A Series of Unfortunate Events on the Irawaddy River
Kayaker Ben Stookesbury has spent the last two decades travelling the world making epic first descents of hidden rivers. He has over 70 first descents in 15 different countries and has earned his place as one of Men's Journal's 50 Most Adventurous Men. So when he planned to follow Myanmar's Irawaddy River from its headwaters to the sea with fellow paddler Chris Korbulic, it seemed like he was just the person to pull it off. Instead what followed was a series of missteps. From the domestic airline refusing to put their boats on their planes to faceless government bureaucrats demanding reams of forms and a ten-day portage, they spent their first three weeks just trying to get to the river. When they finally made it to the river, they only were able to paddle it for a few days before halting their trip due to fears of being shot. Then their kayaks disappeared. Undaunted, they bought a leaky 16-foot canoe and continued on for 75 miles, only to have their boat rammed by the military that then arrested them for having improper paper work and detained them for a week, before escorting them out of the country.
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