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Whitewater Visionary: Q+A With Trip Jennings
A first-of-its-kind expedition to Papua New Guinea delivers first descents,
underground rapids, and a couple cases of malaria. 
Text by Kyle Dickman   Photograph by Matt Fields Johnson

Photo: Trip Jennings in Papua New Guinea


Trip Jennings negotiates with Tuke villagers near the source of the Pandi River on New Britain, Papua New Guinea.


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More on Trip Jennings:

Best of Adventure 2008:
Trip Jennings was named one of our Adventurers of the Year for leading this Papua New Guinea expedition.  
More >>


Top Kayaking Videos:
See incredible kayaking footage courtesy of the amazing team at Epicocity Films.
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See More Instant Adventure Features >>

Was that most exciting moment of the expedition?
Actually, no. About a month in, we were waiting for the helicopter to arrive with the kayaks in Tuke, a remote Kol village in the Nakanai Mountains where we had based the expedition. The weather had been bad all morning. Three hours off schedule, the helicopter arrived—I was so stoked to see the kayaks swinging from a tow-line from beneath the helicopter. We were finally going kayaking on this kayaking expedition.

But that feeling only lasted until the helicopter turned around, and I realized why the villagers had brought their machetes to watch a helicopter land. They surrounded us and this one guy stepped forward and started demanding 3,000 kina ($1,000 U.S.) for us to kayak the Pandi. That was 2,000 more than we had. We spent the next tense hour in broken negotiation drawing on a mix of English, the national language Tok Pison, and plenty of hand gestures. After convincing them that we really didn't have more money, we gave them everything we had.  If we hadn't, the Pandi would still be un-run.

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