Manavgat is one of the bigger rivers in this region and is supposed to be also good in May/June. We were not sure if the section we were about to put on is the one we thought it is, but it looked reasonable. 5km of class IV-V should be good to go before it gets dark. To save some time, we spit group in two smaller ones and hit the river. This section was kind of big boulder garden with quite a lot undercut rocks and sieves. We rallied as fast as possible because we put on like 2 hours before dark. It was quite nice but pretty committing and time was running fast, so our second group ended up paddling last kilometer almost in dark, luckily our friend Růža has found out he has light on his Chinese headcam.
Next morning we have decided to paddle from main road bridge down. I’m not sure what is this section called but it was like 15 km of class IV – VI. This section was at least for me highlight of the whole trip. It started as quite step low volume creek but after like 5km we ran into 100meters long section where character has changed significantly. There were about 3 streams that were running out straight from rocky wall. It was one of the most beautiful part of river that I have ever seen. But those streams added I would say another 40 cubics so whole river become quite a bit volume one with about 70cubics total. This section was just keep giving, there were numerous big rapids, some clearly runnable some we called it portage, depending how much you would like to run big water class VI.
For next day we have decided to paddle section that sits between the ones we have already paddled, the info said that there is a big sieve that is good to check out from road because portage can be a problem and it’s possible to run it at only certain flow. We tried to check it out from road, but we haven’t found anything significant. So we gave a try. This section was quite low volume boulder garden with tons of sieves and undercuts. After some time we got to the canyon and found ourselves in dead end. Here it was, river wide sieve and only possible to portage was to climb a bit up and do rope letter for boats. It all worked out fine and we hit take out soon, however this section was not worthy and I can’t believe that that big sieve is runnable at any flow.
Our last river before flight home was rafting section on Kopru Cayi. It was just easy class II –III with some bigger waves to surf. We quite enjoyed it but sort of missed take out and ended up in canyon which was supposed to lead to river wide sieve, therefore we call it done and climbed out and head to Antalya to catch flight next morning.
To sum it up, Antalya region offers pretty stable water levels for spring. Temperature is mostly around 20°C and sunny. Only problems are dams which are destroying rivers fast. But for me, Turkey is more reasonable destination than Corse and trip there was about same price as to pay to go to Corse. So for next year, I will most likely be back, but I suggest to stay around Antalya (Manavgat, Alara) and to give it a try around Dalaman region as well.
text by Matej Holub
photo`s by David "Vory" Sodomka