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Friday, March 13, 2009

RAFTING THE URUBAMBA RIVER!!!

Sooo...I was offered to go water rafting today and since I`ve never done it before, I figured, ¨Sure, why not? It´s not everyday you get to go rafting in Peru!¨ However, we reached a level 4 rapid which out of a level 5 rating system is pretty scary. The water was powerful! We had already been rafting for well over an hour and were doing fairly well. We were ahead of the other boat (there were two), 6 people with one guide in each raft. There was an extra guy in a kayak named Ronal and another guy on a cataraft taking pictures. Needless to say, our raft reached an area where the water sunk in and was rather aggressive. And...we kinda fell in that hole! At first, I stayed calm and eventually came up to the surface but the boat was on top of me. There were a few seating gaps where I was able to breathe but I wanted to get away from under the boat because the water kept bringing me back down. So, I tried swimming away from under the raft but that was my biggest mistake.

The water sucked me under and spat me down river. I tried calling for the guy with the camera but he couldn´t catch up quick enough. I tried swimming against stream but it was no use. I had to lean back and let the water take me down river. Looking ahead, the waters were wild and there were huge rocks coming up. That´s when I started to panic. As I hit the waves, I kept going under. I got so scared, my ability to hold my breath grew desperate. I could barely hold it for 5 seconds without feeling the utter need to panic for air. I hit a few rocks and had to kick against others. I tried grabbing rocks but I couldn´t grab a good enough grip. The water was spewing me at a speed I could hardly process my next move. I began taking in mouth fulls of water and paddling for my life. I kept trying to think positive thoughts but the water was in complete control.

Finally, the guy on the kayak sped down river and caught up to me. I grabbed on and kept telling him that I couldn´t breathe. My life jacket was squeezing my lungs. I had to hold onto the kayak for awhile before he brought to a nearby rock. I got on the rock and took off my helmet, gloves, life jacket, and garments. The water was so cold and I had been in it for so long my body was shaking uncontrollably. I thought I was going to fall unconscious because my vision was hazy and dark. I laid on the rock and couldn´t move. It took about 25 minutes for the other 2 boats to even find me. I had gone so far down river, they didn´t know where I was. When they eventually found me, they couldn`t believe how far I had gone.

Nonetheless, we had to continue rafting for another 30 minutes. They said it would take hours to walk and although I was willing...they wouldn´t let me due to schedule. Another girl was shaken up and felt the same. As much as I didn`t want to, I had to get back on the raft. I was unable to paddle as I could barely move my body. I was shivering so viciously and was extremely lightheaded. I hadn´t eaten anything but bread because that´s all my hostel offered as their ´continental breakfast.´ Some breakfast! By the end of it all, I was like, "Damn, 12 people go rafting and I´m the one to get lost under water." Overall, I`m just grateful to be alive. Gotta wake up at 5am tomorrow to begin my 4 day hike to Machu Picchu via the sacred Inca Trail. The adventures continue...

1 Comments:

  • Dear Friend, Your experience in the River is almost exactly like the one I had some years ago when I went river rafting in Urubamba.

    It was February (rainy season) and the river looked full. There were five people on my boat, including the guide and one girl who had no paddle.

    It all started when we got to the level 4 rapids and the two britts on the boat froze in panic and stopped paddling. He hit a rock and the boat flipped over. As the boat flipped over I ended up under the boat with very little air in my lungs. I tried to come up to the surface twice without luck because I kept hitting the boat. It was dark under the boat and that made it hard for me to see anything.

    Panic had already kicked in when I felt a rock immediately behind me, and I used it to push myself into the current, and finally managed to surface. I had some water in my lungs but now the current had taken me into waves and rocks.

    Some fifty meters in front of me were some huge rocks and currents so I used all the energy I got to swim to the side (I am a really good swimmer - used to be in the National Team).

    When I got there I just laid down with my legs still in the water. The group found me some 10 minutes later - they tought I had drowned.

    I am glad I am still alive. I have heard about many others who never made it.

    By Blogger PauloX, At March 15, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

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