July 15. We white-water rafted down the Nile.
Sound nice, eh?
We went to a rafting gig in Jinja early on Wednesday morning. There were many white people there from all over. We got some safety training before getting our life jackets and helmets. We boarded our bus and made it to the Nile.
The Nile is a beauty. The green over hanging trees, the sound of the rapids, the cool breeze, and wonderful company. Ahh! We have an incredible Creator.
We took off our shoes and carefully stepped down the rocks into our raft. In our raft was Alex our guide, missionaries Jake and Shauen, another short-termer Alec, and two friends we met that day. We started training with things like flipping out of the boat, pulling yourself into the boat, swimming, and what to do when you are churning under water. We got all trained and practiced on a class three rapid. Rapids are graded by classes 1 through 6.
Class 1 is like when you dip your finger in and it ripples. Oooh! Aahh!
Class 2 is like the wave pool at Six Flags.
Class 3 is like sunshine and candy, but sometimes you get burned.
Class 4 is like jumping out of a plane with a parachute.
Class 5 is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute.
Class 6 is ... Google it.
So we made it. We flipped on a class 4, which wasn't too bad. Liz and I luckily grabbed hold of the boat and didn't get sucked under the water. The instructions Alex gave us before every rapid were to "GET DOWN and HOLD ONTO THE ROPE!" So that's what we did... or tried to. Other helpful tips were "Always hold onto your paddle. If you lose your paddle, you owe me 10 dollars for every time you lose it" and "WHEN our boat flips, hold on tight!" We then made it to the biggest rapid of the day, class 5. Alex told us, "This next wave... is called... death." Its real name is Silverback, which is pretty close to death. It was the longest rapid of the day. You will see it in the video below, as our raft goes vertical in the air. Liz and I both got ripped away from the boat and pulled under the water.
We were under for a looooonnnng time.
We made to the surface and a safety kyaker rescued us. When we looked back, we couldn't even see our raft and we had floated under the entire rapid. Luckily, a refugee raft was nearby and we climbed in.
They didn't flip.
Next was lunchtime! We leisurely rafted 6km for lunch through a croc pool (not as ominous as it sounds. We didn't see any) and enjoyed some fine Ugandan delicacies of pineapple and glucose biscuits. After lunchtime, we went down an 8 foot waterfall! We went through a couple smaller class 3 and 4s before making it to Itanda Falls, which we had to walk around. People go there to see it, not raft through it. Lastly, we had a choice.
The bad place
The other place.
The bad place is a class 6 rapid.
The other place is a convenient class 3.
Because our heads were full of water and nothing else, we chose to attempt the bad place. Yep. We were swallowed by the water. Liz just kept floating all the way to the end and got picked up by the same refugee boat from before. I made it out pretty fast and was pulled into another boat.
What a day.
Watch our video!