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Day 71

We all woke up really early so we could make it on time to White Water Rafting. We didn't want to lose our deposit. Jimi didn't join us White Water Rafting and decided to go straight to Ottawa instead. The rest of us drove down, and made it with plenty of time to sign in. Our biggest issue was the shoe situation. They wouldn't let us participate without shoes, and they wouldn't let us use flip flops because they would fall off. They recommended we use an old pair of running shoes. When we told them we were cycling across Canada so didn't have any extras, and weren't going to get our only pair soaking wet (especially since they would stink up our paniers as we didn't have anywhere to dry them out!), they recommended we buy a new pair from their store. I was not about to pay $200 for a new pair of shoes I don't need, and didn't have room to carry along. So finally, the unsympathetic staff showed us to the lost and found to get a pair for free that we had to return when we're done. We were a little nervous because the staff working behind the desk at owl were a little unfriendly, in general. We were hoping we didn't pay so much money for a lousy experience. But, when we met the camera guy, Travis, things started looking up. He was so fun and quirky, it was great!
They brought us to the start of the route along the river (via school bus). There, we met our guide Juraj (I think that was how you spell it... it's pronounced Yuri). He had a wicked mullet, which he cut for an 80s party a week or two back, and, as he put it, it just never seemed to go away. He said it's been so long since he has had buzzed hair (which is what he would have to do to get rid of the mullet) that he was a ibt scared. So I guess he secretly liked the style and then decided to keep rocking the mullet!
The first rapid we went down was called Phil's hole. Stephanie was very nervous, and Juray let her (and I) come down and have a look at the rapid from below before we went down (he had to set up a safety for the other boats that went down first. Then they would do the same from the bottom as we went down). Stephanie was less nervous after seeing that. So, then we went down. It was a class 4, which would be the highest class rapid we would be going down today. Both Michael and Philippe flipped out of the boat. I pulled Philippe back in (which means I saved his life and he owes me! I'll save anyone's life for a favour! Kidding obviously!). And Katie pulled Michael in. The next thing we did was really cool. We went right into a standing wave/whirlpool type thing. Philippe and I were in the front, and Stephanie said from the back it looked like we just disappeared. We dipped the nose of the boat into the water, essentially. I was the only one in the front who didn't flip out. Michael, Katie, and Philippe all fell out. I saved Philippe again. After that, there were no more people falling out of our boat!
We kept going down some more rapids until we got to the place where we could jump off a cliff (small cliff, but a decent height!). Stephanie was too scared to jump, but the rest of us did. It was so much fun! I lost my borrowed shoe down the rapid though, when swimming back to shore. When we were all done, eating a snack, it started to rain and thunderstorm. It went from being super hot to really cold! Not cool! According to one of the unfriendly ladies working behind the desk from this morning, the thunderstorms in this area don't last long because they follow the river. I've never heard such nonsense. It's not like there are mountains or anything affecting the weather. It was clearly her way of making sure we didn't pull out of the trip this morning (I wasn't going to argue with her, and I wasn't going to not go because of the weather forecast, but I didn't like her answer none the less). Either way, the storm didn't just blow down the river. It lasted for quite a while! When the thunder and lightning (which at some points came ridiculously close) subsided, we headed back to our boats, in the rain, to continue down. We had to pull back onto shore again because the thunder and lightning started again. Finally, it subsided enough for us to reach the tugboat which was to take us to the pontoon. There were some activities that we didn't have a chance to do (Juray told us) such as piling all the rafts on top of each other and making a big platform to jump off of, and other small games. But we still had a really good time! And you can't control the weather! So, we got tugged to the pontoon where a big buffet of pasta/lettuce salad and saussages was waiting for us. Just as we got under cover, the rain started again and it was worse than before. It came POURING down! But we were covered (more or less. The canvas roof was leaking in places, and the rain still came through the open sides).
When we made it back to shore, we returned all our gear, saw the video Travis made (and bought the video), said thank you (and unfortunately, we couldn't take advantage of the free kayaking lesson because of the rain) and headed back to Westmeath for the night.
We ate some more leftovers and played Trivial Pursuit well into the night. Some of those questions were hard because the game was outdated, and some were just hard. But it was a lot of fun and Katie and I beat Philippe and Stephanie (which we were pretty proud of!). Then, we called it a night and went to bed!