Water is not our natural habitat. We are usually fonder of firm grounds. So when faced with water, there are those who shiver at the thought of spending hours under unpredictable conditions. After all, whitewater rafting offers just that - unpredictability. The waters, the rapids, the rocks and the occasional snakes will make a reasonable man to think twice before trying this activity.
Albeit all those hazards, our guide at Kagay assured us that safety is still their paramount concern so they taught us the basics of rafting like locking of feet, forward paddling, back paddling as well as what to do in case our boat flipped over. They told us that if we fell from the raft within 3 feet, a paddle will be used to reach us. If we fell within five to ten feet, a rope will be thrown to us. But if we fell beyond ten feet, they will just pray and wish us good luck!
Kiddin' aside all your fears and apprehension will disappear after conquering the first rapid. You just have to follow your guide when he shouts "Lock your feet, paddle as hard as you can, shut your mouth!" When we hit the first rapid, it was like time stood still then the wave of the cold water washed over our entire body and when the shaking stops, a shout of joy will fill the place. Yahoo!!! One down, thirteen more to go. Fear is replaced by anticipation.
White water rafting is Cagayan De Oro's main tourist draw. It is a stress reliever in a natural way. It is very enjoyable for the thrills and it is also a good way to relax. You cant do rafting alone, You need at least six people on each raft who needs to paddle in unison so it promotes team building. Plus, the three hour ride is not all rapids. In calmer spots, you could dip in cool waters or just enjoy the scenery. And more importantly, the stretches of calm can provide you with ample time to recharge and relax before you face another challenging rapids that awaits.
What have I learned? Sometimes, or rephrase that, oftentimes, fears are unreasonable. Once you have embraced that fear, you will find yourself laughing at the thought that you used to be crippled by the sound of rushing waves splashing on rocks, that you couldn't even imagine yourself to be in the middle of it. After all, I came out alive and with all my limbs intact. That is what white water rafting in a river can do for you - a clearer mindset revealing that in harsh times, let loose and paddle on.
Note: All photos taken by our guide, Cagayan De Oro's premiere white water rafting outfitter Kagay.
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