|Ok firstly, for Emma's mum, please dont worry Emma is in fact alive but we did have a bit of a scary experience
Secondly, for all those people out there who know us, i promise that we are not exaggerating this story at all, i know we have a tendency to do this when telling tales but i promise that this entry is 100% factually accurate
Ok so as Emma mentioned at the end of the last entry, we were off White water rafting a couple of days ago...i of course was terrified but that was more about trying to get into yet another wetsuit than the actual rafting.
So we turn up at the raft base and get put on the raft with 4 Maori women...now mental imagery is needed here..imagine the 'all blacks'..big strong Maori men..the women are exactly the same, just as scary but probably a couple of stone heavier...for god sake they made me look like anorexic if you know what i mean. Anyway to balance the weight out they put a few in front of Em and i on the raft and a few behind us. We also had a guide at the front and at the back so we were feeling pretty safe tucked into the middle. THen we got on the water and were informed that we were about to go down the highest waterfall possible to raft down in the world..nothing like a challenge for your first ever rafting experience huh? 22ft high and surging white water...not pretty
They gave us all the 'safety' tips and what we had to do was paddle as fast as we could up to the waterfall (bit like a car doing a jump, the faster it goes the more chance it has of landing the other side) then our guide would shout 'get down' and you have to grab hold of the outside of the boat with one hand (with a paddle in your hand) and jump into a ball in the bottom of the boat and hold on for dear life there..we practiced it a million times and em as the tiniest was the quickest at it and jumped right down into that hollow.
So the drop is approaching and we are all shaking and the raft before us goes off and tips over which does nothing for our nerves but the people on the other boat hold onto the raft and climb safely back on.
Its now our turn so we shout this maori prayer (which had me in hysterics) and off we go...we're paddling like demons and then he shouts 'GET DOWN' so Em is first down and we all jump down and then we are off the edge of the waterfall..next thing i know we have hit the bottom of the waterfall with such force that the whole raft tilts forward and i am face down in the water with the raft on top of me blocking my way to the surface...i manage to shove myself out from under the raft and come up for air..then the current bashes me off some rocks and i see our guides desperately swimming after the raft which is heading up stream..they grab it and scream at us to swim for it and jump back on (please realise that at this point i am swimming fully clothed, with a helmet on, holding a paddle and trying to ignore the current..it was impossible) eventually i get to the boat and they drag me back on and i start looking around for Emma..but she's not there
So i start counting everyone in the water, and she's not there, so i start screaming at the guide that Emma is still under the water and he;s like 'no all 5 of us are here' so i start screaming that there were 6 of us not 5 of us...im terrified as seriously Emma is no where to be seen.
Basically what had happened to Em is that when we were about to go off the waterfall at the top and the guide had screamed 'get down' Emma had been first down..then the humoungous maori woman in front of Emma had thrown herself into the bottom of the boat and the force of is had thrown emma out...like some sort of see saw...Poor Emma was in the water before we had even gone over but as we were all in the bottom of the boat we hadnt noticed. So she got thrown down the 22ft waterfall on her own with no protection,no boat or anything. Then when she got to the bottom she was trapped in the rip of the waterfall. Apparently she kept just spinning round and round at the bottom of the waterfall and every so often she got a glimpse of the sky but the force of all the water kept pushing her back down.
Luckily the boat who had gone off before us could see what had happened and were trying their hardest to paddle up stream to get to her..one of the girls later told us that they kept just seeing Emma's top and then her shoes tumbling and tumbling round and they couldnt get to her..
Eventually Emma couldnt hold her breathe anymore and she said her lungs started burning so she went to take a breathe underwater and seriously thought she was dying..the minute she did that her body relaxed and the life jacket kicked in and brought her to the surface..the other boat grabbed her and hauled her to safety.
Meanwhile i am still screaming at our guides that she isnt in the water, he is about to jump in to find her when the other boat shouts she;s with them
It was the scariest experience ever, but Emma now has the best story to tell whenever we meet people in new hostels..its become a running joke on our bus that if its ever silent em will jump in with her 'i nearly died yesterday'
Oh yeah, then when we are back on dry land we find out that someone from another tour group actually died the day before, they hadnt wanted to tell us as they thought it would worry us..damn right it would have i wouldnt have got on the boat!
But i have to admit that apart from that mishap it really was brilliant fun and i would do it again tomorrow..not so sure about Em though as she has been having nightmares about drowning ever since bless her!
So yesterday we did a leisurely horse trek to calm our nerves at Lake Taupo which is just stunning (the lake is the same size as Singapore) and now we are in Wellington which is quite possible the most beautiful city ihave ever seen...its a mixture of the beauty of sydney with the culture of Melbourne..perfect!
Then tomorrow we jump back on the bus and head back on up to Auckland before flying off to Bali
Will keep you posted
love to you all
p.s this is a little added extra from Emma just to let you know that i was actually under the water for over a minute -thought i could see the light guiding me to heaven...but realised it was actually just the sky!!!! BRILLIANT experience though!!!!