG_3323.

    297491=18589-IMG_3325.

    The fog starts to set in

    297491=18590-IMG_3331.

    & we have to take a long break until it clears & is safe to move on down through the rocky channel

    297491=18591-IMG_3341.

    297491=18592-IMG_3348.

    297491=18593-IMG_3355.

    297491=18594-IMG_3360.

    River life

    297491=18595-IMG_3362.

    297491=18599-IMG_3377.

    297491=18596-IMG_3370.

    297491=18597-IMG_3373.

    Approaching the Sayabouly bridge over the Mekong

    297491=18598-IMG_3375.

    297491=18601-IMG_3381.

    It actually looks sort of weak from this angle

    297491=18602-IMG_3383.

    The Sayabouly old ferry landing

    297491=18600-IMG_3379.
     
  3. Some thoughts on the dam by another expert

     
  4. Was the river higher or lower than last year's trip in 2013?

    Everyone agreed the river was up. Significantly higher than last year.

    And here's confirmation

     
  5. I used to think that the river upstream from Luang Prabang was pretty wild, but downstream it strikes me as being wilder with more rocks & rapids in the river.
    In places it is also wider & seems less mountainous, with more crops being grown on the river banks, whereas this trip there seemed almost none upstream from Luang Prabang - & that was unusual too I thought.

    297500=18606-IMG_0245.

    297500=18605-IMG_0243.

    297500=18608-IMG_3397.

    Lucky villagers still able to fish for their living.

    297500=18609-IMG_3401.

    297500=18607-IMG_3394.

    297500=18610-IMG_0247.
     
  6. Approaching the damn site

    The river starts to narrow & get quite treacherous with lots of rocks

    297523=18635-IMG_3414.

    297523=18616-IMG_3421.

    297523=18636-IMG_3412.

    297523=18637-IMG_3415.

    Kilometres before the actual dam site there are roads, machinery & camps all along the river

    297523=18617-IMG_3417.

    297523=18634-IMG_0222.

    297523=18618-IMG_3419.

    297523=18619-IMG_3423.

    297523=18620-IMG_3425.

    297523=18613-IMG_3426.

    297523=18613-IMG_3426.

    Then finally into the dam site

    297523=18612-IMG_0199.

    297523=18611-IMG_0198.

    but wait there is a barge mid-stream with cables tied to each bank mooring it & blocking the channel.

    297523=18621-IMG_0203.
    you could hardly see the cables just above the water line, & it's almost an emergency panic turn around & a hove to on the bank.
    Lots of shouting across the waters & eventually the barge is released & moves to one side.
    Then we find our boat is aground on the muddy bed.
    Dave Carrell comes to the rescue yet again.

    297523=18622-IMG_0218.
    & we are free into the heart of the dam site.

    297523=18623-IMG_0231.

    297523=18625-IMG_0206.

    297523=18626-IMG_0229.

    297523=18627-IMG_0234.

    297523=18628-IMG_0236.
     
  7. So what's the score with the dam construction

    From a 2010 report

    Some other bits & pieces

    Info sourced from the Mekong River's Commission Prior Consultation Project Review Report 2010.

    The Sayabouly / Xayaboury is going to be a monumental change to the Mekong river in Laos & the life of peoples on living on / by the river.
    Let's hope for the best, because there aint no stopping the Mekong dams now.
     
  8. Lunch was served immediately after getting through the dam site

    297526=18638-IMG_0242.
    and what a scrumptious meal it was.

    We power on, pleasantly served Miss Kham

    297526=18649-IMG_0249.
    the skippers hot, but hard working daughter

    297526=18642-IMG_0263.

    297526=18641-IMG_0261.

    The river opens out & settles down to "Mill pond quality" most of the way into Pak Lay

    297526=18639-IMG_0253.

    297526=18640-IMG_0260.
    Chill out & give the trip an awesome thumbs up.

    297526=18643-IMG_0271.

    297526=18644-IMG_0288.

    297526=18646-IMG_0294.

    Pak Lay arrives.

    297526=18647-IMG_0299.

    The boat skipper is happy & so are we.

    297526=18648-IMG_0307.

    A big thanks to all the guys for coming & enjoying themselves admirably.

    297526=18645-IMG_0292.

    This trip sailing through the Sayablouly / Xayaboury dam site has been one of the highlights of my 30+ years in Thailand - Laos.

    I feel the need for another GTR Mekong Boat trip...
     

Share This Page