Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kampar - Part 2 - WWR

A bad case of insomnia again. This is what happens when you don't have any commitments during the day. And my books... well, we maintain only a casual relationship.

Anyway, as promised, that second half of my Kampar trip.

White-water rafting (WWR) (noun): a challenging recreational activity using a raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on whitewater or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers.

After coming out of Gua Tempurung, basically we had just enough time to clean ourselves up a bit and take with us whatever stuff necessary, before being ushered into a van which will take us off-road and further into Kampar rural areas towards Sg Kampar. I think the ride took up 10 - 15 minutes (?) going through rubber plantations, passing by some villages as well as other camp sites in the area. We were heading towards RIVERBUG base camp, right beside Sg Kampar, where lunch was provided. And I cannot stress on how much all of us were looking forward to this. Food!

Lunch was a simple affair: rice and some lauk. They definitely didn't skimp out on us, and there were enough for seconds. Ate, stretched our legs, and into the van again, where they'll be transporting us to the main 'launch' site. I think the ride was a bit longer this time around. Could've been 20 - 30 minutes? Wouldn't know cuz I fell asleep. Ahh... the bane of carbohydrates.

By the time we reached the site, there were a smattering of rain already, but nothing biggie. In fact, everyone were getting themselves excited. Rain meant higher water level, and higher water level meant more fun! We went ahead to get ourselves strapped on with life jackets and safety helmets, and get hold of a paddle, as if it is all routined, without much of an instruction from Reha or any of the guides there. Then the briefing with Maxxy (yes, our utterly cute guide). Have I mentioned that it started pouring rain at this point?

We could hardly hear Maxxy with the instructions over the din of the rain. But basically, he covered with us the seating arrangements, safety procedures, how to paddle, how to respond to code words, what to do if you go overboard, what to do if the raft flips, what to expect at different rapid levels... yadda yadda yadda... not that I was paying much attention though (kidding!).

Afterwards, we split ourselves up into teams of 5. Of course, it would be advisable to have a raft with a good mix of girls and guys, but my friends and I wanted to stick together. So they let us be, with a promise that we would pull our weights with the paddling work. And... we were even sly enough to get Maxxy as our raft master.

And so... under the weight of the heavy rain, we trudged on ahead to the river, where our respective raft and raft master awaits. Ours were the last to 'launch', and we had a run-through with Maxxy on the paddling techniques, how to respond when he shouts out "Boomboom!" (trust me... it's not something you'd want to hear), and learnt how to 'High-5' with our paddles.

In the beginning, we kept a pretty tight space between the rafts as we maneuvered through some level 1 rapids. But we didn't expect to hear "Boomboom!" so soon though, as we braced ourselves for a pretty rough ride. It was rough alright and we even got ourselves stuck in between some rocks and had water flooding into the raft! Two of the girls sitting at back (I wanted to be the 'macho' one so opted to sit up-front) were struggling to wade through the water, and one person even went overboard! The boat was tipping precariously to flipping over, and we had to pull our weights to the front of the boat in order to get ourselves 'untangled' from the rocks. Of course, rescue mission was nothing but swift, and our 'girl-overboard' was rescued by another raft before being returned to us, albeit a little unwillingly at this point. She was convinced that it was all a conspiracy to scare her out of her wits.

Shortly after this incident, we came to our pit-stop, where we docked our rafts and went swimming! I must admit that it has been awhile since the last time I swam in a river. And the water was so cool... and we were all still wearing our lifejackets, so it was nice just floating about.

Taking a dip.

We got on the raft soon after, in high spirits. Despite being a bit shaken up by the near-flipping-over incident, we were pumped up with the adrenaline rush. And I think from this point onwards, our raft was the most kecoh of the lot. Maxxy was more than willing to kecoh along with us.

The ride onwards were pretty smooth. We had a few more "Boomboom!"s but we were more than prepared for it. And we were getting pretty good at listening to Maxxy's instructions and actually responding to it (much to his relief). There were no further drama beyond this that I could think of, although another raft had another case of man-overboard. After going through a series of rapids, we finally went to cruising mode. All the rafts started going on their own pace now, instead of keeping up as a group. I'd have to say that we had the best raft master on board, as Maxxy was game enough with our pleas to travel slower. We even took a few turns jumping off the raft, and went body-surfing down the river. Of course, getting back onthe raft was another problem entirely.

Finally, we reached our docking point. Can't believe the entire ride took-up almost 2 hours though, because it felt like a matter of minutes! But it was such a great experience. Definitely up for more (challenging?) WWR in the future. I've set my eyes on Kuala Kubu and Slim River next.

By the time we got back to our cars, it was 630pm. The facilities at Gua Tempurung had already closed for the day, so we decided to head to Tapah RnR to get ourselves clean-up and change into dry clothes. Of course, we couldn't leave Kampar without more cam-whoring though. Further madness ensues. Especially now that we're still high with adrenaline.

Beware! Monkeys crossing ahead.

Japanese engineering + fun outgoing peeps = one unforgetable roadtrip

Making use of the hairdryer at Tapah RnR

Best way to unwind: teh tarik & steamy buns


Eddie said...

Nampak gayanya mcm lagi banyak update blog dr baca buku ni....

a.i.n.u.n said...

Guilty as charged. camne ni? my books pun nak berkulat dah.