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Canoeing on the reservoir of Nisramont (Barrage de Nisramont)

Did I feel like taking a photo trip with @kristof.massoels and @carlospimentel to test the ONAK, an origami canoe? I didn’t have to think about this question long. After a ‘WhatsApp-brainstorm-session’ the Nisramont reservoir (le Barrage de Nisramont) came up as destination for this micro adventure.

Last week we went for it. We had met Friday evening for a cozy BBQ and to practice our folding skills. On Saturday we left for the Ardennes to put the ONAK through our tests.



Once we were at our destination, we decided to rent an extra kayak. The 3 of us in 1 ONAK seemed too hard a test to start off with. It was clear the tourist season hadn’t begun yet over here, but in the tavern Du Barrage we encountered a friendly young man of Ardenne Adventures, who was willing to rent us a kayak for the day.
We commenced the assembly of the ONAK diligently. The preconceived 15 minutes we would need for this, soon became half an hour. I can’t be sure whether this delay was caused by us or the canoe.

 And then, the exciting moment when you get into the ONAK and … You can already guess. All in all it lasted 1 second before it capsized and Kristof and Carlos could taste the fresh water of the reservoir.
I had ‘sacrificed’ myself to be the first to paddle the rented kayak, a wise decision it seemed in retrospect.

With the adequate cargo and an improved mounting technique we succeeded in commencing our journey. The Nisramont reservoir, with its 47 hectares area and its amazing afforested hills, turned out to be the ideal playground for this adventure. Apart from us and a fisherman on the bank of the lake, there wasn’t a soul alive to be seen. I believed myself to be in the middle of a Norwegian fjord.


After a couple of hours of paddling and photographing we arrived at a crossroads between the 2 Ourthes. In the distance a jetty appeared that seemed to us like the safest option on which we could enjoy our lunch and send our drone in the air to shoot some images of our adventure.




Somewhat later, when we continue our trip on the right arm of the Ourthe, the landscape changes.
The hills next to the river become less high and after a while we get to a waterfall, which means the turning point of our journey.

 On the way back we spot a few locations on the bank of the Ourthe where a tent could be set up perfectly if we would have brought one.
When mooring the ONAK another advantage of the canoe strikes us. Weighing only 17kg you can easily lift him out of the water.
After 8 hours of paddling Carlos sees our starting point appearing in the distance and our bellies start rumbling.

Time for our ONAK review:

Strenghts

  • Compact when folded as a suitcase
  • Lightweight / easy to transport
  • Great looking and ingenious design (eyecatcher)
  • Tough material
  • Position in the water / speed (it was hard to keep up the ONAK with a rented kayak)
  • Personal url on the ONAK

Points of improvement

  • The buckle system (we struggled with this the first time)
  • The attachment of the seats (they tended to get loose during the trip)
  • The stability (small learning curve – on a second trip we easily kept things dry with 2 people in the canoe)

 

When looking for a restaurant in the neighborhood we notice the evening sun coloring the sky and decide to make a short stop at the nearby escarpment of Le Hérou.
You can read the report of this stop soon in a new blogpost.

Practical:

More info about the Nisramont reservoir and its environment can be found here.
Where we parked: Barrage et Lac de Nisramont 1, 6983 Nisramont.
On this location is also a spacious campervan parking.


Want to discover more adventures? Take a look at www.experiencebelgium.be.

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