White Water Rafting Day One

We were picked up at the bottom of the hill at La Hesperia by the rafting company in a coach. There was already an American family on board called the Simpler’s with two daughters. We got changed in a large petrol station on the way and then had a safety briefing at the river. We were each given a life jacket, a helmet and a paddle. My helmet was too big so I had to wear my teacher’s woolly one underneath! Then we were split up into several boats and set off down the river!

In our boat the guide was Danny, and we had the two teachers as well. We were told our raft was 20 years old. I’m not sure if that is good or bad? We had the frisby in our boat that Danny told us was the most important thing and that our lives didn’t matter.

Firstly we went down a practice stretch of the river that was only about 100m long and then the rapids started. To our inexperienced senses this certainly didn’t feel like a practice. Here we practiced following out commands that Danny would give us to steer the boat. He informed us that today we would be doing grade 3+ of 4- rapids, with 6 being the hardest on that scale and 1 the easiest. The other rafting guides were Jeff, the boss, with his dog Bruno a Labrador/retriever cross with a bloodhound who looked like Scooby Doo, and Andres. I liked to think Danny was the coolest as he had tattoos and looked like a real Inca.

Some of the rapids we went down had funny names like Alexander’s Balls and The Monster. One was a tricky rapid so we all beached our rafts before it and inspected it from the shore, with Jeff, telling us what to do differently for each way it was possible to go down it. This was important as sometimes the water is so strong it is almost impossible to make the raft go the route you want it to. Occasionally people were allowed to jump in, and we got to stand under a waterfall! There was a lovely lunch of rolls with a choice of fillings, tea bread and fruit.

We played frisby between the boats and the guys loved ‘rodeoing’ on the front of the boats. In our boat we went over rocks on purpose, it was brilliant! We did get stuck on one rock and had to ‘hold on’ and rock the raft to get it off. We went in a whirlpool and had to ‘hard forward’ to get out, but then had to ‘stop’ as we lost our male teacher. He had lost his back foothold and over balanced, having to walk with his hands along the bottom of the boat to get out. We were all anxious for him crying out his name, but when he surfaced we were all looking on the other side of the boat for him! I bet it felt like he was under a long time.

The last thing we did today was ‘just’ passing between two rocks, so the raft was a bit squished! We shouted ‘goallllll!’ After all the hard rapids we put all our paddles into the middle and said ‘S Club 8’, then splatted them down on the water to make a clap noise. Rafting really is such a thrill!

At one point our rafts got close so Andres jumped into ours and pulled Danny into the water, then the rest of us started chucking water between rafts with the paddles!

Once at the Kasama Lodge where we were to stay for the night, we said good bye to the Simpler family. We went in the swimming pool until dinner, which was stodgy as usual including chicken, pasta, rice and chips. There was a lovely chocolate pudding though! After dinner the karaoke started, including a group rendition of Barbie girl, and continued for two hours until we went to bed.

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