More Rowing...

on Friday, 9 April 2010

I am awhoken early, partly due to being absolutely freezing, even though I am now wearing every item of clothing I had brought with me and also because on the other side of the river a group of kids had gathered and where playing drums on some old plastic containers while they sang and another young boy did the funniest dance you have ever seen. They kept it up for about an hour with every now and then the guides joining in singing. I get up and manage to restart the fire from some embers which are left and with a hot chocolate am able to warm up a bit. We have breakfast and once finished they put all the breakfast left overs into a plastic bag and give it to some local kids. This is a mix of everything we have had all in one bag and although it doesn't look very appetizing, is probably a real treat for them. Some of the kids venture a little closer and start playing with the pump for the rafts, obviously they have never seen anything like it before and once one realises air comes out of the end, he spends the next ten minutes blowing it into his and his friends faces. Today is apparently the hardest days rafting and includes the rapids, The Juicer and Gods house. It is quite rough and although we manage just about to get through without losing anybody, Jonathon capsizes in his kayak and although he has capsized several times he has always popped back up fairly quickly. This time though he doesn't turn back over and is caught in a quite bad rut of rough water. For what seems like about five minutes, while Arroon is shouting at the safety kayakers, who are much to far away to do anything he doesn't turn over, eventually, although it was probably more like 10 or 20 seconds, he pulls himself out and we see him pop up, everyone breathed a big sigh of relief.
After these rapids there is some flatter water and everyone jumps in for a swim. A little furthur down totally unnanounced the two rafts pull over to the side and shout at us to swim over as well. By this point though we are caught in a really strong current and although everyone is swimming as hard as possible, nobody seems to be getting any closer to the bank. One of the safety kayakers, Som(sp) comes out to try and get some of us, Anne Sophie grabs onto the back of his kayak and I also swim up and hold on, after about 30 seconds of Som frantically paddling we are not going anywhere and I let go, managing to just about swim over although Tom is being dragged even furthur down and this making me laugh, makes it even harder to swim against the current. Tom finally reaches a rock sticking out and everyone is safe on the side of the bank absolutely shattered from swimming only about twenty yards. Several of the guides and Aaroon walk up the bank and we can't quite see what they are doing but after a few minutes we just hear a lot of laughing and see the younger trainee guide running around in the long grass chasing a chicken. We all watch in hysterics as he spends about five minutes in vain, chasing the chicken. I decide to walk up and have a look, just as I get to the top, I see him walk down with two chickens hanging by the legs by a reed, apparently dead. I am unsure whether I should be up there, but Aaroon says come over and shows me the local house and their animals, including a new born calf which is only a couple of days old. As we offload the rafts we realise the chickens are actually still both alive and strangely they are just so still, maybe resigned to the fact they would shortly be our dinner. We practice a bit kore in the kayaks and Jonathon helps move the paddle while we are under to get a feel for the movement which seems to help and I feel I am making progress. While we are messing about they have killed and plucked the chickens unfortunately as I was pretty keen to kill one mysef. We have a late night with a couple of beers and some cards as we have been told from now on it is fairly easy and we can leave a little later in the morning and we can also do some kayaking if we want. I have totally lost track of the day or date which is strange but also quite nice. The heat is also getting a bit too much and especially my hands are completely burnt to a crisp. We are also starting to ache a bit after all the rowing in the strong rapids.