Africa - Day 14 - Adrenaline junkies

We had an epic storm in the night, we only woke up once around 4am but others had said they had woken up several times. It must have been right above us from the sound of it but I was impressed that our tents remained completely dry. We had a relaxed morning and street a light breakfast we got ready to watch Ryan and Elisha do the bungee jump. We were all down the bar cheering as Ryan stepped up to jump, the countdown started and he made the perfect dive. Apparently he was told if you make the perfect dive you won't be dipped into the Nile and if was write far from hitting the water. We did hear some groans as he bounced back up and down after the main drop. Next was Elisha and he didn't look so happy, this time, three, two, one, bungee and there was no movement.  After a little pep talk and another countdown Elisha fell off the platform, it looked liked he had to be pushed but when he spoke to us afterwards the guide has told him a different way to 'jump' is rather than dive you just raise your arms out to the side and fall forwards.
The boys were on quite a high afterwards and it was time for the white water rafting. Having done this before on the Tully river in Australia I thought I knew what to expect (how wrong I was). We got kitted out and into our raft. The boys were in a different group as they had been saying how they wanted to go down the most extreme rapids with the chance of flipping the raft. Last time we rafted the idea of flipping was out of the question, there were loads of rocks and it would have been a last resort if all went really wrong. This time part of our training he told us he was going to practise flipping, this worried me, why would we practise it unless it was likely. The practice one wasn't so bad but I did end up under the raft in one of the air pockets thinking I didn't really like being under the water. He then taught us how to flip the raft upright again. This involved us putting our heads against the side of the raft and being dunked under the water while the raft flipped over us and then we should pop back up with it. I didn't pop back up and ended up swallowing a lot of water which didn't help with the cough I still can't shift. So we weren't in the rapids and already I was thinking this was quite different from before. There were 8 rapids in total and on our first one he talked about the one called 'the bad place' here you can get flipped held under the water for 10 seconds grab a quick breath before being dragged under again. This was all sounding pretty horrific to me but he said we should be OK and we would try stay out of the bad place. Luckily we did and we also got through the second rapid. On the third I can't remember whether he said our chances of flipping were high or not but it all happened so quickly, the next thing I know I was under the water and felt short of breath, I tried to reach the surface but I was under the raft but as we were still moving I couldn't seem to get into one of the air pockets and my head was banging against the seats of the upside down raft instead. I managed to finally get into an air pocket and take a breath but before I felt I had got my breath back I was under the water again. I swallowed a lot this time and when I got back for some air I was still under the raft. Panic had well and truly kicked in by now and I was taking a hundred breaths a second in my life air pocket. I tried to calm down enough to take one decent breath such that I could get our from under the raft as now we were in still waters. I was coughing and spluttering and could hear the girls from outside asking if I was OK. The next moment the guide had come under the raft and was trying to calm me down. I still found it impossible to take a deep breath so he had to grab and throw me out from under the raft. The kayak came to help me get my breath while the others did the raft turning manoeuvre, I am so glad I didn't have to do that and put my head back under the water. To me the whole thing seemed to last for ages while I was under there but I am sure it all happened quite quickly and the girls said as soon as they heard me under the raft breathing very frantically the guide was straight under. Unfortunately this incident just made me really nervous of tipping again so the next five rapids I found hard to really enjoy and the worst part was I started to get short of breath even before we entered the rapids which was exactly what I didn't need had we gone in again. He told us for the next few rapids after the tipping that the key is to keep paddling and fast and as hard as we could. I don't think I have ever used my arms as much packing through the next set, in my mind I was now paddling to stay alive. On the last rapid we were told we had three options, the first was guaranteed not to tip and wasn't really a rapid as such. The next was called Nile special and that had a 50 /50 chance and the third was called Club and that was a 98% chance of tipping. The group opted for the Nile special which I was happy with, I think I would have abandoned ship and joined Wenda on the safety raft had they said Club. Looking at the photos afterwards I am not sure how we didn't tip but we made it through and into some calm waves where he told us to jump out and enjoy floating down stream in them. I was alive and so pleased to be back on dry land. We enjoyed some nice kebabs and I washed them down with a couple of bottles of cider, it was time to celebrate. Up until the last rapid the boys had not tipped despite them wanting to and the guide trying to make it happen. They took the Club rapid obviously and did a spectacular flip. Al did comment that it was rather disorientating and a little strange coming for air then getting pulled back down under into the next set of rapids, so glad that wasn't me. A very small part of me did want to flip on the last rapid almost to prove that I could have an easier time the second time round but I know the panicked side of me would have won over any logic.
Back at camp and the sunburn was starting to hurt, even though we got the chance to reapply after the first four rapids when we stopped for lunch I knew it was too late. The tops of my thighs took the worst of the sun and on further inspection if it wasn't sunburn I had a couple of nice bruises to cover the otherwise pasty white skin. Basically I felt like crap and also had stomach cramps which were probably from feeling stressed. I can safely say white water rafting has been done, ticked off and never needs to be repeated. The campsite at Jinga was the most lively due to the active sports they ran from there so the bar was quite busy. On the roof was an upside down kayak and apparently what you had to do was wench yourself inside using a rope then take a shot of sambuca whilst having there. All the boys had a go, some several times, after a couple of vodkas I thought I might as well give it a try, after all I had survived the rafting. I decided it would not be in my interest however to do it with sambuca so I poured some of my existing vodka drink into an empty shot glass. There was no way I had the upper body strength to get in on my own so Al helped me get into place. It was a very weird feeling being stuck upside down and now the thought of having a shot seemed impossible. By this point most of the guys had mastered the technique so the trick was to do a sit up, hold the shot glass to your top lip then pour. I was surprised and pleased it worked, earlier on Chris had managed to get it into this mouth but then it can't straight back out his nose, Ryan on the other hand just kept spilling it everywhere, meaning he was egged on time and time again to get back in and try another time. On the raft I had said I would drink shots if I managed to survive so then five of us bought an oar of sambuca shots. No surprise I still hate sambuca, after that I decided it was best to move back onto the soft drinks, I can't think of much worse than having a hangover on an 8 hour coach journey. Timothy T-shirt had come to meet us with our personalised t-shirts and they were really good. He hung around that evening drinking all his profits along with the rafting guides who drank away their tips. By the time we went to bed the guides were pretty wasted and they told us they had 20 days straight on the river now, I am glad we were on day one as I don't expect they will be feeling great in the morning.