Where do I start with telling about 12 days in Iceland?! It was so awesome to see all my old friends again, meet a lot of new cool people and to travel a part of the country with the Dutchies. A lot of things happened and it’s very hard to get some logic in the events while thinking about it. I would love to do a diary-blog on the Internation Summercamp but there is one thing that really needs to be told right away. There is one thing that left me with a lot of impressions. In a positive way, cause it broadened my borders. And in another way (not necessarily negative) cause it showed me a very different side of life and because it learned me discover myself more. I wouldn’t call it an almost-dead-experience and my life didn’t pass by in my head, but -believe me- when you’re are trying not to drown, death does cross your mind.
With a group of 30 persons we went river rafting in Iceland. Most of us, except two, went to the Beast of the East, which is a difficult river (4.5 points on a scale of 5). Since I am a cheap ass Dutchie, I don’t spend my money on lame stuff, so I went to the Beast as well. To be honest: I was scared as hell before we started, but as soon as we hit the water, I had so much adrenaline and I was so focused on the peddle and beating the waves. Instead of the expected cries of fear, I shouted all the time that it was so freakin’ awesome.
The first part went quite good. Only one boat capsized and one of the Dutchies scared the hell out of me cause he was totally in shock. But until then everybody survived more or less. When we got closer to the big rabbit (yeah I know, it is a rapid actually, but I understood rabbit all the time and I think it’s funny), they told us that we couldn’t do this part, cause the Icelandic law forbids it, cause the water level was to high. So we had to get out of the boats and walk on the cliff and small edges with our heavy wet clothes to the other side of the rabbit. After that we picked up where we left and we tried to beat a next rabbit. Fail! Three of the five boats flipped. I think you already guessed that we flipped as well.
There I was in the water. Something was on top of me and not knowing what it was, a person or the boat, I pushed it awaya. I didn’t wanna drown and at that moment I suddeny realized that I didn’t wanna die. I have never been afraid of death, everybody goes and I would always die happy. But at that moment I really didn’t wanna die. After what looked like eternity somebody in a kano came to rescue me and bring me to another boat. One of the French guys was so gentle to get me out of the water in their boat, so the danger of drowning was sort of gone.
There I was in the middle of the boat and that was the scariest part. How much I trusted everybody in the boat, I felt really uncomfortable not having a peddle to row and not being able to do anything but watching the waves come and hoping we wouldn’t flip again. Did somebody just thought ‘control freak’? After a while we went to the side and waited for the other boats to rejoin us. Suddenly I realized, as the other girl from my boat who was picked up by others, that I didn’t know how everybody else was doing. It scared me that I had no clue if the others from my boat (and the other boats) had survived the flip. Fortunately all the guys from my boat came back in the same boat after being picked out of the water by the boatman. We waited till everybody was there and then we still had to do the last, quite easy, part of the river.
During the 16 km of a wild river, I bursted of adrenaline. Even though for a second I was scared as hell, it was freaking awesome. I really broadened my borders and I got to know myself in life threatening circumstances. To be honest, I was surprised that I stayed so cool. I expected to be in shock after seeing other thougher people like that before we flipped. I think it’s the instinct of survival that made me so clear. It’s weird that I remember every single detail, the surroundings, my thoughts, what I saw. Normally I just have kind of vague memories, but I guess that the adrenaline and the instinct made my head very focussed on everything.
I really wanted to share this with you, cause it left me with a lot of impressions. I really want to go river rafting again sometime, cause it is really awesome. In my opinion everybody should try it, cause it is a really exceptional experience. So who joins in the next time?
(This post was originally written in Dutch.)