Don't get me wrong, I am NOT an adrenaline junkie. I don't do crazy stuff and I have always rated white water rafting as one of the crazy things I would NOT to do.
The husband (then boyfriend) has always wanted to shoot the rapids at Padas River in my lovely hometown, Kota Kinabalu. He has been asking me for YEARS to do it but somehow, I have always managed to dodge it with a billion excuses.
"I can't swimmmm," I'd screech.
"We don't have the time! Our trips to KK are usually very short!"
"No time, no time! We've got a lot of things to do!"
I had always hoped that he would find a friend to accompany him but regardless, it was his strict orders that I was to join them on their excursion as well. I wouldn't be a proper Sabahan if I didn't experience the Padas rapids. *grumble*
With a lot of apprehension despite Joanne telling me that it's OK even if I couldn't swim to save me chubby life, the day finally arrived and I couldn't escape it no more.
Monday, 7th November 2011.
We met outside Riverbug's office at 545am for the pick up. But we were late and they had already driven off. Thank goodness we managed to call up the manager who called the driver to return to pick us up.
The van brought us to Beaufort train station to catch the old locomotive train at 750am. The old locomotive was used in the last 19th century in Borneo.
It was nice and red, definitely retro!
It was a long ride and it was fun during the first 15minutes of the journey but after a while, we were tired.
We picked the cargo carriage to ride in. We stood at the entrance, feeling the wind gently caressing us while watching the scenery as the train rumbled by greens, the river and small villages.
We eventually sat on the floor after a while. No way were we going to stand for 2-3 hours!
We finally arrived at Rayoh Station to change into our swimsuit, tshirt and shorts and sandals before getting back onto the train to the starting point at Pangi Station.
This time, we grabbed a place to sit. Our delicate derriere(s) needed some cushion!
Upon arriving at the starting point, participants were divided into groups/rafts and we were briefed on what to do and what not to do.
Our raft consisted of one big gwailo called Stephen (whom I later learned was from England), a Chinese couple (from Hong Kong), YB, Foo and myself. YB and Stephen were made to sit in front, while the girl and I were seated in the middle, her partner and Foo behind.
There were a total of 4 rafts in our group.
I was getting edgy, silently freaking out as we slowly headed into the river.
I'm not a big fan of water sports.
I have a fear of drowning. *touch wood*
Unfortunately for me, the excursion by raft covers 9km of the muddy Padas River which should take almost 1.5hours or so.
(pic source from ITravelKaki)
Certain sections of the river has a different name for its rapids. If you think Scooby Doo was a delight, you're wrong.
The first person to fall out of the raft was YB. Stephen grabbed hold of him and I think I may have freaked out at that point.
At least there was one casualty. Nobody can say ours was a boring raft. :D
We paddled hard whenever required, and cruised at gentler rapids. There were instances when we would almost tip over, but somehow we managed to stay on board. I did advise everyone that should we lose grip of our seats at the sides of the raft, don't roll out of the raft but roll in instead. That way, we need not rescue anyone.
True to that, everyone would fall in each time we overcame a rapid!
Each time we went over huge waves, I'd tense and grip my paddle and the side of the raft as tight as possible.
Closed my eyes, too!
I didn't want the river water to irritate my eyes as I was wearing contacts.
The other girl was equally terrified as I was, but I think she was even more so. Her knuckles were white from gripping her paddle tight as if her life depended on it.
We arrived at the body rafting area where our lead guy (forgot whatshisname!) told us that if anyone wanted jump in to body raft, now was the time.
Stephen jumped in, followed by YB. Foo and I looked at each other and contemplated, "Should we??"
Foo then jumped in.
I got up and was about to jump in when the guy seated at the back (who manouvres us over and through rapids) shook his head at me.
"Lelaki sahaja," he advised. ("Men only.")
YB was gesturing me to hurry up and get into the water. I looked at him, and I looked at the guy.
The guy then grinned evilly and shrugged.
"Terpulang kepada kamu lah." ("Up to you then.")
I should have known there was something he wasn't telling me.
I jumped in and just before I could reach YB, the rapids took everyone away.
I found myself spinning and facing backwards, with my back facing the front. I tried to manouvre myself to body raft properly but struggled against the current.
The current pulled me down a couple of times and I gulped down some disgusting water. The minute I surfaced, waves would come crashing over me.
I hung on to my life jacket tightly, and tried to stay afloat.
It felt like a life long struggle in the waters. I tried not to panic, but instead, kept trying to surface while clinging to my life jacket. The life jacket was too big for me and I was afraid it would slip out and over my head.
Then the water was calm again. I could breathe again.
What seemed like forever was in probable fact just 3-5 minutes.
I screamed in frustration.
The raft came by to pick me up and I saw the guy laughing at me.
I was not amused.
But at least he thought I was brave. :D
The other 3 rafts cruised by with its passengers all intact.
It seemed like we were the only 4 people who opted to body raft. Everyone else was b-o-r-i-n-g. Hah!
The ride then continued on over the Washing Machine, Merry Go Round and something else. We were again allowed to body raft to the end point.
Without hesitation, the 4 of us jumped in again. This time, a few guys from the other rafts followed suit.
Some of them even had their swimming goggles on.
Eh, I think that's clever.
Finally, back on dry land.
No more crazy scary activities, please!
Back at Rayoh Station, we were invited to a small buffet for lunch. Everyone dug in, clearly hungry from the excursion.
Foo, the Pied Piper and the gang of black dogs.
The people of Riverbug are very enterprising. They had 2 photographers stationed at two different spots along the river to capture our photographs.
We were eager to purchase at least ONE picture for keepsake, but we were informed that no, you had to purchase the entire dvd of photos (of your raft) for RM100. Or was it RM120?
We mulled over the idea of forking out that much money.
Stephen and us agreed that perhaps we could share out the cost.
Waiting for the train to bring is to Pagoh Station to catch the locomotive back to Beaufort. We were knackered!
The train was hot and humid, with poor ventilation. Despite the heat, we dozed off in the train.
We arrived back in KK about 4-5pm and proceeded to Riverbug's office to settle the bill.
That's when YB and I realised we were in such a hurry that morning that we forgot to bring enough money.
Foo had to drive out to find the nearest available friend he could borrow money from in order to settle the bill for us first.
My adventures with my husband never fails to include some hilarity of some kind.
It's a good thing we could rely on Foo to help us out.
And here are just 3 photos I selected for your viewing pleasure.
For the excursion, we were charged about RM200 per person which I thought was rather steep. I'm not sure if you are able to get anything cheaper than that, but I hope so!
We were lucky that we managed to make a last minute decision (the day before) to make our bookings. Maybe it wasn't peak period.
Anyhow, now that this is out of the way, can we go and climb Mt Kinabalu via ferrata please?
Other write ups:
Fondue Of Life