How do we cap the last few days, we are surviving on a wave of adrenalin fuelled excitement? But not to worry Rich had indeed saved the best until last, so Sunday we all had to wake up at 6am. Rich was worried the boys wouldn’t make it because for most of their holiday they hadn’t surfaced much before 11am. But on the first requested they were up, washed and changed and ready to go.
We were on our way to La Spezia for what now seems to be our annual White Water Rafting expedition. Stefano had advised us that despite all of the rain and wet weather we had had there wasn’t enough water in The Lima for a safe passage at Bagni di Lucca. Unperturbed and always looking for adventure we arrived at the river bank early much to the surprise of Stefano. “I forgot “ he said “ The English always arrive on time”.
Both Richard and Noah (both big boys) struggled to find a wetsuit big enough and in particular in Noah’s case, he somehow squeezed into a suit at least two times too small making his whole adventure very uncomfortable.
There was a large crowd of us, me of course being the only woman again, and three boats headed up the river by road. We all had to squeeze into the same mini bus, Charlie almost sitting on my head as I found a comfortable position on the floor.
Luckily it wasn’t a long drive, we were heading up river to commence our downward trek once the waters had been released higher up, scheduled for 11am. There were loads of people on the river, we started by doing the customary jump or rather sit in the river and float a little way down stream. The guys squealed like girls as they entered the cold water.
I was determined not to join them but as my body entered the cold water the air from my lungs involuntary forced its way out, I didn’t squeal but I certainly made a noise of sorts. It was so cold.
We really didn’t know what to expect, had we been on The Lima we would have know the format but this was all new. The weather was kind; it was neither too hot nor too cold, just perfect. The Vara was interesting, the views different but in a way more breathtaking, beautiful but more tranquil and calm.
I could see by Noah’s expression that he wasn’t enjoying it too much, but unfortunately once you start a journey like this you have to see it all the way through. He struggled to paddle with any force and often the raft was a little off kilt.
So far the journey was easier than The Lima, but the guys in the other boats soon made their own entertainment, we had pirate fights, jumping ships and loads of water fights and it didn’t take us long to join in.
The laughter and joy stopped as we all disembarked along the banks near a small but fast flowing rapid, we fought to stand up as we battled the raging waters until we all stood on a little stone ledge right in the middle of the river. Stefano announced it was now time to have a water bath!.
I am petrified of drowning, I swim but I am not a strong swimmer but I was determined that I wasn’t going to chicken out this time. We were now to assume the survival position and jump into the raging water. Thankfully for me it wasn’t a big drop like last time and so I held my nose so that no water could get in and jumped in.
As I let go of my nose water rushed in, as I tried to open my eyes water went in, I don’t know how long it lasted maybe three minutes, so I convinced myself to relax and go with the flow. I still think I drank more of the river than I should have but I was now happily floating down the river in the safety position. I suddenly realized that our group were getting out of the water, so now I panicked a little as I was trying to swim against the current but to no avail. Thankfully two of the young men saw my predicament and came to the rescue. But I had done it.
Back into the raft and the rest of the journey was pretty much the same, nice calm waters then a small ragging rapid to overcome, most of which we did as if we were professional. But there was one, where I don’t even know how it happened but I ended up in the drink. No sign of panic, I just resumed the safety position and continued to float down river, until Stefano called for me to take his oar.
I was probably not concentrating because just before I was really interested in one of the other rafts whom had managed to get themselves stuck between two large boulders, it would be both difficult and a long time before they would be able to release themselves from this position. That will teach me not to keep my eyes on the river ahead.
I was really surprised to see in two points along the river bank (obviously the most dangerous) scores of lifeguards, none of us needed their support but the final rapid Stefano had kept to last. I wasn’t sitting in the front so for me it would have been a softer view, but even from where I was sitting I knew it was a big drop.
“He’s not going to take us over that is he?” the question flashed through my mind, but all too quickly we were now riding the rapid. Stefano had asked if he could bring his dog along with us, to which of course I agreed but it caused us a little problem as we surfed the first wave, the raft then buckled in the middle, catapulting the dog and Stefano out of the raft into the raging water.
In a panic he had caught hold of my lifejacket, pulling me backwards; I didn’t go into the water and managed to turn to face the two of them in the water. Which one to save first, dog? Or Stefano? I lunged for the dog as he seemed the most panic stricken and it wasn’t long before he was in the raft safe and sound and Stefano didn’t need my help to get back into the raft obviously fallen out a few times before.
Once on shore, we looked back at the rapid we had just conquered, we were amazed and watched with much cheering and laughter as the other boats made it safely over the largest rapid any of us had ridden to date.
It was certainly an adventure, action packed and totally mind-blowing thrilling. Rich had certainly kept the best to last.
Check out the pictures here taken by a member of Stefano’s team I think you will agree it certainly looks adrenalin fuelled action.
Stefano and his team will be at Bagni Di Lucca from this weekend onwards. Check out his website http://www.aguaraja.com/ and his number is tel: 348 3301593.
If you are short on numbers you can always give us a call as both Rich and I would love to go again. Email me. Carol.firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Sensone