River Name: Derwent
River Level: Low
Number of Participants: 29
What a great day!
James was already all over the organisation when I arrived at the sheds with my second carload of rafters. With plenty of willing hands we got the gear stowed and everyone organised super fast, with only a slight delay while I worked out how to organise the carpool. Was exciting to see so many rafts packed including Big Bertha, the green SOTAR.
After a snack stop and final discussion about plans for the day at New Norfolk we were at the put-in point in short order. I displayed expert level trailer reversing skills by repeatedly putting the trailer in exactly the spot I wasn’t aiming for then James did his best to get everyone to stow their dry clothes in the wrong cars, I pointed this out and then managed to accidentally double down on those instructions… But we did eventually get this cleared up and gear put in the right places!
After the car shuffle all the rafters were geared up, we went through the safety brief then put in, my raft leading the way… directly on to shallow rocks. Derwent was running a little low it turned out. After some shuffling we were in the river!!
My crew caught on to the paddling strokes and commands nice and quick, so I thought some practice rescues were in order. Those who know me should be reassured that I was the one to jump out. Well, the first two times anyway… But the warm weather meant everyone was happy to spend time in the water. The other rafts caught up to us while we were swimming and chaos ensued as everyone in the water tried to get everyone else in the water.
With some white water approaching all the new rafters got some good practice getting back into rafts/pulling other people in. I think they’ll get faster with colder water – that always gets me jumping back in the raft faster at least!
Next time we got to flat water I got a funny feeling… like I was being watched… I turned and found a raft whose guide shall remain nameless trying to sneak up on me! They had mischief in their eyes and were paddling fast. Luckily we were able to escape and needless to say I watched Janina’s [not to self hide name before publishing] crew pretty closely for the rest of the day.
We stopped for a scout and a chat before the second rapids and organised a photo shoot (the source of the great snaps James posted on the facebook page. You can juuuuust see my helmet.). Nearly all the rafters were keen to swim the rapid too which as well as being great fun was good experience for them staying calm and keeping in the white water rafting position while going through a rapid.
All good things must end and it wasn’t long before the trip was over. Sadly we had to say goodbye to James at that point so he could go to work – thank you for running the trip! The rafters impressed me with how quickly they could get rafts rolled and stowed for first-timers, then we headed to the park for lunch. Warwick ducked out to grab eats, I cracked the barrel of drinks and Lee took control of the BBQ.
We ate and lounged around, ate some more, then headed back to the sheds. Again I was impressed and pleased with how ready the new rafters were to get stuck in and get stuff done. Fantastic attitude that makes running these trips so much easier. It felt like only a few short minutes later before it was time to say goodbye.
Personally I had an excellent day and I hope everyone else did too! I’m looking forward to the next trip with all these new people.