“Paddle, paddle, paddle!!!”
Hollie is crying out at me from the front end of our banana yellow tandem kayak. I have only just noticed that we are racing towards what looks like the inside of a washing machine. Seconds later we are swallowed up by furious glacial water – what only a second ago was a smooth turquoise ribbon of river for us is now foaming white and as loud as it is numbingly cold.
Things were not going well. Only five minutes earlier we had wedged ourselves on what is known as a ‘surprise’ boulder, which reached out and snatched our boat. Like the earth-crunching glacial sheet of ice that feeds this river, our kayak ground forwards by only millimetres, awkwardly wedged with its rudder on the boulder and the front resting on the bank.
As soon as I gave in to the idea that we were going to be hurled backwards down the rapids, a benevolent wave reached out, grabbed our kayak and gently positioned us to face the right way.
Racing to catch up with the main group we noticed that they were all…oh look…over there…to our left. If they were over there, and we were over here, then…oh.
As we enter the rapids my head snaps sharply forward and in the roar of the crashing water I hear the voice in my head remind me not to focus on the fact that we are heading straight into a steep, rocky bluff.