White Water Rafting with Adrift

Jinja Travel Blog

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I went white water rafting with Adrift, the company the Backpackers Hostel endorses.  This was a great experience.  Adrift picked a large group of rafters from our hostel at 7 am and drove us to Jinja, about 1.5 hours away to their rafting location.  Here we divided up in boats, received some safety information and basic on rafting and went out on to class 5 rapids.  This was over all and amazing experience!  I had never been rafting before in my life but it was awesome to experience class 3-5 rapids with a group that was super safe.  Adrift not only had a rescue boat but also had a hoard of rescue kayaks that were always ready to swoop you up in case of you falling off the raft.  Which of coures I did in a class 5 rapid called "Big Brother."  This was the most intense of the rapids we went through and as we were going through it a huge wave hit our boat, specifically hitting just me in the back right hand side of the boat, picking me up and dumping me in the river.  Once in the river I was caught in the undertow that I was warned about and held under for a good 5 seconds maybe even longer.  Man alive it certainly felt like longer in my head!  Eventually my life preserver helped me pop up quickly to grab a breathe of air before I was pulled under again.  This cycle of getting pulled under and popping back up continued about 10 times until I was washed past the rapid.  Eventually one of the rescue kayakers rescued me and took me back to the boat.  It was actually quite funny when the kayaker got me because I think he was expecting me to act a little more scared or shocked.  When he came over I was like "thanks for picking me up."  And he said "are you okay?" and I said "yeah i'm great, why wouldn't i be?"  At this point my boat approached and Heather my friend from earlier in the trip was like "are you okay" and i just gave her a thumbs up. 

While my first experience falling in the rapids was great my second time was not so much fun.   The last rapid we rafted was the second part of a larger rapid that started as a class 6 and ended as a class 5.  After carrying the boat over land a bit to reach the second rapid we watched other boats go through this rapid named "the bad place."  The center of this rapid was horrible!  It had huge waves!  I swear they were atleast 6 feet in height of not higher sloshing in around in a foreboding manner.  However the right side of the rapid was actually quite calm and that is where all of the boats before us went....Safely down the right side without tipping at all.  Well that was where all of the other boats went, not us!  Since we hand not tipped the whole boat at all during the trip our guide decided we need to have the experience.  So he directed us out into the center of the rapid!  And to ensure that there was no possible way we could possibly make it out of there without tipping he had us go sideways into the rapid.  So of course we tipped.  And most of the people were pulled away from the rapid quite harmlessely.  However a 3 of us got caught under the boat.  Normally this would not be a problem because there are air pockets under the boat accept I was caught under the side of the boat in an under tow.  So when i started to come up i hit the side of the boat and wasn't able to get any air.  And then the undertow grabbed me again and i was back down without getting any air.  After what seemed an eternity I started trying to grab on to anything...hopping i would grab on to the boat and pull myself up.  But i was too deep to grab the boat and ended up grabbing on to another guy, Des, who was stuck under the side of the boat as well but was at least holding on to it.  Thankfully my pull on Des helped me eventually come up for air just outside of the boat.  At that point I was able to grab onto the boat with my right hand.  At that exact time Des also came up and was not quite as lucky as me to get a mouthful or air and instead grabbed a mouthful of water.  And he then proceeded to grab onto my shirt as he was sucked down stream.  Thankfully I was able to turn and grab his arm with my left hand and pull him back to the boat where he was able to grab on and get some air.  After this point we were able to go down the rest of the rapid without any real problems....  However as a whole I was pretty damn traumatized by the second rapid...  So if you decide to go rafting which can be an amazing experience be warned that it can be scary as all get out. 
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photo by: vickie-lou