Rafting on the Clarence

The last four days (thursday, friday, saturady, sunday) I have been on the crew of the “Grey Ghost”. This involved four days on a raft with 5-6 people paddling down the Clarence river starting at Jollies Pass through to the end at sea.


Kylie and I were invited to a rafting trip on the Clarence that a friend organises every now and then (you could almost say yearly). I was excited after hearing stories of mischievous antics; kidnapping of boat mascots, water fights, boat take overs and the general tricks that happen when a whole bunch of friends get out to have some fun. For me it was tiring, but, alot of fun. The weather was amazing, sunshine the whole time. White water, however, was the biggest thing for me, after kayaking in grade 2 water I had developed a slightly over healthy fear of water especially water with rapids. Rafts are a different story, big floating tanks that like staying upright. It took “team” work to paddle through obstacles and bump off rocks, being in it together was quite a different feeling. I found myself relishing the harder bigger water rather than fearing it. Usually hollering at the top of my voice once we got through it, even the one day I had a migraine that left me unable to paddle and wanting to vomit every twenty minutes, I still enjoyed myself… must of looked pretty well when i still managed a loud yell/scream after one particular rapid…


Here are a few things that first comes to mind when I remember the trip: People yelling at me to “DIG IT IN!” “PADDLE, PADDLE!”  “LEFT BACK, LEFT BACK!”, amazing scenery, really knotty hair, water, SUNSHINE, laughter, stretched nerves, ‘skippers and captains’ contradicting each other and poor paddlers getting confused, paddlers in their own world paddling in opposite directions anyways, ducklings bent on stranding us on rocks, white water that I would never see in a kayak, pirate talk (mostly by my boyfriend), guys all standing in a row with their backs to us ‘relieving’ themselves (that’s peeing for those who don’t know), itchy wet suits and the dreams in the night after a day of paddling; these involved me trying to find my paddle thinking: why was I lying down sleeping when I needed to help get us out of that rapid?? One night I got out my ear plugs AND my sleeping bag before I woke up! The last night when I finally got home I woke up middle of the night, sitting upright in bed fumbling around my bedside table for the missing paddle, thinking why were there glowing numbers and why is it dark???


There were a few new rapids after a flood came through since the last trip the guys organised. The remains of the flood were seen a good five metres up cliffs and in camp grounds (THAT i wish i had photos of; tree branches, new sections, sand further up the trunks of trees, whole trees moved down river… general flood carnage) these new rapids had a few explicits burst forth as we descended on water never paddled before by the ‘captains’. To the point that the last day that was once a “doodle” (easy) was infact a mix of shallow fast water with rock gardens (that’s rocks everywhere that need dodging) to huge water with more rock gardens. Lets just say the last hour saw more close calls than the entire trip put together. It also saw more smiles, paddle ‘high fives’ and “Woo Hoos”…


It may surprise you that this time I didn’t take my camera. I used Kylie’s camera for a few shots. But mostly I wanted not to worry about my camera and be able to take everything in, without taking the camera out. Which worked quiet well.. I thought (a few missed piccies i would have loved… but thats ok I will cope).


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