Okay so to shock you, I am gonna start by saying, I didn’t drink the night before my white water adventure, well one cause it was late when I arrived at Scotty’s Backpackers and two I wanted to be fresh our saunter down rapids on the Tully River.
So the morning came about, two seconds after me falling asleep, or so it seemed. We boarded our minibus and were on the road to the Tully River. After picking up another half dozen people, we arrived, given our life jackets and sandals ready for the river, armed with our ores we boarded our raft, first point of concern, the guide Fish had to put a bit of air in our raft, after close inspection I also noticed he had a finger missing…..okay what sort of things were in this water, I thought? Well we were given instructions such as when he says jump left or right or in the middle we do as he says when he says it.
Off we pushed, 5 mins down the river he told us to jump out and get used to the river, and perfect the white water surf, well float to be more appropriate, holding on to the jackets, feet pointing the direction your heading and re-boarding the raft, oh and there wasn’t any thing that would hurt you in the river, the odd eel, turtle and fish nothing to worry about, the biggest enemy was the rocks themselves, and the perils of many a person that dies on the rapids, as they got feet trapped, broken ankles, you know the sort….like I say nothing to worry about!
The first rapid, a grade 3, water clashing with the smooth sharp rocks, okay sharp objects and an inflatable raft…you do the math! “Jump left to the middle!” Fish shouted, bouncing off the rocks like we were ina pinball machine, we crashed to the next torrent of water, thank god it was water, I would have been drunk if it was beer, the amount I swallowed after the first rapid!! Other 2 and 3 grade rapids were challenged and over come, then came the first white water float, through a grade 2 rapid.
Okay picture this, we pulled over looked at what was about to be conquered, but with out the raft, a semi wide part of the river with the column of water, forming a funnel, flowing at a fast rate, and we were about to float jetted down it, on our backs clinging on to the life jacket…….. fair enough, we jumped over board, and followed the raft down, you would be dragged under the water, come up gasping for air only to swallow more as the next mass of water hit you, then you would go under again and this would happen again and again, taking the same route as the raft, well come on I had to do it again!! walked up the shore jumped in to the water, swam out and did it again….one problem I didn’t swim out far enough, as my bum bounced off the solid rocks time after time, gasping for breath time after time, not only was I sore but hey I was short on breath, but dam it was fun…..and I wasn’t even half way through!!
At last time for a cuppa, but we had one more thing to do, go under a waterfall, that cascaded down from the sheer, shimmering rock face in to a deep clear looking pool, we paddled as hard as we could and hit the water fall, drenched and refreshed we went to a clearing, were burgers and tea waited our arrival, never enjoyed a cuppa so much……
Off we went again, more three, four grade rapids and then came the lava shoot, we wedged between two rocks, looking down a shallow rock slide, clashing with a deep pool of clear water, now it was deep, Fish explained that once we hit the pool (after taking a deep breath) we need not struggle, but remember to equalize our ears as we submerged in the clear lagoon, this is how I knew it was gonna be deep, he reassuringly said the longest you stay under water is 10 seconds max and you pop up to the surface. So legs pressed against my sore bum, fish let go, deep breathe and splash, the noise of bubbles was all I could hear as I equalized my ears, now I was under the water, not struggling, for what seemed an age, before I popped up to the surface like a cork, 7 seconds was the time I was under for, 7 seconds, seemed a lot longer!!
On the raft we got, grade five ahead, bouncing off the rocks, almost being thrown out of the raft, we were a little slow to jump in the middle, near the end of the grade five, hit a rock and flipped over, I got a kick in the nuts from someone in my raft, whilst I clinged to my ore, fondelling for the raft, so now I had a high pitched voice and a saw bum! ah well onward….. next obstacle was a rock the ripped out of the river, towering above anther pool, this was to be our diving board for 20 mins, cambering up this column of rock, looking down below, I chucked myself off….it was amazing……again did this more then once!!
There we have it my day of whit water rafting….great fun…..but there is one more thing, on our return to Scotty’s, there were 5 lads sat around the swimming pool, not altogether strange I hear you say, but with a fishing rod……inquisitive like I asked if the caught anything, just as he reeled in his next catch……okay on the end of the line there was a magnet, now attached to the magnet was a piece of plastic cup attached to a key ring, on the cup was “Choose three to drink a can in one” ah ha genius it was a drinking game with a difference, obviously we had to join in….only problem was it became difficult with the more I drank, so I emptied my pockets and jumped in the pool, to grab them instead, much more fun!!
Next to Cairns, the weather had closed in and I couldn’t do my parachute jump from Mission Beach, so Cairns was the next destination……