A Day of Intense Rafting

Trip Start Mar 27, 2009
Trip End Apr 11, 2009

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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I had an intense day white water rafting on the Tully River.  The day was incredible and I am absolutely exhausted.  I'm headed to bed.  Goodnight from halfway around the world.

I joined Raging Thunder Adventure Company in search of some fun on the Torry River. I had no idea what I was getting into, but it was certainly a thrill of a lifetime. As the bus ride headed to the river the grey sky did not greet us with open arms. It almost seemed it had turned it's back on us, telling us to go home. We weren't swayed from coming, and the excitement seemed to build even though the sunshine did not.
We were given some basic rafting instructions and then headed to our boat for a crash course in rafting. The bright yellow boat seemed smaller than I had imagined, but the eight of us climbed in with a smile on our face and a hint of fear in our eyes. Marty, our river guide, tried to teach us how to raft as a team and brave the thrilling waters together. At the start, we were not very impressive.
I was given the back corner of the boat and was warned that it is sometimes called the ejector seat. This meant I was likely to be thrown out of the boat at any unlikely moment. This caused me to be a bit more cautious, but I was eager to get going.
Our fearful leader, Owen, was put in the front of the boat and asked to lead our team. He shouted, One, Two, One, Two, in an attempt to get us rowing together. We tried to listen and do our best, although our best was a bit weak. With the first raging rapid, we survived, and were gaining confidence. Owen took a tumble into the rushing water, but managed to come out laughing. We all chuckled at our leader not being able to stay in the boat.
We tested out our equipment by taking a swim down the cool rushing river. My jacket held me up just fine, and my helmet did it's job beautifully. I practiced my rescue position and hoped I wouldn't really need to use it. It was fun to sit in the water and let it pull me down the beautiful river. I set my head back and thanked God that the rain had stopped and the sun was now shining.
After a bit of a struggle to get back in the boat, the fun began. My team and I worked together to dodge many boulders and rapids which seemed to attract us like a magnet. We paddled with force, trying to steer clear of the looming danger. The rocks did laugh at us from time to time as we banged into them, of course they didn't move a bit and we were shot off in whichever direction they chose. Our leader was often tossed in, we then joined the rocks in a belly full of laughter. Our tired bodies could not hide the fun we were experiencing.
We took a break from the river ride to go rock jumping. We had two opportunities to climb the high rock tower and plunge into the cool rushing river. I climbed up as fast as I could, ready to take my big jump. I contemplated diving, but the weight of my helmet, and whatever was hidden below forced me to think again. With a quick jump and shout of glee, I headed for the water. It was pure delight. The second jump was even higher so many folks stayed in the boat, but I ran up the rocks as fast as I could. The fun of cascading through the air seemed to call my name. I ran off the edge of the cliff and smiled as I hit the brisk water. Not sure when I will again get this opportunity, but loved every minute of it.
After another ride through the water in our raft we found our way to a BBQ lunch on the shore. I mingled with my teammates. New York, Germany, Ireland, and Indiana were represented amongst our team members. We all swapped travel stories and insights in the journeys we had experienced. I have to admit, it made me long to feed my addiction for travel which I try to appease so often. The reminder of the economy and the blessing of having a job I enjoy helped remind me that coming home will also suffice for now.
The afternoon brought much more enjoyment. The stages of rapids picked up, and we united in our efforts to ride the river as a team. I grinned from ear to ear as I took in the rush of facing a roaring river. The beauty of the Torry River captivated me, and reminded me of the immense blessings in my life. As the water hit my face, it brought joy and thankfulness. My body was worn out in the midst of the journey, but thrilled that it could be a part of this amazing experience.
Often times I also had to face the river with determination. It seemed to be fighting against me. As we were instructed by our guide we were told to hold on, get down, move right, move left, or paddle forward or backward. Being a good listener was vital. I also tried to listen to the river. As the boat shot me to and fro I held on with everything in me. The falling waters and raging rapids pulled hard on me, asking me to come for a fearful swim. I used all that I was taught to try and fight back. I succeeded in this battle never falling out of the boat on my own doing. Owen on the other hand fell in five times, one of them being pretty scary for us. I reached to try and save him, but his life jacket broke and he was pulled under. Eventually he was rescued and we were glad to have him back.
Our river guide did toss me in once, but I fought back when he was least expecting it. A quick kick and he found his way into the river as well. He took revenge on us all with our last rapid we faced. We all joined in a huddle and let the waterfall toss us from the boat. What fun we had!
I enjoyed this experience in every way possible. I look forward to the next time I can rage the rapids of white water rafting. I hope next time it can be with friends, these folks became my friends, but I also know it would take the friendships I do have to new levels. I'm ready to plan a summer trip!
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