First Days Rafting

on Wednesday, 7 April 2010

I awake early to find I am absolutely freezing and that although very warm during the day, the nights are very cold. I am up before 7am, but the crew have already started assembling the two rafts, the gear raft and our raft. We have some breakfast, which includes scrambled eggs, toast and a potato and vegetable dish. Also tea, coffee and hot chocolate, so we are eating better now than on the whole trip so far. There is also 3 kayaks, 2 of which are safety kayaks and the other is Jonathans. The gear raft has 2 crew and then the other 7 of us and Aaroon are on the other raft. Apparently the first day is an easy day with only level 3 rapids, to get us used to it, with the hard rapids being on the next 2 days. We get a little safety briefing on how to manoeuvre the raft and how to turn it back over if it flips. It is unbelievably hot sitting on the raft and I can feel my hands and face burning very quickly. We raft for about 3 hours and then stop by the side of the river for some lunch. There are numerous kids along the river and we spot a kid right up the top of a huge tree shouting at us. After lunch the crew put all the leftovers into a bag and give it to some of the local kids to take home. We are allowed to have a swim in the river when there is no rapids and the water is deep enough which is a refreshingly cool after sitting in the sun for long periods. At about 3:30pm we stop and set up camp, we help offload all the equipment and our luggage which is kept on our raft in dry bags. I try a bit of kayaking, but just have no balance at all and annoyingly am pretty dreadful, especially when trying to learn how to do an Eskimo roll and failing miserably. We get some snacks of popcorn and soup and chill out on the beach. I go for a short walk down the side of the river and find a little waterfall to have a shower in after avoiding the swarms of massive red ants. Tom and Oscar collect some fire wood to start a camp fire, Tom goes a bit overboard and brings a whole tree down, which Aaroon soon says is way too much and we have to cut it down to a few twigs. We then discover that as we had slept outside the first night we had waived out right to a tent, as they had only put two tents on the raft to save space. We make a makeshift shelter using the raft and a groundsheet to give us a bit of protection, but I am fearing I will again wake up freezing in the morning. The crew go to bed early, understandably as they have been working non stop since 6am cooking and kayaking or rowing. We sit up a bit later chatting until the candles they have given us have burnt out.