Day 3 began with sea (river) shanties sung by Sarah and Tom, in key and note perfect of course! By now we were familiar with the routine of putting on the damp cold wet suit and the feeling of aching arms in the morning so we set off with high spirits for our journey ahead. The camaraderie of our raft was really starting to shine through as we laughed our way down the river playing daft games in order to distract from the repetitive paddling. We managed the Coruscades, one of the longest rapids on the Franklin, and then portaged Thunderush, which involved a great deal of lugging bags over rocks and boulders with a fast paced river just a small misplaced step away. As the rain set in we packed the rafts back up again and headed on down the river towards camp. A shorter day on the river meant we arrived and set up the tarpaulin’s with the rain still coming down. Planning for how the rain would run off the ground and the direction of the wind, Chris and Sarah set about setting up a gully for the rain to run down which as we learnt later that night turned out to be ingenious and saved us from a very soggy nights sleep. We ended the day the way we began it, singing, although this may have been due to the provision of alcohol but as always we kept our harmonies tight and hit the high notes like true professionals.
The rain during the night made it difficult to sleep for any length of time so as the sun came up and the clouds cleared we were relived to see and hear that the river had risen to a level that meant it would be to dangerous to raft on. We set about resting, reading and relaxing, looking out for signs of wildlife and chatting with our newfound friends. We readied ourselves for the next day on the faster flowing river and settled down for an early night.
Tom keeping tight hold of the rope whilst portaging (i.e. unloading and carrying everything) past Coruscades Rapid
A tricky portaging manoeuvre, keep hold of those ropes boys
Now how do we get off this rock?
The calmer waters beyond the rapids allow a time to reflect and paddle (lots)
A tight squeeze!
"Hmmm is it meant to be that way up?"
Eventually the right way up!!
"Oh no not again!!"
Michael and Jenny our stalwart companions, for them this was a warm up for their Bhutan rafting trip - hardcore!!
Campsite for our third and fourth night - we had a rest day on the fourth day to let the river rise and fall with the rains
Home sweet home for our rest day
A day for reflections
And a little visitor - our first Platypus!!