Ciarán & Elaine's Travelog

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

White water rafting on the Apurimac river - Day 3

Another 5.30 start for our third and final day on the Apurimac. It was a fairly early night last night (8.30!) as we were all shattered from a long days rafting. We´re really looking forward to getting out again today.

Whilst packing up our tents Ciaran & Nick discover a scorpion wandering between their feet - kind of cool to see one in real life! They gave it a wide berth and got on with the task in hand.

After a breakfast of pancakes and fruit (seriously, how do these guys manage to cook such great things in the middle of nowhere!) there are some games to warm us up. Our team is so competitive (even though it´s only 6.30am) and we win the spin and run race which involves spinning in a circle for fifteen seconds and then running 20 metres before tagging your team mate. A few more games help us to get limbered up for the day ahead - we were seriously stiff from the long day yesterday.

At last we were on the river and Pancho has a little glint in his eye, he knows we´re all up for an adventure and we know it´s going to be an exciting day. Today there will be lots of difficult rapids grade 4, 4+ & 5 so our raft leads the way.

We get through all the rapids without a hitch, do a bit more body rafting and try some more rapid surfing. At one point Pancho asks us "are you ready my little swimmers" and we know he´s got something planned.

We paddle through the first part of the rapid but instead of directing us around a big boulder in the river he sends us into it sideways. The left side of the raft is up on the rock (I´m on the right side and Ciaran´s on the left) the water´s gushing into the boat and before I know it myself and Nick have toppled out.
The water is rushing so quickly that I´m sucked under the raft and trapped between the rock and under the boat. Kinda scary! Under the water, my eyes are open but all I can see is swirling water. Above me is something hard and below me is something hard. I don´t know if I´m upside down or not but just start clawing at whatever is above my head and eventually I surface beside the boat. I was only under for about 10 seconds but it felt like a lot longer!!
Ciaran dragged me back in with such a panicked look on his face. Think he got more of a fright than I did! Everybody else took the sensible route ie. they knew exactly where I was and there was nothing to worry about. Thanks to that attitude my fear was quickly over and we were paddling on to our next adventure!

We had about 4 1/2 hours on the river followed by a BBQ lunch then it was back to Cusco. We all met up in one of the nightclubs at 11 o´clock where they showed a full video of the three days on a big screen. They had filmed our surfing - we rock!


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