Real Extreme Sports – Part 6 – Night Kayaking

Continuing on my Extreme Sports collection I will now touch upon something even more stupid! Night Kayaking!

Our first stop on a trip up the East Coast of Australia was a remote camping site called Barrington Tops which is literally only about 4 hours north of Sydney.

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It’s funny, you would think that 4 hours north of Sydney would be another city or even a small town, but no its pretty rural and Barrington really does scream wilderness. The first thing I noticed was the serenity of the setting, it was completely silent except for the natural noises of bugs and the trees creaking around us…

I had saved for the trip so had enough money for all the activities and was seriously quite excited to start travelling again… Activity in Barrington was ‘Night Kayaking’. I had never really done kayaking before, I mean I had been in a canoe and a few pedalo’s here and there, but never really kayaking.. I didn’t even know what the difference between a kayak and a canoe is…

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The decision to do this was one of the best decisions I had made in a long while and probably one of the dumbest in hindsight! The ‘professional’ team drove us to this field where by at the treeline there was a river, gave us some protective gear to wear, like a life-preserver and a helmet and literally shoved you in a kayak in the pitch black. And by pitch black I am not exaggerating, all we had was these small helmet lights that really were pretty ineffective. So as we were all now in boats on a pitch black river bumping into one another, the group leader called us over to give us some tips!

  • If you get stuck against a rock lean the opposite way to get free
  • Stay away from the edges – there are poisonous spiders in the trees
  • The river has poisonous platypuses in it, so if something brushes passed you, don’t pick it up!
  • Oh and my favourite – there are grade 3 Olympic rapids up ahead!

And that was it – lets go…

It was just incredibly ridiculous, and I just went with it…

What followed was one of the most enthralling experiences, although my eyes adjusted to the dark and I could see virtually where we were going – I couldn’t see far enough in front of me to know what was next.  The first set of rapids were fine, just a few bumps in the water really – reminded me of a theme park ride. However, after the giggling and chatting subsided, fear suddenly overtook –  in the distance you could hear the sound of what can only be described as a waterfall fast approaching. But you couldn’t see it! It’s a completely surreal experience, my stomach suddenly turned and I really did feel apprehensive and actually quite scared. Without realising, it suddenly dawned on me that I was picking up speed, and I was the first to suddenly drop from the river into the white waters and the drop of around half a meter. I was weightless for a millisecond but it felt like minutes, just like a roller-coaster ride – a much more dangerous ride though. As I plunged down the drop, I was simply happy to hit the water right side up, however without a minute to breath I was again picking up speed and banging into rocks like a pinball machine.

Is there no end to this? I said to myself… and at that second I got wedged between a rock and a drop off. What did the guy say again? Too late… the water had piled up against the side of the kayak and instead of leaning away from the rock, I leaned towards it. Big mistake. The momentum of the water through the Kayak into the air and literally rolled me over the rock and down into the black water below. Luckily I didn’t hit my head and by the point of impact I was no longer connected to my kayak, it was over the rapids and sailing away to freedom, while I was still underwater trying to compose myself. So upon reaching the surface after doing some incredibly tiring backwards rolls underwater, I gasped for air, opened my eyes to see a huge yellow kayak coming towards me at full speed. Yes it was Julian! And he didn’t just hit me he completely ran me over and plunged me into the depths of the water again.

After him, came Kelly, also without a kayak in sight and we both crawled on our hands and knees down the final rapid and clearly out of the impact zone. Apparently she had lost her kayak on the first rapid and it was still up there! At least I wasn’t the only one. It then came to pass that actually everyone except Julian and Luke had fallen, typical!

It was only when we were all back together that the hilarious tales of the events all came together. Our Kayaks were all gathered up and it was only when we got back in them, I suddenly realised how wet and cold I was… ‘only one more set to go’ yelled the instructor! Are you fucking kidding me?

Luckily the next one I navigated like a pro, although it was no waterfall like the last. What a thrill, there’s nothing like throwing you in the deep end (excuse the pun) and asking you to swim! It felt like taking one of your senses away from you, funny though I did feel as if without being able to see I used my hearing and touch a lot more…

Again the drive back to the camp was pretty cold, although we were all snuggled up in blankets. The next highlight came when we were told that the Jacuzzi was ready for us.. What a result! The Jacuzzi was exactly what was required, the night sky was incredible with stars and galaxies in plain sight, it was like sitting in a planetarium – only with beer, woman and of course bubbling hot water. BBQ followed – and nothing could beat this experience…

What a crazy experience extreme sport!

The Real Extreme Sports collection now contains…

Can you guess whats coming next?


10 thoughts on “Real Extreme Sports – Part 6 – Night Kayaking

      1. Sounds ridiculous, yes! After posting my comment, I started imagining how it must’ve felt to do those Olympic rapids in the dark (with SPIDERS) and now I’m almost ready to take back my comment about trying this! Maybe I’ll stick to daytime kayaking! (can’t believe you don’t like it!)

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