A brush with death

Banos Travel Blog

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We had a very exciting and physical day today. Our whole group ended up going white-water rafting, so we hoped on mountain bikes and rode for nearly two hours to the rafting site. The bike ride by itself was a bit nervous with tunnels, traffic, potholes and cliffs. We stopped off at one bridge to let Efrain jump off, and at a cable car ride to be jerked across a canyon by dodgy Ecuadorian technology.


We reached the rafting site and kitted up, then practised our moves. The rapids were surprisingly invigorating, after selling them as low water (down to a grade III) and family friendly, we hit every wave at the wrong angle and were knocked around like a grade V. Either our guide was an adrenalin-junkie or we didn’t paddle well enough (since we had three first-time rafters and Joel and Stephanie, despite having rafted many times, were completely useless).

We had a few near misses, including one where John hauled me back onto the raft, but the climax was a massive flip during the peak of white water. Lydia was trapped under the raft but found the air pocket, while John was upside down with his feet locked in place and couldn’t get up to the air. While groping for Lydia I found his life jacket and hauled him up, then our guide flipped the boat back. Climbing into the boat again I saw our crew was in chaos – Stephanie was gone (she was soon picked up by the other boat), three people had lost their oars, and Lydia was floating downstream.


I jumped back out and swam to Lydia, and together we were swept downstream waiting for our boat to pick us up. They didn’t manage to catch up before the next set of shallow rapids, so we went over them feet first (getting bruised bums on the way). Finally we got to climb back into the boat, having collected the three lost oars on our travels. Amusingly (to me, Lydia was too cold to be amused), the next broad bend of the river contained a dozen vultures perched on the rocks, so a lot of animals must fair worse on that stretch of water than we did.


In the afternoon Lydia celebrated her new-found appreciation for oxygen and snugness by getting a long massage, while I had a couple of beers with John. We finished up the night with a nice meal in town, before a well-deserved rest.

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photo by: timbo