This morning I found a short e-mail from Dean in Addis Ababa. He indicated that the government there is blocking his trip.
Here's what he wrote:
hi john, in addis here. we have just received a letter and are being denied permission to float the omo by the ethiopian government. we surmise that this is because of the dam and the controversy surrounding it. they have police at the launch. we are working with the embassy and pulling all the strings we can. if you can think of anything....please let me know.
Here's the last e-mail I received from him just before he left for Africa.
well, our trip has shrunk. now, max and i and an unknown brit, a translator, a guide and two rafts. max and i will have our own raft. we are now taking enough equipment to carry through on our own if everything falls through. we met with pasquale,(remember him from the nile story that james did?) and he gave us his omo river logs and also the maps he made and the maps he got from the russians. he and kenny dowd of buena vista made the second descent and he, in his own words, knows the omo better than any man alive. he has equipment, rafts, over in addis that we can use if we need too. he gave us advice on the crocs (lots of them and big ones too) and the hippos (splash your oars in the eddy's to drive them out before you park your raft) and the locals (they want money, not razor blades like they did ten years ago). even with his maps the omo is pretty much a big blank space.
i've got lots of cards, a good digital recorder and video. multi media on the omo. oh boy.
so we are off at 3 am tomorrow morning.
thank you for all your help and support. touch base with you in a month i hope.