White water rafting conjures images of power, people fighting the strengths of the rapids being pounded into rocks, spinning, trying to keep the raft from tipping, arms flailing, people gripping to the raft trying to hold on some even falling into the raging water being swept down the river. These are for the experts, the extreme adventurer who tackle the highest grade 5 rapids luckily not all white water rafting is like this and Bali has the perfect river for you.
Telega Waja river which in Indonesian means beautiful is surrounded by lush green forest, staircase rice fields and two waterfalls tumble into the river. The scenery is amazing with the only noise of the gushing rapids and the chirping of birds. What is striking is how peaceful it is compared to the tourist driven southern Bali.
The river was very clear and quite shallow with it being dry season in Bali. The lack of rain probably lowered the grading of the rapids but in general the rapids are graded a 3.5.
The three of us scrambled onto the raft. I was positioned at the front of the raft, my son and wife in the middle with the guide at the back. We were expecting others to fill up the remaining positions on the raft but what I liked about the tour was that it was very personalized as we had the raft to ourselves.
At first I was a bit apprehensive about my son but after I saw that he was enjoying it and not scared I could settle down and relax in paradise as well as help with the paddling. With directions of paddle left, paddle right, stop, hands up and boom which meant that we were going to hit a wall or rock, we laughed with excitement as we flowed down the river.
As we entered the first major rapids, my stomach churned with butterflies as we were swirled around, bumping into rocks each time we shrieked “BOOM”. Major rapid number one conquered, we slapped our oars together giving what is known as the rafters high-five.
Two hours we paddled, spinning, turning, knocking into rocks I felt like we had been put inside a washing machine, sometimes we were wedged between rocks and the shallow water, this was just the washing machine changing cycles and soon enough we forced ourselves out of the rocks and down the river.
What I liked was the down time between some of the rapids, In all of the exhilaration of fighting with the rapids you forget that you are surrounded by pristine landscapes of the deepest green ferns, palm trees and rice fields. That you stop at a waterfall that’s nearly 20 metres high to take a break, talk about what you have experienced with others and then prepare you for what’s to come.
The climax, the big bang “just down the river is a four metre drop” the guide casually said. Four metres! We will fall out for sure I thought but we paddled on listening intently to the words of the guide. The force of the water building, the raft moving quickly as it sped up, “Stop paddling” shouted the guide. The raft kept speeding up I could see the drop just metres in front of us. The water rushing down I remembered what the guide said lean back, legs up, there was nowhere to go except dooooooooowwwwnnnnn.
Have you been white water rafting? We would love to hear about your experience.