50 intrepid members of the Torrevieja U3A (University of the 3rd Age) participated in this exciting rafting experience. We set off early at 8.00am. The day overcast, but by the time we arrived at about 10.30 am it was hot and sunny.
The driver of our coach got us lost a few times but eventually we arrived at Cieza, 40 kms (25 miles) away from Murcia, Spain. Anala, the rafting company, provided us with a light breakfast of a meat or tuna roll, together with a soft drink.
We were kitted-up in life jackets and safety helmets and following a brief health and safety talk, which included a demonstration on the correct way to hold the paddle, the rafts were launched. Each raft held 10 people and an experienced Alana employee in the stern.
We followed the fast flowing river for three hours. Unlike last year, the river was very low in some stretches, due to the lack of rain, which meant we had to climb out of the raft a few times and carry it across the shallows.
The banks on either side of the river were lined with bushes; thick branches trailing the water, ready to ensnare inexperienced rafters. Some rafters were determined they wouldn’t be overtaken and employed ‘spurious’ tactics when another raft threatened to overtake. This mainly involved sending arcs of cold water over the occupants of another raft, resulting in the ‘enemy’ being soaked to the skin, but the barging and bumping added to the fun. It became evident why the hardhats were needed when a raft crashed into overhanging branches, spun around, whipping branches lashing at our ducked heads, to eventually emerge, sometimes stern first, behind our triumphant rivals.
During the course of the journey, I spotted the bright flash, blue and orange, of a kingfisher, and some rafters spotted a golden oriole, a secretive bird which stays mainly in the treetops.
When we landed, we were escorted to a sports stadium where we had the chance to shower and change into dry clothes, before our coach took us back to Cieza to ‘Bar Miguel’. Here we enjoyed a four-course leisurely meal; a refreshing salad with crispy chunks of bread, followed by a delicious cold soup and croutons (gazpacho), paella, a huge plate of small cakes with cream, coffee, with as much water and wine as you could drink, all for 12 euros.
Finally, nothing to do with the article above, may I ask you to visit YouTube to see my video on the ‘Fallyn’ trilogy. Thanks.