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Photo by Peter Blank

“This week, on Rafters At War…”

UHC Admin —

Advenure 201 students have been paddling their way to success as part of their course. Students Cody Misseldine, Philipp Pagenkemper & Phoenix Laban give a detailed run through of their great adventure.

We were all a bundle of excitement and anticipation as we gathered in the Weights Room. Thermals were distributed, with the promise of water temperatures similar to that of Antarctica. We all assumed, with Ms MacTaggart’s tendency to exaggerate, that this was another one of her tall tales. Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

Arriving at Captivate Adventures saw us catching our first glimpse of the big red boats we would spend the next two hours in. After a gear talk where we were explicitly told how to wear everything, Jakob still managed to put his splash jacket on backwards. There’s always one… Then it was time for the safest van ride in history, as all 19 of us, padded up in life jackets, wetsuits and helmets drove to the start of our rafting trip.

The Ōtaki was a crisp 6° when we arrived, but that didn't stop us from diving in headfirst and disturbing an otherwise peaceful scene. We chose our crew for the day, and then we were off.

One rapid in - and there wasn’t a dry person amongst the lot of us. Splashing became second nature and no one was safe. Ms MacTaggart is an old hand at this rafting gig, but apparently no one told her that, as her raft and all of its occupants pinballed their way downstream. 

As hard as we tried, all rafts stayed upright, so we settled for tackling each other into the water instead. In a show of class unity, we all banded together to get Mr Weakley out of his boat and into the water. Ms’ promise of an ice cream on the way home was all the incentive we needed. The fight was on.

We decided to play the long game, and we planned our attack while listening to stories of New Zealand’s biggest spiders - capable of walking on water, and the world's tallest longdrop. 

Further downstream, the famous Jump Rock didn't disappoint, with every one of us quite literally stepping out of our comfort zones as we leaped into the freezing water below. 

Adam left us all speechless after an olympics-worthy gainer, and all too soon, it was time to hit the road again. With the end in sight, we realised it was now or never to get Mr Weakley out of the boat. The battle was fierce, but in the end - we were victorious.

Class: 1. Mr Weakley: 0

Despite the cold, we were all in high spirits as we reached the end, with no one wanting the trip to be over. That was, until we all realised we’d worn our only pair of dry shoes in the river… 

Ms MacTaggart had a debt to settle, and the excitement of the day had left us all starving, so after a quick stop at the servo, we blasted the heaters and drove back to school.