Day 9: Africa is NOT for sissies

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Today Ange and I hit white river rafting. Our thinking was that the trip only left at 10 so we strolled into reception at 9AM (still in our party gear from the night before) and were told that the truck was already packed and we had 5 minutes to get changed…

Making a dash with inadequate clothes on and NO sunscreen, we just just made the truck leaving. Spirits were high and Ange and I were apprehensive but excited.

We were dropped off at the top of a very high gorge, met our international team (2 Aussies and 2 Americans) and climbed down on the worlds shakiest makeshift wooden ladder (my thighs burnt like mad and I was stiff for days after that – hehe). Voster, our guide, gave us a quick crash course in what to expect and we were off. After hitting 5 rapids, Ange mentioned that our rafting had been fairly tame, and then we hit Terminator 2… I would give it a drumroll or a da-dum da-dum like the jaws soundtrack, but I won’t. Instead I’ll give you a photo by photo take on what happened!

Back in the boat again, this time not feeling as cocksure as before, we were off again to take on the river.

Next thing we knew there was a red boat capsized in front of ours, going through a rapid at pace and before we knew it we were swept off the boat and into the massive rapid. The team was immediately split up, with myself and Adam being swept swiftly into a whirlpool and Angie no where to be seen. Adam managed to pull me out of the whirlpool (for that I was very grateful – sucked a mass of water through my nose) and we were immediately en route for another rapid without the safety of our boat. A kayak paddled to us quickly trying to get us to a boat, and while Adam managed to hang onto a boat down the rapid – I was less fortunate. Oblivion was the rapids name and that’s nearly where I sent the kayaker. I panicked and wouldn’t let go of the kayak, but unbeknown to me – the kayak was upside down and the kayaker couldn’t turn it over with me clinging to it. Babyface, adventure captain, kayaked over to me trying to get me off the kayak and out of the rapid. I honestly thought he was going to smack me in the face with his ore – but he didn’t (I would have been less nice to me if someone was drowning one of my teammates). I have never swallowed as much water as I did today.

Finally on the safety of my own boat I started looking around for Ange, and then I saw a boat in the distance with the occupants all standing up. You know that feeling where you know something horrible has just happened and you know that it’s Ange on that boat and there is nothing you can do? As we neared the boat I saw Babyface on the boat, Ange lying with her life vest off and eyes glazed over. PANIC!!

Babyface saw there was a problem when we fell off the boat and tried to get to Ange. He was about 50 meters away from her when she got sucked under by a rapid and finally popped up 50 meters in the other direction, having taken on more water her body could handle. She was dazzled and totally not there by the time I got to her boat, and I was very worried that we had lost Ange to the river.

The aim for the next 5 rapids was to get Ange off the water and to safety. And that’s what Voster did… We took the rapids easily (although everyone seemed like a massive mountain to poor Ange).

Finally back at the lodge, Ange was woman down and slept for the rest of the day. I’m hoping her hearing will be back to normal soon… Time will tell.

Ange, bruised and battered, found a letter from Masters under our windscreen wiper which made our day happy again. His message was to ‘Raak betrokke’.

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