Devil's Toilet Bowl
Livingstone Travel Blog› entry 96 of 151 › view all entries
I wonâ€™t lie. I was scared, terrified even. I thought I was going to die.
I went rafting on the
Speaking of cuteâ€¦oh, the men, the men in kayaksâ€¦ahh. There were about five rafts with up to 8 paddlers each and then six safety kayaks along. Did I mention the fine men in these kayaks? Concentrate on the task at hand, Chris.
Ok, so we set off and the first few rapids we got through with relative ease, so I felt hey, I can do this.
When we reached rapid #6 called the Devilâ€™s Toilet Bowl, a grade 4, our guide said we could dump here if we wanted, and I protested but I had only one voice. He didnâ€™t say he would dump us, but as we went in, all of a sudden the entire raft went over. I was on the side it turned over on, so I got trapped under the raft for what seemed like forever, but was maybe 30 seconds, if that. But I have never been so scared in my entire life. I was grasping onto the â€śoh sh**t lineâ€ť like they told us if we went over, but I could not get to the surface.
Looking back on that whole experience, I was not in any danger. I had a life jacket, and once we cleared the rapids, I would've popped up. But after hearing of deaths and being trapped under the raft like that, I was frightened beyond belief. Even so, we had to press on.
At the next rapid, a grade 5, and our guide said we didnâ€™t want to dump here because it was a long swim if you did. Well, me and two others fell overboard half way through. This time wasnâ€™t so bad as I was freed from the raft and popped up pretty quickly, but there were some seconds of getting jostled around and when I came up I saw a safety kayak right away and swam to it. I got pulled into another raft until mine made it through. I was shaking like a leaf at that point, scared and tired. We had 23 rapids to get through that day! I thought I canâ€™t do this every time.
At the next rapid I saw a girl in the raft next to us sobbing uncontrollably saying she was never so scared in her life. I just tried to breathe and have faith in my life jacket, which had worked for me so far. At this one we had a choice of for sure getting turned up, 50-50 or easy. I begged for 50-50 knowing no one else would go for easy. We headed in and almost turned. At one point our front end was literally straight up in the air. I held on for dear life and at some point I got kicked in the face or smacked heads with someone. We all got through OK. Our guide was cheering as he thought we rocked that one. Erin thought it a good idea to bring up the Aussie girl's death at this point as she was lost in the rapid we just cleared. Apparently she was with the company guiding us, and although it is still under investigation, the main problem was when they tried to pull her into the boat, she slipped from her life jacket. I tell you what, my life jacket was so tight the whole time I could barely breathe. Anyway, that conversation didn't lift the spirits any, so we changed the subject for sure.
From there we had to get out and walk around a grade 6. Another rapid later and we had lunch. Our British friends only were doing a half day and got off, and since there were others leaving us, we ended up moving to another raft with a different guide for the afternoon. The rest of the day was a breeze. Only a few grade fours and then after #18, only 1, 2, and 3s, so I knew Iâ€™d live to tell the tale!
In between rapids I tried to enjoy the scenery, stare at a few small crocs and be thankful I was there and got to enjoy this incredible river. During the afternoon some of the rapids were real small, so we got out and floated through those. It was a beautiful day indeed.
By 3 p.m. (we had left the hostel at 7:30 that morning), we were done and boy were we sore, covered in bruises and just tired. We paddled a lot. We covered ourselves in sunblock but couldnâ€™t keep it on so we were burned. We climbed up some rickety wooden ladder to catch a trolley to the top where cold beers were waiting. The ride back we went through a small village which was cool to see.
I wish I had pictures of this. They videotaped it and took pictures, but they wanted about 30 bucks for the pictures alone. They also said we couldnâ€™t copy them, so that made it so we couldnâ€™t split the cost three ways. I wish I had photos, but it was already four dayâ€™s budget to go rafting. However, pretty much in ever photo all you see is me clinging to the â€śoh sh**t ropeâ€ť and looking scared out of my mind. Anyway, Iâ€™ll never forget that feeling when we got turned over, though.
The day before rafting I made it to the falls. Now is not the best time to be here as there isnâ€™t as much water, but it is beautiful. Now that Iâ€™m done rafting, I think Iâ€™ll just chill by the hostel pool. This traveler is exhausted and after mountain-climbing and rafting, I donâ€™t need any adrenaline-pumping activities, at least not until
For now it is Thanksgiving today and the three of us are going to put together a proper feast at the hostel and enjoy this holiday abroad.