July 9, 2005.
After setting up camp the night before, we had breakfast and headed up out of the campsite to the main building where we would be kitted out with wetsuits, dry jackets, helmets and shoes to make the most of our day rafting down the JÃ¶kulsÃ¡ Austari (East Glacial River – SkagafjÃ¶rÃ°ur). What a day it would be!
When we were kitting up, I managed to grab shoes that were a size or two too small and didn’t really notice that till we were a little away so I spent most of the time curling my toes in to try to make not so tight! That however did not put a damper on the day as I had a total blast! The river is graded an IV by most sources which means that it isn’t really for pansies.
We trooped up to the launch site on a big old bus which at times felt like it wasn’t going to make it round the bends or up the hills but after driving for a while we made it to the launch site we were given some morning tea and were instructed in paddling techniques and safety procedures before getting put in teams and getting introduced to our guides. One of the great things about our guides been Nepalese meant that English was the primary language spoken during the day with the guides shouting back and forth to each other in Nepalese. It is hard to describe the day in words other to say than it was utterly amazing and I would love to do it again!
We had fun going down rapids, laughing and cheering other boats on as went through tricky bits and then cheering for ourselves when we managed to get to the end of the trip without having capsized our boat. The guides threatened to do it on purpose as all the other boats had turned over at one stage or another but in the end they didn’t.
Part way down the river we stopped at a little “beach” and those who wanted to were able to get out and climb up a rocky outcrop (4-6m above the water depending on where you jumped from) and jump into the water below. I was more than happy to lie back on the raft in the sun and watch Matthew, Karl and the rest of the crew jump.
When we reached quieter sections of the river it was fun to watch the guides who were in kayaks showing off doing Eskimo Rolls and other little tricks.
Then after some more paddling, cascades, rapids and other fun stuff we reached the end 🙁 Where we were greeted with cups of steaming hot meat soup 🙂 and the ride back to BakkaflÃ¶t feeling a little damp 🙁 After arriving back at BakkaflÃ¶t and getting out of our kit, we headed over to the hot tub and heated pool for some fun 🙂 and then onto a dinner of pylsur (hot dogs) and drinks for those who were not driving later on (i.e everyone but me). 🙂 I did however had a sip of Ã?sdÃs’s sister’s Pear Cider which was yum with a capital Y and a capital U and a capital M. After sitting round the campsite eating, talking, playing with cameras, listening to music, Matthew and I jumped in the Micra, hit the road and drove the 100 odd km to Akureyri where we crawled into bed at the Youth Hostel after a loooong day.
I have no photos of the rafting trip because it wasn’t really somewhere to take my camera but I do have photos from the time we spent sitting round the campsite that evening. The first two are taken by Matthew and I think the last one was by me.