Later, in the morning… 10 .October. 2012
After a spectacular sunrise, had breakfast at 10:00, at the Yoschi Hotel cafe(included). The food was nice and freshly cooked, Rest for a few minutes before preparing for the next activity on the list, rafting..! Since we will be back, we just left our stuff at the room and with our bathing clothes on, went out, ready for rafting. Everybody quite excited as for most of us, it was the first time and neither knew what to expect. Swimming is one thing but going through the rapids.? that’s another different thing. anxiety, nervous, worried, if i’m not mistaken, some wanted to back out… 🙂
From the hotel to the river Pekalen was quite a journey by itself, went through towns, roads, forest and housing areas…. even crossed a railway station. But the most interesting of all is that when we came across this one particular village, the unique characteristic and lifestyle, of where people there still wash themselves and their clothes and even relieve themselves in this large drain which is located just by the road, even though there are pipe water supply available.
Soon we arrived at Regulo Arus liar rafting club. We were greeted by the guide and instructors there and given tea with cinnamon and a little bit of ginger in it (tasted strange but nice) is said to help avoid cramps when doing physical activities in the cold waters. The anxiety became stronger, some watched the river and anticipated how strong the current was and how deep it is and all of that. The guides were really good and convincing, they showed professionalism that somewhat made the group relaxed and assured us that there is nothing to be worried of, the briefing and speech made by Nandi one of the guide there really helped us calm down and gain our overall confidence. Each of us were issued our gears, helmets, life jackets and oars. All our personal items, are kept safe in our vehicles.
There were 11 of us and since each raft need 4 handlers (not including guide), Adi joined in and made the numbers even.. so, there are a total of 3 raft all together. 3 groups with each group one guide.
After the briefing, all of us climbed the back of a small pickup truck, and while standing at the back, are driven upstream, towards the starting point some 8 kM upstream. Then we walked another 800 metres towards the river, via a paved walk path. It seems that the rafting activity here have been going on for quite some time. The raft were already waiting for us down at the river gorge. The landscape was beautiful..!, the river low below and the walls of rocks hanging overhead us was surreal. The nervous and worries earlier seemed to ease away as we witnessed how beautiful the scenario was and now, it seems as everyone is eager to jump in and begin exploring.
We began boarding our raft as assigned earlier by groups, following our guide, the starting was calm slow flowing waters, we paddled slowly and enjoyed the scene overhead us. Surrounded by walls of rocks on both side of the river, It was tall and the sky barely visible. Sounds of water echoing within the walls drowned the guide’s voice, even so he kept on briefing and telling what to do, expect, and listen to orders given, yet reassuring and helping us to reduce the nervousness. How great it would have been if had been able to get some pictures or videos, too bad we don’t have any waterproof photographing equipment with us. Soon, we left the canyon and came to the first rapids, it was relatively easy and the guide demonstrated us practically what he said earlier on. He continued to tell us some history and interesting facts. We will be facing about 29 rapids in total and at the middle of our 3 hour course, we will rest for about half an hour for some drinks after half way through.
Rest time, fresh coconut and some snack to eat.
Then.. we were challenged to jump from a height of 8 metres into the river from the hanging bridge.. sure it doesn’t sound too high but looking down into the water below is kind of scary especially when we don’t know what’s below the surface of the water, we only trusted the guide that there’s nothing below and the river is said to be 7 metres deep.
Among all, Amed the only one who did it twice after backing up four times, and only two didn’t make the jump as they were a little bit terrified from previous experience I guess. The guides showed the proper technique for jumping and all safety measures were met.
We continued the remaining portion of the river going through the rapids and the whole kayaking was extremely fun, all had an enjoyable time at the water, we got wet and cool after the past few days being hot and all dry, and it is quite refreshing for all of us. I can’t think of anything better than rejuvenating like this.
At the end of the trail, we returned to base where we arrived earlier and changed clothes. Have some food and after receiving our certificate for completing the class-2 rapids at Pekalen River, said our goodbye. All the staff present aligned by the roadside sending us away with smiles and waving away….
Back at Yoschi Hotel.. the roast lamb was waiting for us. Pinky Boy had already arranged for us a barbeque. That night was the night that I think we really had a good rest since the past few days. We talked and hang around for few hours until the fire went out. They served rice, grilled corn, fruits bowls, potato fries and the gravy is really tasty. As expected, everyone really hungry and had a good appetite that night.
Coming sunrise… next destination is the Madakaripura waterfalls…