Although large sections of the Vindel are calm (often too calm as it means we have to paddle loads!) there are rapids every few kilometres that we have to deal with. Some are pretty small, nothing more than choppy seas, but some can be huge.
Normally, we can spot whitewater sections from our Google satellite maps, so we know to stop well in advance and check how dangerous we think they'll be. We don't have much maneuverability once we're in the rapid, so we always have to have enough time upstream to be able to choose a line and enter the rapid in the right place so that we get swept through safely, whilst keeping the raft pointed head on to any big waves.
Melissa can take quite a punch, and even when we've taken big hits from rocks she's been OK. Each year we want a balance between having enough water in the river to sweep us over rocks, but not so much that there's enough water to flip us or pin us under the waves. Our wishes are rarely granted!
If there is a really dangerously extreme rapid, we've designed Melissa so that we can take her apart and carry her round along the river bank, but this normally takes at least a day, so we try to avoid it when we can! So far we have had to do this for the two largest on the river - Vormselefors and Mårdselefors.
Unfortunately we lost most of our rapid videos from this year's expedition when we lost our GoPro, but we still had a little footage from our Astak camera: