ihana.com - travels - peru 2000 - rafting
We booked a 3 day rafting trip with Eric Adventures in Cuzco. This involved another mad bus ride for about 4 hours to the start of the 3 day and 40km journey. We had 2 inflatable boats. One full of 7 people and one with all the stuff and 4 people. There were 2 guides, a mad Aussie bird guide girlfriend, a rescue guy in a canoe and us tourists. We were made up of 5 English guys, an English girl and a Swiss guy.
First we had to pack our personal stuff into drybags. I left my camera in the hotel safe in Cuzco but Barry brought his. We then helped pump up the boats and carry the stuff down to the waters edge. Then we set off over some pretty easy rapids to the first camp site after doing a few training exercises to get used to the commands which would be needed to save our lives.
Then we set up camp on a beach by the river and had some excellent food cooked for us while we chilled out around the fire and drank some rum.
Our guide was good and he showed us some cool 'surfing' techniques whereby we come down into a hole and balance on the big wave after it. Great fun. The first person to fall in was the Swiss guy which was appropriate as he was a bit of a nob. Barry, me and another English guy managed to never fall in despite some very near misses. One 'surf' we were supposed to do led to us dropping into the hole too sideways. Two guys fell out, including the Swiss for a second time, leaving just 3 of us and the guide sat in the highside position, leaning on the downstream edge of the raft to frantically stop it flipping. We couldn't paddle out of the hole and every few seconds the boat went under the waterfall, soaking me with icy water. Barry had almost fallen out but had grabbed my ankle and managed to stay on board! After what seemed like 5 minutes of being stuck the canoeist threw us a rope and we pulled ourselves out. The highlight of the main day was the class VI rapids. We had to get out and walk a little downstream to discuss the plan. The rapids were huge and I was really looking forward to running them. As was the case with most of the more difficult rapids we encountered, people had died here the previous year and their bodies not usually found....scary. When it came down to it we cleaned the rapids in an unbelievably smooth way. I reckon the guide was trying to impress the others who had gathered there.
At our final camp site the guides decided to move some big rocks around for no good reason. A certain one of our party was very helpful in digging up rocks and then moving them somewhere else. Must have been his Swiss army training. When we eventually got some food it was delicious as usual and we sat round having a laugh. The last days rafting was only a few hours before we got to the end. We'd done about 40km of river. Now it was time for the bridge jump!
The bridge jump involved tying a static rope to one side of the bridge then bringing the rope under the bridge with the help of the canoeist. The jumper is then fitted with a climbing harness on backwards and carabiner. The rope is pulled as tight as possible before being tied in a belay knot. The jumper holds on to the loose end of the rope which is about 50cm long then jumps. The feeling is awesome - as soon as I jumped I started to swing under the bridge face down, so low that the spare rope clenched in my hand is hitting the water. After a few swings I let go at the next high point and gracefully landed head first in the river.
Back to Cuzco then on to the Inca Trail
All pictures on this page copyright 2000 Barry Priest unless otherwise stated.