Dodgy rafting experiences…

As soon as I got back to the hostel I booked a whitewater rafting trip for the next day. As a whitewater rafting guide myself I was particularly interested in seeing what the approach was like. To begin with nobody else showed up (probably should have been a warning sign). It was a really cheap trip so I was surprised it wasn’t more popular. Anyway myself, the guide and the driver set off to go rafting.

Two people walking on a jungle path
Walking to the river, always the best bit of the trip.

After arriving at the get-in point I soon realised that my phone and the bandaid in my wallet were the entire communication and medical gear for the entire trip. The guide also didn’t bother bringing a flip line (used to right a flipped raft) a throw bag (used to rescue people who end up swimming) or any safety gear bar a waterproof bag which turned out to contain nothing but his cigarettes.

Flower arrangement by the riverside
Who needs safety gear or training when we've got faith, right?

The bad news is that the guide then decided that we didn’t need to do a safety briefing, talk about what you need to do if you fall out or we need to evacuate etc (which should be done at the start of every trip). The good news is that the guide stopped to do a prayer/offering thing before we set off. I guess that makes up for the absence of safety procedures, right?

We all clambered in to our partially inflated raft and set off down the river… Given my experience with whitewater, I wasn’t concerned about how hopeless everything seemed, being confident in my ability to handle things if there was a problem. I just found the completely different attitude to safety and rescue skills pretty disappointing. That said, the rafting itself was a lot of fun, warm water and exciting rapids made for a fun time. Bar having to stop for cigarette breaks, it was an exciting and worthwhile thing to have done. That said, unless you have proper training and experience I’d recommend making sure you find a reputable company to do this with rather than going with the cheapest option like I did.

Orange raft with a person standing beside it
Our nice bright raft. More air would've been great though…