Exams and then we go…White Water Rafting

This may seem like a strange combination of activities but it was a terrific mix for GHS this year. After the students wrote their period 2 exams in the morning, a number of us decided that we needed a break before continuing the preparation for period 1 exams the following day. White Water Rafting felt like the perfect diversion, so, off we went.

Students and staff alike were feeling a little trepidation as we boarded the van and headed to Kaituna Cascades for our grade 5 white-water experience on the Kaituna River. This river has been billed as one of New Zealand’s “most exciting and beautiful rivers”. It did not disappoint. Upon arrival, we quickly donned helmets and life jackets and then loaded into our rafts onshore to practice our paddling and our “get down” manoeuver. This company put a priority on safety as we were about to take on the 7-metre Tutea Falls, the “highest commercially rafted waterfall” in the world (at least so says the literature). And we were glad they did.

Then on to the river…our courage was largely intact but I admit to feeling some apprehension. Nevertheless, we gathered up our courage, boarded the raft and set out for our adventure. A couple of relatively tame rapids and then two smaller waterfalls allowed us to do some more practicing and then we were deemed ready for the “BIG ONE”. And it was BIG!!!!!!!!!!

Both of our boats headed over the edge, both did some significant tipping, but both landed safely at the bottom of the waterfall. The only casualty was Nicole, who was tossed from the boat into the river and then rescued by the kayakers who were shadowing us to keep us safe. There really never was any danger.

On through some more rapids and then our guides suggested that we jump out of the boats, stand on a rock ledge and then swim, one by one, over a smaller waterfall. This time Kathy was the only casualty. While it felt like a near drowning experience, it really was just a lot of fun. The students were the stars of the show, the only casualty among them was Maddie’s paddle (which we actually never did find)!

Some more rafting and then, a short hour after our boats hit the water, we were finished. This really felt like a “must do” activity for both adrenaline junkies and first-time rafters.