Saturday, May 06, 2006

Rafting is a journey to hell and back

Ever heard of or tried rafting? Well, if you are not daring, you might perhaps never want to be part of the rather creepy fun. For starters, rafting is an experience that will surely add a dash of adventure as well as a splash of fun. No matter how many times you raft, it remains a daring act and every time one rafts is like the first time. One could as well call it the journey to hell and back. Rafting involves groups of about six to eight people paddling their way down a river in an inflated boat.The waters are usually wildest during the mid-morning hours and for one's safety, it is advisable that you follow the safety precautions given by the guards.Before we started our rafting ride, we were required to go through the practical test. The guide would immerse you in the water and you had to struggle to find your way back into the moving boat. This is where one was required to put their swimming skills to good use. Meanwhile, the roaring torrents could be heard from a distance and I could feel my adrenaline levels rising. When you are rafting, the torrents inevitably bind the heart into fear for dear life especially at the sight of the untamed waves and rapids. This, I guess basically happens to everyone taking their maiden attempt, not ruling out the thought of abandoning the adventure altogether. If you have the guts to raft, you are given a life jacket, and a helmet in case you fall out and hit your head on a rock. The guides, in a rather relaxed manner, double-checked whether everyone had their safety equipment properly attached just before the ride. It is only when the ride began that we calmed down and enjoyed the scenic beauty of Uganda as we rafted down the Nile. At the source of the Nile, the waters were still and boats floated around slowly, being tattled by effortless waves.
DOWN THE RIVER: Rafting is a great experience. Net PhotoThe beautiful scenery of the Nile breathtaking, complete with flying birds and thick shrubs in the water. In a distance, monkeys played about. Despite the scorching sun, the waters were fresh and cool. Here, the rafting guide told us about the different levels in the water, level six being the strongest of all. "Fall in and hold tight to the boat," the guide yelled out as the boat spontaneously descended into the rapids. Amidst the boiling foam that slapped hard against my headgear, I swallowed some water as I tried to scream out, but one thing I had to remember was to hold on tight to the boat's handrail. Otherwise, I could have found myself at the bottom of the Nile hitting against rocks. The guide told us that there was a possibility of capsizing and the waves pushing any of us down stream, but he cautioned that in case that happened, the best thing to do was to swim and let out a scream for the rescuers in lifesaver boats to save the day. Well, you can trust that these guides have mastered their game and you cannot help but get a little jealous as they fearlessly plunge themselves into the waters. That is rafting for you-a fast-paced adventure.

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