White Water Rafting and Bungee Jumping Andes Style

Trip Start Aug 25, 2008
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16
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Trip End Dec 16, 2008


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Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Thursday, September 18, 2008

Today´s adventure was whitewater rafting in the Andes and Bungee jumping!

It was actually completely unplanned.  I went down to find a coffee this morning and was talking to a British girl.  Finally she told me "Well, I have to run - I´m going white water rafting today and they´re picking me up in 5 minutes."

"That sounds fun."  I said. 

"You should come with.  There might be room. Go grab a swim suit and some cash!"

5 minutes later we were off! The group was myself, the British girl, two medical students from France, two Swedish girls, and a couple British guys.  We piled into a land cruiser with a rubber raft strapped to the roof and started heading into the mountains. 

It was gorgeous - we headed for Lake Dique, a man-made reservoir, and one of the most picturesque spots I´ve ever seen.  The Andes tower thousands of feet straight out of the water.  Surrounding the lake are gorgeous homes, spas and fancy resorts all capitalizing on the views.

Our destination, however, was the raging river at the bottom of the dam on the other side.

Technically, the rapids were all Class II and III, so I figured they'd be tame compared to the Class III, IV, and V rapids I've done in Colorado and West Virginia - but there were two big differences.  The rivers run faster in the Andes.  A LOT faster.  And the rapids are longer. A LOT longer.

I think our boat was going fast enough to water-ski!  

Our guide was bound and determined to make sure everyone got as wet as possible - he'd see a 4 foot standing wave and hit it straight on.  The raft would lurch up and almost become airborne until it tipped down, crashing into the hole on the other side and soak everyone!  I was in the front, so I got especially wet. 

The only problem we had was that our guide would shout directions such as "Right side - Paddle Backwards.  Left side - Paddle Forward!  Right Back, Left Forward!"  (In English). 

The French doctors obviously were having problems translating "Back" "Forward" "Left" and "Right" under stressful conditions and were constantly paddling the wrong way and banging oars - but I found it really funny.

After a few hours of flying down shoots, we were off to the second part of the trip - Bungee jumping!

The bridge over the lake had a bungee platform, and for $25 you could leap off.  Below is the video if you want to hear me scream like a little girl.

One of the Swedish girls went right before me, and the guys asked "do you want to dunk your head in the water?".  She said "No - just long enough for my fingers to touch the water, please".

My Spanish is getting better - and I heard the Bungee guy say (in Spanish) "How much does she weigh?" 

"55Kg."  

"OK. Give her 5 notches (of length in the bungee cord)."

Our rafting guide then said (in Spanish) "Go ahead and give her 6 - she's already been wet today."

And the Swedish girl got a HUGE surprise as half of her body plunged into the water.  Although she didn't think it was as funny as the rest of us did...  

Next up: Paragliding
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Where I stayed
Backpackers Hostel

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