White Water Rafting
White water rafting and waterfall abseiling: Sungai Kampar, Gopeng Perak
If you like water based activities, then you must try out these 2 activities, white water rafting and waterfall abseiling. A group of us from Mayflower Sports Club have the opportunities to try out these 2 activities. We went there by bus in the morning of 7 May 2006. The journey took us about 2 hours plus to the town of Gopeng. From Gopeng, we are transferred to the meeting point in Gopeng Nature Resort by 4 vans. Once we are in Gopeng Nature Resort, we are divided into 2 groups, A & B. Group A will do the white water rafting in the morning and Group B will attempt the waterfall abseiling. The two groups will switch activities in the afternoon.
White water rafting
Before we commence our journey, we are brief by our river guide leader, Mr. Norman who has just came back from New Zealand expedition. The briefing lasts about 20 minutes, all the participants pay attention to Norman’s briefing. Safety briefing is a standard procedure for every rafting trip. The safety briefing touch on paddling commands, paddling skills, capsize drills, actions when overboard or otherwise known as river rescue. The river guides are from Riverbug, one of Malaysia’s most popular white water rafting specialists.
After the safety briefing, we divide ourselves into 4 groups as there are 4 rafts altogether for this rafting trip. Each raft consists of 6 members including 1 experience river guide. After wearing the safety helmet & life jacket, all the members have to carry their raft to the starting point of the expedition, Ulu Geruntum which is about 3 minutes walk from Gopeng Nature Resort. According to them, this activity is quite safe for non-swimmers if everyone follow instructions from the river guide. Even with the reassurance from the river guide, my heart still beats very fast as we are about to board the raft and starts the journey.
One by one, the raft were pushed into the river and the members have to board to their own raft. The journey finally start, there are lots of onlookers at the starting point as it is also a good venue for picnic. I saw lots of picnickers took photos f us, so we just obliged to them by waving & posing for them.
As we paddled through the Sungai Kampar, we could see the beauty of nature as the rivers are surrounded by lush greeneries. For once, I feel so peaceful because we are far away from the busy and hectic city life. It is so cool and calm here, you only can listen to the sounds of flowing water and screaming by the members.
I’m in the last raft, so I can see all the actions of other rafts members as they find themselves going through the rapids. Everyone is screaming and try their best to balance and maintain their position in their raft. Soon, we also passed through the rapids, but unluckily for us, in a sudden, our raft capsize and turn turtle. Everyone in my raft was thrown into the river. The situation is so chaotic. Some of us are trapped inside the raft, luckily the raft has a safety features that allows us to breath. Most of us are first times so we are rather panicky, luckily we have an experienced river guide who manage to turn the raft back to normal position and manage to pull us back to the raft one by one. It is indeed an awful experience for me as I have fear of water. Of course, I have swallowed lots of muddy river water. We are the only raft who turned turtle on the rapids, how embarrassing? But, this is the fun part of it.
We went through another few rounds of rapids and I’m the unlucky one to fall into the river again in one of the rapids. It happened so fast that I also don’t have any control of myself and found myself thrown into the river. Again, I swallowed lots of muddy river water, this time around I was pushed down by the rapid river water downstream. Luckily enough, another raft nearby manage to pull me up again. What an experience? Imagine being thrown into the water, not once but twice? I swear to myself that I won’t let myself being thrown into the river again.
The journey continues until halfway, the river guide stops at the side and asked all of us to try body rafting. One must be trying hard to understand what is body rafting about? Well it is actually where each member has to try to float themselves and let the rapids pushed downstream by making sure our face is facing upwards. It is one of the survival skills should anyone was thrown into the river and not rescued by any of the raft or river guide. So one by one, all the members take turns to try body rafting. I can hear my heart beating very fast when it is about my turn. I try to make myself calm after the 2 bad experiences. The river guides are stationed downstream and will throw the safety rope to pull us to safety. This is also part of the survival skills that we have to know.
After body rafting activity, we continue our journey until the ending point. The experience here is not too challenging compared to the first half. The ending point is at Kampung Jahang and we have covered a distance of about 12 km with 9 big rapids along the way. The journey takes us about 2 hours. I felt so relieved after we touched the ending point. I learned a lot from this white water rafting trip, it is very important to work as a team and not working alone. Sometimes, we really need others to help us, just like what I’ve experienced when I’m thrown into the river. We have to trusts other people and have confidence in them helping us.
All of us felt so exhausted after the white water rafting experience.We are transferred back to our meeting point by a lorry. It is also a first time experience for most of us who has never experienced being transported in a lorry. We reached our meeting point, Gopeng Nature Resort about 1.00pm. We rest for awhile and have our lunch there. Lunch served includes vegetables, curry chicken & beef rendang. All of us ate a lot because we are very hungry after the white water rafting expedition.
After resting for about 30 minutes, we are ready for the next challenge, waterfall abseiling. As usual, before we proceed to the starting point, we are given a briefing by the instructor on the standard procedure of abseiling. The instructors demonstrate the correct way of putting on the safety gear and how to abseil down the slope. Everyone paid attention to the instructor as it is a first time experience for majority in this group.
This activity is based on individual participation rather than team effort, so it takes longer time to complete as the group had to wait for all the members to abseil down from the slope. According to the instructor, the gushing water from the waterfall is too strong and it is very dangerous to conduct the waterfall abseiling. In view of this, the instructor chose to abseil down from the slope next to the waterfall instead of at the waterfall.
After the safety briefing, we get ready by putting up the safety gear before being transported to the starting point by lorry. Since they only have 10 safety gear, our group is split into 2 small groups. Along the way to the starting point, we passed by many houses of orang asli or aborigines. We are required to trekked up a hilly area for about 10 minutes to the starting point of the waterfall abseiling. The journey up the hilly area was a real challenge for me as I kept on slipped down and hurt myself. In some areas, there was no support such as tree branch for us to hold when we climbed the sloppy slope. Luckily enough, I got lots of support from my teammates to assists me to trekked up the slope. We finally reached the starting point about 2.30p.m.
So one by one, each member abseiled down the slope next to the waterfall. Some managed to done it fast and smooth, while the rest took longer time to complete the task. As for me, I’m the clumsy one, I took longer time to abseil down and at certain part, I slipped and have to balance myself before successfully touched the ground. Once, I touched ground, the feeling of success grounded me for a while. At last, I managed to complete the task. All members successfully abseil down and spend some precious time in the waterfall area. After completion, all members trekked down together to the lorry to bring us back to Gopeng Nature Resort.
The other group already back from their white water rafting trip when we reached Gopeng Nature Resort. We went to shower and change into a clean set of clothes. Before we say goodbye to all the wonderful river guides and abseiling instructor, we have our group photos taken with them as our memory. Everyone are so tired after a day full of actions but happy with the memories that they will remember always. Finally, we left Gopeng Nature Resort about 6.30p.m and proceed for dinner stopover in Kampar town. We had the famous chicken curry bread for dinner. It is so yummy yummy to contain our growling stomach. After the delicious and hearty dinner, we continue our journey back to Kuala Lumpur.