Hellen Keller once said, “Life is a daring adventure or nothing at all”.
We live in a wonderful world filled with exciting things to see and do. Life is meant to be lived to the fullest and by living life includes taking risks and daring yourself to explore and savour new experiences anywhere and everywhere life takes you.
What was the most exciting, adrenaline fuelled, emotion-filled adventure in your life?
I’d have to say mine was the Palayangan river rafting adventure at Situ Cileungca, Pangalengan, in Bandung. Days before the trip, I googled the location and saw great, stunning action packed photographs of the adventure. I had never been on a river rafting before, so I knew this would be exciting.
Before the rafting adventure, we were taught of safety measures and commands on how to work it as a group. The orientation took a while as we were all cheering and laughing. Most of us were beginners and we were so excited for this adventure. After the safety orientation and prayer, it was time to step into the raft and start the journey.
There were six of us in the raft, including our guide. Our guide was a small, skinny man and that actually made me a bit hesitant. In my mind, I was thinking of how this man could possibly save all of us in case our raft turns upside down? However, left with no choice, I trusted him. I knew he is experienced and well trained so he surely is acquainted and aware of the possible obstacles along the way.
I adjusted my helmet, tighten my vest, and glanced excitingly at the rolling, churning river in front of me. When we climbed into the raft, I honestly had mixed emotions – I was excited but nervous I wasn’t scared until our guide told us to ‘ berdoa dulo” (say a prayer to God first). I was scared of being thrown overboard, colliding with rocks, getting bruises, and other worst case scenarios I could think of. Nonetheless, I trusted God that he would protect us and keep us safe. One more final instructions and the river took us to one of the most memorable adventure in my life.
As we navigate through the waters, large rocks that seemingly appear from nowhere tried to snag our raft. There was no one paddling except for our tour guide. Well, I was also surprised about that and at first I didn’t understand why bringing a paddle was optional because I really thought it was vitally important to maintain stability of the raft. Little did I know bringing a paddle would cause us more harm than safety as the rapid waters push us to and fro.
We were enjoying the calm area of the river and the beautiful scenery along the way when the guide suddenly shouted ‘BOOM!’ (This is a command for leaning in, heads down, hold firmly to the rope, squat on the raft’s floor. If executed correctly, this should keep you in the raft.) I gripped firmly into the rope, squatted, and waited for what was going to happen next.
A waterfall awaits us!
In a blink of an eye, we went vertically down the waterfall, dumping all of us in the rushing water. It was as if the world stopped for a second. I have no clue what just happened. Then I realized I was still alive! I thought I fell out of the raft as I could feel the raging waters fell heavily on my back! But no, I was right there, in the raft. Sadly though, my friend Dicey got her chin cut. She accidentally bumped into my helmet. We had to stop for a while and got her first aid. One of the aides handed us crushed leaves to help stop the bleeding.
After the first aid treatment, we continued the journey. We have still a long way to go. We stopped at the rest area for some snacks, water, and of course rest. The crew there also gave Docey bondage for her cut.
We really never know what lies around the bend of the river. One moment you’re enjoying the swirls of the river and admiring the scenic view, the next time you are stuck in between rocks, with the water coming down from waterfall filling your raft.
When this happened to us, the guide told us to not panic, although I did. But yeah, panicking is a waste of time. In my mind, I keep on praying that we will get through it. Then our guide commanded us to get up and threw all our weight to the other side of the raft, until we were finally fine. An aide also arrived and pulled our raft downstream. By that time I think the guide just wanted us to go for an unplanned swim or drink the water from the river!!! Trust the experts, they say. Yes, the guides knew exactly how to handle any type of situation encountered while on the river.
We had quite a lot of exhilarating ‘BOOM’ moments! Amidst all the terrifying rocks and wild waters, it was so much fun that we still managed to shout and smile through the splashes of the water and through the flashes of the camera we never knew where. What a pure adventure that was!
The moment we get to the end of the adventure, with eyes closed and a grateful heart, I thanked God for his protection. On the way back to Jakarta, we had so many stories to tell. What a memorable, adventure-fuelled Palayangan river rafting – truly a ride of a lifetime.