A few days ago I was given the opportunity to go “black water rafting.” I did not really understand what it was until I looked at the brochure. Basically, it’s taking an innertube down into a cave and then using it to ride down the river inside. I thought it may be a fun experience so I accepted. Earlier on the day of our adventure McKane and mom went down into a cave using the same company, Waitomo Adventures. They had had a blast and were very tired after climbing a ninety-foot ladder. When the bus arrived my dad and I hopped in and took our seats. My dad sat next to a Japanese fellow named Toots (I think). We talked to him about sky diving (which I desperately want to do but am not allowed by my parents) due to the fact that he was a sky diving instructor who had done over 1,600 tandem dives. After the nice chat we arrived at the base point where we got suited up. We donned two freezing-cold, soaking-wet wet suits and booties. After the initial shock of the wet suits, it became quite warm inside (except for the booties). Our instructors, Scott and Gavin (Scott was also my mom and McKane’s instructor), explained to us what we would be doing, where we would be going, and how we would get there. After a short hike we arrived at the mouth of the cave. When we saw the small space we were supposed to climb down, half of the people in our party shouted something to the effect of, “My butt won’t fit in that!” After some coaxing everyone was down the ladder and into the cave. As we proceeded into the cave our instructors had us flip off our helmet lights and view some glow worms which was quite an impressive sight (which we later learned only glowed because they needed to burn off waste, gross). We continued on through the cold water and sharp rocks (which in America, no one would ever be allowed to traverse) until we reached a point where we were to jump into the water. We grabbed tubes and were given two options, the first to simply walk in the second to jump off a ledge into the water. Everyone chose the second option. All of a sudden we were in the water and then we felt how cold it really was. We formed a train and began floating down the river. It was very calm and our guides had us turn off our lights so we could see the thousands of glow worms that populated the hall. After the short ride we stopped at a dry spot in the cave, warmed up by drinking a hot lemon barley drink and then chowed on a New Zealand delicacy known as Chocolate Fish (a chocolate fish with a pink marshmallow filling). We then entered the wet half of the cave and jumped into what our guides called ‘the Spa Pool’, a little section of cave where the water was too high to stand in so you had to swim across. Now we truly felt the power of the 6 degree celsius water. After we conquered the water, we got into our tubes and floated along again. We then reached the last stretch of cave and swam until we reached the opening. We exited the cave and walked across the surreal landscape littered with hills and sheep until we reached the base. We changed our clothes and left the caves with a feeling of excitement and bonechilling cold. Well, that’s to be expected if you get the guts to jump into six degree water, an activity I highly recommend.
(From Anne — Dax and Tom weren’t allowed to take pictures on their adventure either. To check out what it looked like, visit Waitomo Adventures’ site.)