This will be my last white water rafting (at Grade 4 river that is -> confirmed!).
The sisters promised they’ll not badger me anymore..
Because they got freaked out themselves! Hahahahaa…
Can’t blame them at all because they didn’t google and find out how it was like before going. They didn’t have any clue. What they had is just an experience on Grade 1-2 river 3 years ago, which was fun, fun, fun – that, i must agree. But not Padas. Period.
the gang i went with – 26 of us altogether!
The journey there was a good one. 2.5 hours was spent in the car.. travelling all the way from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom, passing Crocker Range almost half the way. I didn’t get to see much unfortunately because i was uncomfortably dozing on and off more than half the journey. What i vaguely remember is the mountains, the mist and the clouds. You cannot possibly miss that out definitely.
After our lunch break at Tenom, we were on the move again. This time, the cars got abandoned. We hopped right onto the train which still goes chooo choooooooooooooo~!
Some of the girlsss.. and the sisters, while waiting for the train
Here comes our choo chooooo train ~
yes, i sat down with my legs dangling out on a moving train! 1 word – FUN! kaypoh Darcy wanna knee me!
can you tell which is mine? ^_^
THE Padas river~ TEH TARIK!! Eeewwww!
The safety briefing was not like the 2 briefings i had before at both KKB and Gopeng. This briefing was a serious one. Like really serious.. which took half an hour at least! This was when the sisters realized how serious Grade 4 river is.
Grade 1 – confirm will not capsize. children are welcome onboldren still can go.
Grade 2 – a little more thrilling. children still can go.
Grade 3 – 50% might get capsized. children? Not advisable.
Grade 4 – 50% might get capsized. children? DON’T play play ah!
Grade 5 – 100% sure to capsize. Not open to public. Only professionals.
And Padas is between grade 3-4. They say, Padas is world class!
There are 3 rapids that are graded at level 4 and the rest are at grade 3 – quite a number of them!
Shaun, while being the youngest in our raft, happened to be the fittest and strongest. Like really awesome strong, i tell ya! Of course, being young and all.. he anticipated excitedly on getting capsized! Rapids after rapids, he’d try to bounce on the front of the raft, hoping to get the boat capsized.. I was literally like this –> O.O”"” !!!!!!!!!
But i guess having his videocam strapped safely on his own helmet -he’s a avid mountain biker – somehow contributed a little to his anticipation.
all ready to go!!!!!!
Strangely, this time.. there were no butterflies in the stomach before i hopped onto the raft, unlike my previous 2 experiences. I was very certain that i’d get those ridiculous butterflies you know, given how nervous i was whenever i thought of this excursion!
Our first rapid grade 4 – the3EWhy cobra?
Because the waves are shaped like one, like a cobra head facing us.. waiting to swallow us all in!
Just before the Cobra, our guide stopped next to the bank and told me, yes ME (!) to jump into the river to demonstrate certain must do!! Ugh. Of all people, me!! I protestedtext-align: left;”>And Padas is between grade 3-4. They but to no avail. Bleah. Very reluctantly, i jumped into the river and got my first taste of the teh tarik. Lol.
Then i was made to push myself up to the raft in view of everyone, just in case we get capsized and needed to get back into the raft quickly before the next rapid comes. Just as before, attempts to press and push myself up onto the raft as glamorously as the guys didn’t work out for me. Dang!
I is no strong. I have no arms strength.
Instead,ously onto the raft.. eg; my face pressed down on the raft and legs high up in the air with my raftmateamorously onto the raft.. eg; my face pressed down on the raft and legs high up in the air with my raftmates pulling my life jacket, trying to get me into the raft.
SOoooOOooo MALU-fying!!! -__-
Barely after my first terrifying (fine, not terrifying, more like humiliating!) episode, the next one came within minutes.
One needs to see it to really feel it. The feeling.. oh gosh… was simply indescribable. I saw the rapids and i got sick in the stomach immediately. It was bloody scary!!!!!!!!
When we went nearer, i knew we’d be doomed for sure. Like really sure. Seriously.. HOW TO PADDLE????!?!?!??! But we did. Paddle kuat kuattttttt, we were asked. However, as we inched nearer, i saw how powerful Cobra was, Cobra.. which was at least 5-6 feet high from my eye level!
By then, it was too late.
Too late to say, i wanna alight!!!
I knew we WILL get capsized and within that second, after whispering “OH MY GOD”, all of us got thrown into that rapid. Yes, into that freaking scary Cobra rapid!!
I couldn’t recall what happened exactly. Everything happened too quickly for you to realize what had just took place. The next thing i knew was water.. lots of water and i was in the water. I drank quite a bit. At least half a litre i reckon but i managed to keep calm and consciously told myself not to try to get to the surface as instructed (non-swimmers have this advantage). I also have to consciously tell myself not to breathe as well.. in order not to drink more water or worst, get choked.
Amidst all that, i was still hanging on to my dear ol’ paddle. I almost wanted to let it go with all the strugglings i went through. After all, having both of my hands freed will make me feel a lot more secure than hanging on to the paddle while trying very hard not to hit any of my raftmates just in case they were nearby!
But i persisted.. after much thoughts.
Funny how much we can think in and do in that few secxt second i knew, i surfaced and was gasping for air, go: left;”>The seconds flew by in a blurry state… and the next second i knew, i surfaced and was gasping for air, got choked and drank more water! @$^&*$@!!!!
Face all wet and breathe, of course lah!
Before i could finish coughing and wipe away the water on my face to take my next breath, more rapids!!!! And into the water i went (again). By then, i was all worn out. I just want my O2 dammmitttt!!!
Thankfully, the rapids were back to Grade 1 then and i could see most of my raftmates and Darcy, much to my relief, but the bobbing in and out of the water didn’t stop. Grade 1 or Grade 4, i was still in the rapid. But i managed to body surf but i did it the wrong way – we are supposed to face forward, not backwards! After i corrected myself, breathing became harder because when the wave hit, it hit right smack onto my face. Grrrr…
By the time i swam over to the nearest raft and got rescued – more scrambling! eesshh – most of my raftmates were up already, in our very own raft. It was just the sister and i on the wrong raft which was very much at the front. Guess we were thrown quite far off.
Again, to get back to our own raft before the next rapid, i had to jump into the river and do the very un-glam scrambling up!! Aiyoohhhh! The raftmates were like, what??????!?!?! you again ah??!?! >.<
The mood in the raft was a different one this time as i scrambled safely onto my designated seat. I felt the fear, the somberness. Getting capsized at grade 4 rapid is no joke. My second sister almost drown. She shed a tear or 2. When asked who saved her in the end? God, she answered. To her, the young guide who pulled her up at the point where she was giving in – she couldn’t surface :( – was her God. Without him, the sister might have just gone like that.
It was that scary. I ain’t pulling your leg man. Like i mentioned, one really needs to get down to it to feel what we all felt. For the first time, i saw fear in Darcy’s face. That man, i tell you.. is not afraid of anything! Never cried and was never scared.
Anyway, gearing up for our next grade 4 rapid was unforgettable as well.
With a name like “Washing Machine”, how to not be afraid??????????
The second sister who was in front of me, chickened out everytime at all the rapids. She’ll just inch in and sit on my poor left foot, which was in a lot of pain because of the weird positioning. If you have done white water rafting before, you’ll know what i’m talking about.
Washing machine, like its name suggested.. is just that.. a washing machine.
But we breezed (well, breezed is the most unsuitable word to use actually :P) through it but not without extreme hard work and good team work though. In fact, i just re-played the video i posted and the rapid in there somehow seemed friendlier. Ours was much intimidating!!!!!
Perhaps it was the rain. The heavy rain from the night before. Then throughout our rafting, it rained as well.
After names like Cobra and Washing Machine, which also known as Merry-Go-Round, what’s next? I wondered silently. To my utmost horror, it’s “Head Hunter” or also known as “The Sucker”!
Another OMG. Hahahahha :P
Why Head Hunter?
I’m pretty sure you can figure that out already.
You can never imagine all of our relieved faces after the last Grade 4. Well, perhaps.. the only face that didn’t have that PHEW look was Shaun’s. Heeehehehehehhehee… That guy wanted more actions! He was prepared to KAMIKAZE okie.. :P Too bad he was in the *ahem* senior citizen group.. which also happened to be the group that screamed the most. Haaahahahahaa..
But u know, between the 3x grade 4 rapids, those grade 3 ones were scary too!! Many times, i have to say we were really lucky not to get capsized by it.
Finally, after 3 hours of .. hmmm.. well, can’t think of any decent words to use..
Nevertheless, i personally feel getting capsized at Grade 4 is really a must to experience!
It’s once in a lifetime. Grin.
But to get capsized twice at Grade 4 will be a total nightmare!
So, did i wish i didn’t get capsize at Cobra? Nope! But i think if i was in my second sis’ situation, i’m pretty sure i’d wish otherwise. Oh, wanna know how brave my eldest sis was? Hee.. She actually went through the whole adventure without her spectacles!! She was practically as blind as the bat!
No wonder our guide said he ‘sakit hati’ (heart ache) when he saw my eldest sis in the water and fished her out of the water first when we all fell.
No wonder Darcy ditched the intention to swim over to me (when he saw me surfacing + my ability to do an eye contact with him then) but pulled my eldest sister to the nearest raft instead.
Thankfully, everyone was safe and sound in the end.
You know, there were many nasty accidents (involving many lives) took place at this particular river that we were in.. We were indeed very lucky.
The souvenirs i got?
Tens of lethal insect bites which leaves many scars on my legs till today and a permanent scar on my right hand where a patch of skin got peeled off and bleed when the boat got capsized. I think i hit something. And needless to say, blue blacks!
at the train station again.. this time, heading back. My sister’s God is just next to her- the one with cap.
Looking back, KKB and Gopeng were really just sap sap sui – wet wet water.
If you were to ask me, is Padas for everyone?
One hellavu experience?
Will i do it again?
ARE YOU OUTTA YA FREAKING MIND???!?!?!
* all photos courtesy of Penny and Mayz – our fab organizer. dare not bring my own cam!
** the agent we had was Skyland Adventure