It’s the Argentinian election day today and things are quieter than usual. It makes no difference to us tourists though as today we’re going white water rafting on the Mendoza river!!! Neither me or John have ever gone white water rafting. I took a bit of convincing as I can’t tread water but I was reassured by the fact that I would have a life jacket and it was only a grade 2, with 5 being the toughest.
We were up early to get picked up for the trip. We’re always a little nervous when they arrange to pick you up as we’ve had it a few times when they pick us up a lot later than they said they would or they just don’t turn up! Out pick up turned up about half an hour later than expected. When I walked on to the minibus I heard someone say my name. I looked up and it was Mari, the Brazilian girl from my Spanish class! She was there with a couple of other students, Dora and Yasir, from ExSpanish. They were on a weekend trip away from Buenos Aries. It was a really nice surprise to see her. It’s such a small world!
After a catch up on the bus, we arrived at out destination where we were given our wetsuits. We were then split into two rafts. On our raft was me, John, Mari, Yasir and Dora and our guide. After a 5 minute training session on land learning his orders, we were ready to go!
We carried the raft into the water and the water was FREEZING! Its dry season/winter in Argentina which meant that the water level was also quite low. During the summer, the river is a grade 5!
The river was actually quite smooth and because the water was so low we could feel the rocks underneath and at one point we all got stuck on a rock for about 15 minutes! We had to jump up and down to move it. Eventually, it gave way and we continued down the river. The rapids were also quite small but fun. This was probably best for my first time white water rafting given that I’m a pretty weak swimmer.
Because the rapids weren’t that strong, the guides decided to make it a little bit more exciting by dragging us from one boat to another by surprise. The first victim was Mari. We were just paddling away when all of a sudden we heard Mari scream who was at the back of the boat. The guide from the other group had crept up from behind and grabbed her shoulders and pulled her onto their boat. Then they proceeded to do this to me and another girl on the other raft.
The guide had also said that if anyone falls in they owe him one drink. A girl on the other raft somehow fell in twice! I’m not sure how as the rapids really were not that strong. The whole journey we were splashing the other raft and then at one point we got to a rapid and Yasir went to splash the other team and he then fell in! Unlucky!
The rafting lasted a good couple of hours. By the end of it, we were freezing, especially my feet! After changing and eating lunch which they provided, we watched the rest of our team abseil down one of the cliff sides just opposite the base. Me and John only paid for the white water rafting so we ended up being photographers for the rest of the team at the bottom of the cliff.
After, we went on a “hike” as described by the guide but it was really just an hour long walk through the bush – we barely broke into a sweat unlike other “hikes”. Or perhaps we’re actually getting fitter?
So another great day which was made even better by sharing it with Mari!