Sunday, 9 July 2017

White water rating

Now when it comes to holidays luckily Thibault and I agree on almost everything. (That means I agree with Thibault...) . However, I got cold feet at the white water rafting he proposed. Not the doing it, but the degree of difficulty. I liked the look of the grade 2 rapids trip. Thibault wanted to go for the grade 3.

When I sent a link of this trip's website to a friend she replied encouragingly 
"You're mad! Or he is! Or both!!

Did you notice the phrase "physically active"? Or "exhilarating ride"?!  

You don't have to do it just because he dares you to, you know! You could actually drown! Please think about this xxx"

Needless to say, I still ended up agreeing to do this, partly because I wrote to the company (Jasper White Water Rafting) to check that it would be ok for a totally physically inactive fat old bloke, whose nearest experience was in a canoe on the Norfolk Broads, not exactly renowned for its rapids, or even current.

So in the end, here we went off on the Sunwapta River rapids near Jasper. I was pretty relaxed really until we were on the bus (an old school bus, presumably to engender comfortable childhood memories to those about to die..) and they handed out these waiver forms for us to sign. Which pretty much said "Unless we murder you in cold blood we aren't liable for anything and you recognise this activity might kill you." That and when we got there and changed into the frogmen equipment, the long talk explaining what to do if you got chucked overboard.

But nevertheless with a spirit of intrepid endeavour, Thibault and I set out. Here are the photos, taken professionally (so not as good as if I took them). I would just say this was all surprising fun, and at no point did I ever feel in the slightest danger of falling out. Just getting rather wet. And the only cold feet I got were the literal ones. The water really is cold and to a degree it does gather in the bottom of the raft, even if it is self-draining.

We split into three rafts. The enlarged ones are of my raft.

Ok, do I have a somewhat suspicious looking expression (second from right)? Even Thibault (second left) looks concerned, but that was probably just about his helmet strap.

We were supposed to leap for the photo. Thibault looks like he has a jet pack and is taking off. I look like I don't jump much.

Too late to back out now
 And rapids there were. Plenty of white water. But the guides knew the right lines so all we had to do was paddle, forward or back, on command. Keeping a good rhythm was easier said than done though as sometimes when you put your paddle into the water, the water was no longer there.

I don't look entirely happy here  (on right). Honestly I was having a far better time  than I look like 

As you can see, we did get a bit wet.

But we survived to tell the tale. And this is the tale. Would recommend it again to anyone. Even me. But don't let Thibault encourage you by showing clips of canoeists getting caught in whirlpools to show you there are worse rapids out there. It doesn't help.

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