| |

The 2014 HAJET Rafting Trip

After months of preparation, things were looking doubtful for this year’s rafting expedition. The largest typhoon of the year was brewing and looked set to bring high speed winds, torrential rains, and extremely dangerous conditions. After exhaustive organisation from our intrepid leaders, Erika and Claire, this was not what anyone wanted to hear. Fortunately, our hosts at Happy Raft seemed confident that the typhoon would hold off, and give us the weekend we were after. Still, we were all a little worried that the preparations would be for nought.

We woke up to a glorious morning, with a sky that was cloudy, but gave no indication of impending storms to ruin our day of rafting. We arrived at the Happy Raft head office, went to the changing rooms and were then allocated our wetsuits. After a struggle into our new rubber costumes, we were given life jackets, helmets and river-wearable shoes if we hadn’t brought our own (mine were a rather spiffy bronze set of sneakers). After a short trip in the bus, we finally got to meet our faithful steeds that would carry us down the river. We informally separated into our three groups and started on our way down the river. Safety instructions for how to handle our oars, how to traverse down a rapid outside of the boat, and how to haul each other into the boat were the three most important things for us to learn, along with the basics for how to paddle our inflatable boats.

IMG_9481Much of the first section was spent with us getting comfortable with our groups, with a lot of shenanigans from the foreigners not always impressing the Japanese groups, but who, by the end of the trip, were just as eager to splash back, and compete in trying to knock each other out of boats. The river was somewhat lower than usual, which meant that some of the rapids were a little more difficult to navigate, with some boats finding themselves often stuck in corners, backwards and moving like a Roomba, which they adopted as a team name.

By the time lunch was held, everyone was ravenous and the delicious, often still warm, bagels were consumed with much gusto, and plenty of people going back for seconds, thirds and sometimes fourths. Lunch gave us all a short break to regain our strength, as the exertions of the morning had worn some of us out, and there were more than a few dragging feet on the way back to the boats afterwards. Fortunately, the afternoon stretch was a little bit shorter, so we didn’t have quite so much to worry about before we could finally rest and escape the impending storm.

IMG_9313After arriving safely at the destination, we piled out of our boats and helped load them to the trailers to be returned to Happy Raft, then loaded ourselves into the buses. While onboard we were encouraged to add our name stickers to those already adorning every available surface inside the bus and after a 25 minute ride back to base, photos, and our last farewells to our guides, we were set to return home, racing the typhoon to ensure we had crossed the bridge before the worst of the winds had set in.


Zadie O’neill

Similar Posts