14 September 2007

White Water Rafting

On Saturday the 8th I went white water rafting on the Tully river.

After my day off in Cairns in which I mostly strolled around (and watched the latest Bourne movie), it was another early start because I was being picked up at 6:30 to go white water rafting (yay).

So at 5:45 I was up so I could get some breakfast before I left. On the bus I met a Brazilian whose name was Philipe. He had been in Australia for about 3 months. I told him about my trip to Japan. Seemed impressed.

After the 1.5 hrs bus ride to Tulley river (and the viewing of the mandatory safety video), we arrive, get fitted with life jacket, helmet, paddle and I chose to hire a special shirt that draws the moisture away from the skin – figuring I would need it. I ended up in a boat with Philipe and 5 guys from Spain. Our boat was called "Dingo". High five/paddle call was "Pura" <pronounced: PuuurrRAH!>, which means "son of a bitch" or "slut".

Our guide was Julian (Jules). He spent some time going through some commands to help us all stay in the boat. As the water was f*cking freezing, we all paid fairly close attention. On the advice of a friend who had been wwr before, I volunteered to go up the front. Jules said "the leaders are important because they set the pace for the rest of you, which will determine how well we go down the rapids, so have you got a lot of faith in those two (5 pairs of eyes of swivel towards me, none of whom are looking very relieved about the last fact)?

The funniest was the guide Karou with his boat load of Japanese tourists. On entering his first rapid, he looked over to where we were parked, crossed himself and started praying. So funny.

Tully river gets up to grade 4 rapids (the scale goes up to grade 6), so they're getting pretty lively. There is a camerman also there filming the action. The Japanese would see the cameraman, then start wildly waving at him. All while being in the middle of a grade 4 rapid. o.O Several fell out from being unprepared...crazy. Another guide who also had a lot of Japanese tourists, after going down a big rapid, caught our eyes and just shook his head. I think we got almost as much enjoyment from watching the Japanese as going down the rapid ourselves. ^.^

One downside from being at the front: the bow get swamped fairly regularly as you hit the big rapids. It's f*cking cold. There were 8 boats on the river that day, and 4 of them went over. I am not counting the time where the guide got us all down to one end while going the last rapid before lunch (they do that to everyone). The guides would also try to distract you by pointing out something in the trees just before going down a rapid. Karou would go: "Look! Koala!", all the Japanese would be like "Doko? Doko?", not aware how close the the rapid they were, then have to hang on as they sail down. Evil bastards. We wised up fairly quickly though. The Japanese never seemed to learn though...

It was a fun day. My knees got a bit sunburnt. Tired after spending 6hrs on the water. I bought a dvd-movie of the day and a cd of pictures.

09 September 2007

The Reef

Hi All.
Just come back from being at the reef. Was quite a nice day out on the ocean.
We went to Oyster Bay and someplace else. Oyster Bay was quite good. Lots of coral and reef fish to see. The second dive site was not as good, although we did see a HUGE stingray and a white-tipped reef shark sleeping. Although we kept our distance from them both.
The water was nice, around 26 degrees, I hope I put on enough sunscreen as the sun was quite fierce. We'll see later tonight.
Tired now. Going to go back to my hotel and have a nice shower and then crash. I'm off to the Atherton Tablelands (now called "Cairns Highlands") tomorrow...
Finally I'll get some chance to rest ^.^ It has been a long week...
Ja ne.
- Grover

08 September 2007

Cairns, Here I Am.

Hi All.
While the rest of my friends are back in Darwin and back at work, I am currently in Cairns on my way to visit Mum and Dad.
I went white water rafting on the Tully River (it's rated 3-4). Had an awesome time. I was in a raft with 5 spanish tourists and one from Brazil. They were really funny. But the funniest were the rafts that had all the japanese tourists on them. One had a Japanese guide (fairly aussie though). When they went down their first rapid, he made them duck down and hang on, then he looked over to us and crossed himself and made praying motions. So funny. Then they would be going down a grade 4 rapid (which is starting to get fairly lively), and all the japanese would be waving at the camerman and waving their paddles around. We got a great deal of enjoyment from watching them throughout the day. Another guide would just look at us and shake his head.
The water is freezing, but the sun was hot so got sunburnt on my legs.
Off to the reef tomorrow. Going with Ocean Spirit...