Sunday, August 24, 2008

One more water adventure

After the drifting experience in dead sea and scuba diving in red sea last year, it was again water time today. we went to do water rafting today. It was full day event where we had lot of fun. There were simple to comlex rapids where your boat flips and you just get carried away by the huge current of water.

It started with a nice drive in the morning from montreal. After bfast from Tim Hortons, we reached the place. As there was a slight delay, we sat down and started to play dumbc. Then we got briefing on what to do on the river. We were a group of 15, so we split into 2 boats. My boat had 8 people + guide. We got onto the boat with our life jackets. It was to prove a lot useful later during the day. He started off with basic stuff - paddling forward , backward , stopping , getting down while holding onto the rope. After the basics, we were off to a start on the river. It was a run of 8 kms with 3 rapids. Initially we got into water. I still was holding onto the rope of the boat while i was in water floating with the help of the life jacket. Then everybody hopped on again and we started to do rafting.

The weather was good , water was not too cold , the current was strong - very favorable conditions for a good day of rafting. We crossed through the initial small rapids with just the boat going up and down and lot of water gushing in and hitting us. It was nothing when compared to what was going to come next. The washing machine rapid - this was the 90 degree fall which causes your boat to flip and throw everybody out into gushing water. We navigated it fine and the boat did not flip. After that the guide asked us to flip back and then forward strong right into the washing machine against the flow of water. so we were climbing a mountain of water against the flow. Then the flip happened. The two people in front (Bix and Pratik) were thrown into gushing water when the boat started to flip. Chaitanya who was to my left also vanished. I got pushed to the other end and then boat flipped fully. I got down into water. My eyes closed , i had the paddle in hand and i was hit by two three things donno what they were. Then there was darkness for few seconds - i did not open my mouth or try to breathe - otherwise panice would have kicked in instantly. I was going down with the gush of water and then after few seconds due to the life jacket and me making my body straight up with head facing the sky , i seemed to reach up to the surface. After those dark few seconds, i saw sun light and the sky. Instantly i took some water into my mouth as i had to breathe then and then i hit a rock when i realised where i was and i was very close to the rocks on the right side. This is where we were to swim if we fell in the washing machine. I got up and helped myself out of water. I started to walk towards my guide and slowly more people from my boat started to be seen. Ravi and Harjot were no where to be seen. We saw Ravi far holding onto a rock happily. After a while he got on top it and sat there waiting to get picked up by a boat. All around him it was gushing water. Harjot got swept away even further and hit some rocks and got up and stood on the rocks. We picked him up later as well. Both of them got swept by the strong tide before the rope which is thrown into water for people to catch. It was a bit scary. After that we got into our boat - less people and less oars. Then we picked up Ravi and Harjot. It was a 'experience' for every one of us. Then we got out of water for lunch and then the second run started.

Now the water was gushing more and the initial rapids also got more bumpy. Pratik got kicked out into water in the Elizabeth rapid and he swam really nice with the life jacket on to the right side along the same direction as the strong current. Then we picked him back up and then proceeded for the washing machine. Some wanted to have the boat flipped others did not. But there was a huge wait as the boats had to go through the washing machine one at a time. Initially we were not aware of what we were getting into. Now we know and the waiting time increased the tension. We ventured in and did not get flipped. This time everybody held onto the rope. Then we tried to go through the rapid again without flipping. Then we did multiple drier flows around the same place. Then we got out of it and hit some low lying rocks and eventually went to a beach. There we halted for some time and then we started back to go to our final stopping point. People wanted to swim and float in water so some people got out and headed for the shore. There were only the guide , pratik and me paddling the boat. We had to stop and we were drifting away from the shore into the seven sisters rapids (which are meant for insane kayakers during low water only). So the guide caught and got everybody on the boat and we paddled hard to reach the shore. It was a nice team effort. Then we were brought back to base camp and we had a shower and a nice dinner.

After dinner, there was the video session for which everybody turned up to watch. The video session was fun. We saw all the boats go through the washing machine rapid. There was the team where the whole team got into water when the boat flipped except the guide - perfect execution. Then there was this guy who showed the finger to the camera and in few seconds he alone got flipped off the boat while crossing the washing machine rapid. It was funny. Then there were the kayaks whose flipping was interesting to watch. We saw how it all unfolded for my boat flip.

It was nice fun. I will be doing it again next summer. Hopefully i will know how to swim by next summer.


Sandeep said...

Now, that's why I never did white water rafting :)

But I can imagine how exciting it is.. Photos ?

Prakash Swaminathan said...

it was exciting .. photos and dvd are going to come by mail in about a week or two.