Friday, November 16, 2012

White Water Rafting

On Sunday we had the awesome opportunity to go White Water Rafting - that is, Alfie, Nicky, Amy, Kit and myself. It was half way to Pokhara so, of course, this necessitated a 3.5 hour ride in a minibus along that awful road out of the Kathmandu valley, but it seemed to pass fairly quickly - especially because, in a complete twist of fate, we were in the bus with an Australian called Kate who had been an IDF volunteer herself a couple of years ago and knew well all the staff we have been working alongside here! Our school wasn't even started to be be built at that point, but it was really interesting to get her views about the charity, which generally matched our own.

 We were, as usual, nearly run off the road on numerous occasions by one of these awesomely-decorated trucks. This one thinks it's a train!

After waiting around for about an hour (though we're very used to this now), we donned kit (not Kit) and were taken down to the river, and a gorgeous sandy beach with kayaks and rafts moored up alongside and also a sleeping guy next to his tent. It's possible to do a 5-day rafting or kayaking clinic where you can sleep on the beach each night - it looked pretty idyllic!


Sleeping guy; Nicky, Kit, Amy, Alfie and me. I thought I was wearing a completely different t-shirt to this one and was disappointed at the prospect of wrecking it!

A very good safety briefing later and we were loaded into the kayak. There were 5 other tourists on this trip, so they got one raft, and we got the other. We practiced our manoeuvres and commands, then set off down the river.


It wasn't long before we passed a truck that had clearly taken on one tourist bus too many, and plummeted down the cliff into the river! It looked fairly recent because there were still many locals plundering the goods that it had spilt. These are hairy roads and this is the consequence of over-confidence...

During the rapids, we were paddling furiously and getting absolutely drenched by the glacier water that, surprisingly, wasn't too cold (as long as you stayed in the sun). In between the rapids we sang (Rey shom pi di di!) and joked and went for a swim. Unfortunately, but obviously, the camera could only emerge from its triple-bagged cuccoon on the long quiet stretches of water! So no action shots I'm afraid.


We passed under bridges and even a couple of cable cars. This one was so small and cute, and I think it was pedal-powered, judging by the furious motion of the single occupant as it slowly inched its way from one bank to the other!

After about an hour and a half of paddling and getting soaked, running about 8-10 class 2 and 3 rapids (scored out of 6), we stopped with the kayakers who had been accompanying us, on another lovely sandy beach for lunch. This was all packed into the kayaks and we could enjoy getting warm again - by sun and standing by the fire that one of the guys had made - while the 'staff' prepared lunch.


Lunch was absolutely delicious, potato and egg salad, coleslaw and cheese sandwiches, finished off with peanut butter, jam and banana sandwich! At least, that's what I had. It hit the spot perfectly and satiated a craving for PNB that I didn't realise I had until I saw the jar!

After that, back to the river to run some more rapids - we got up to grade 4, which was violent enough to almost flood the boat and Alfie, who had not been tucking down properly, to be relocated 2 rows backwards alongside the guide! This was our victory cheer after surviving those rapids...


After another 8 or so rapids, and an hour and a half on the water, it was really starting to get cold as the sun disappeared behind the mountains. We were half grateful, then, when our adventure finally came to an end and we grounded ourselves on a beach near the road. We unpacked the raft and got changed, spent some while chatting and to Kate, who was made to promise to visit Urbana school that week, then bundled into the nice warm minibus to be taken back to Kathmandu. It was such a good day out! And well worth repeating. It's no wonder Nepal is such a great destination for rafting and kayaking.

And that, pretty much, ticks off everything I wanted to experience in Nepal. Trekking, paragliding, Pokhara, safari, jazz, rafting, mountain flight and Everest, sunrise view, Thamel. What more could a man want?

Don't answer the obvious please ;-)
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1 comment:

  1. Well, you've certainly been keeping yourself busy. memories of your first white water rafting in Canada with dad 'n Bro?

    Keep writing, me lad - we are enjoying it!