Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Rafting, AKA the day I may have confused whiplash with a near-death experience

Once upon a time, there was a girl who could not swim very well. She decided to go rafting down the Tully River in Australia. Her and a friend booked in for what is known as "extreme rafting", which means the boat leaders do all they can to get participants in the water screaming their dear heads off. Why the girl decided to go extreme rafting is a mystery to this very day. She obviously never looked at footnotes four and five of this Wikipedia entry.

They were taken, along with about 15 other fair maidens and town folk, to the river, which is in northern Queensland. They were given all the right equipment for the voyage. A man, who in retrospect may have been mentally unhinged, gave them instructions for the day ahead. It all sounded like jolly good fun, the girl thought.

The water was very cold and the rapids were furious. Shivering was constant and the ongoing, immediate threat of having her teeth knocked out by a fellow rafter was a little burdensome. Such buffoonery was taking place in the other boats. But hey ho! She thought. The inpatient on day release who had distributed the rules was mischievous, pushing people off the sides of the dinghies when they were not looking and giving the local court jester a run for his money.

After lunch of some hearty cow and meaningless grog, the rafters set upon their journey once again. The crazy fellow leading the group pointed to a giant rock. Look! It's a giant rock from which we can jump! The whole group was mightily enthused. And little did she know, the girl was about five minutes away from what later turned out to be really rather bad whiplash and a hard lesson in never giving into peer pressure.

She jumped. Being only quite small, the height of the rock was frightening. And by accident, she jumped in a somewhat odd position, hitting the surface of the water with a loud - so loud it is possible the next town heard - smack. This is odd, she thought. There is severe pain in my shoulder and head. Be there a brick wall, rather than water, she pondered? No, it is water, and she faked wellness while climbing back on to the raft. Dizziness and intense throbbing followed all day and throughout the twilight hours. Be this my last sleep, she wondered? After all, concussion has been known to silently precede an even quieter death. With no method of telegram or carrier pigeon, she set her rooster to wake her up in the small hours of the morning, to check death had not arrived. But thankfully it had not, and she lived to see another day.

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