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“…Can’t Raft This”

Long time no post eh?

So unfortunately I am still not up to date with my blog posts and hopefully this weekend I will do that! About a month ago I had the awesome experience of rafting down the Rangitata River about two hours south east of Christchurch. It was my first time white water rafting and wow it was an incredible trip! It definitely wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun if the boat guide, Owen, hadn’t been there, because he was hilarious and the best boat guide ever.

So it was a pretty long day because of all the travel involved but the rafting company came and picked us up from the flats and it was a nice scenic bus ride to the actual rafting place. Then they fed us and then it was time to learn all about the equipment we would be wearing to raft. Oh my gosh we were wearing so many layers, which I was grateful for because it was definitely not sunny, but wow. First we all had on our togs (swimsuits), then we put on a thermal long sleeved shirt and then a fleece sweater over that. Then on top of that we had out lovely wetsuits which were the epitome of mainstream fashion. Finally we put on another jacker which was basically a windbreaker, followed by the obvious life jacket. We also wore helmets…styling all day every day. Then they bussed us to the river and we got in the boats! There were 6 rafters in the boat plus a guide who sat in the back and called out commands. Luckily they didn’t just throw us into rapids right away, there was quite a bit of flat, flowing water that we got to cruise on. It was here that we learned how to paddle as a team and also learn how to pull each other out of the water should one of us fall in. This was told to us verbally and then we actually had to demonstrate for our guide. I thought he was kidding when he told the left side of the boat to get in the water and the rest of us had to pull them back in…he wasn’t. It was good fun though!

Finally we got to what I thought was probably a grade 1 rapid and it turns out it was basically nothing and I got all excited and worked up for nothing. Then we hit our first grade 2 rapid and that was quite an experience. When we got to our first grade 5 I thought we were going to die. Ok not really but they made us stop so that the other boat behind us could catch up and then they debriefed us about what would happen. This was both good and bad. It was good because I could prepare myself with knowing what was ahead, it was bad because I knew what was coming and I didn’t know how to handle it. Anyway so we get up to it and you see the river and then you just see this drop off and that was the rapid…and we went down it…and I got a mouthful of water because I was screaming. It was great. The adrenaline rush after going down was incredible. Afterwards we got to watch the other boat come down and let me tell you, turning around and looking at what you just went down was surreal.

There were several more rapids and then we got to stop to do some cliff jumping! Probably the scariest thing I did all day which is saying something because I mean I went down grade 5 rapids. Anyway I jumped off of a 4.5 meter cliff into the river below and as I was free falling towards the water I couldn’t help but think, what the heck did I just do. Yay for being scared of heights. There was also a 10 meter cliff to jump off of but since I couldn’t stop shaking after the 4.5 meter one I decided that the 10 m one probably wasn’t for me.

We finished out our trip along the river and even passed by a place where the filmed part of Lord of the Rings. I believe it was a scene where Smeagol was chasing a fish. Then we had a decent BBqQ and then it was time to go home. Thus ended my rafting adventure. It was actually pretty strenuous work paddling and staying inside of the boat. It might also have been the fact that I went rowing for the first time ever the day before rafting, but the day after rafting, I felt like a train had hit me, in the best way possible.

Look for more posts coming up soon about my road trip to Oamaru, my time in Picton, and cave streaming! Cheers!


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