This is a continuation of my previous posts. Please read the previous posts here.
Black Water rafting started as a sport back in the late Eighties in the Waitomo cave system in New Zealand’s North Island. Waitomo is famous for its huge network of subterranean caves but what make them extra special is their inhabitants.
Glow worms, which are actually gnat larvae, live within these caves attaching themselves to the roofs in order to grow and feast on passing insects. This is why they glow, if you make any sort of noise in the caves they all start waking up to the point where it looks like a carpet of fairy lights overhead. They shine like this to attract food and those who shine the brightest are in most need of dinner. They trap their food by hanging silk-like strings down around them, like a combination of fly paper and a spider’s web.
We had heard a lot about Black Water rafting so we decided to do it. We had pre booked our tickets online. Once we reached Waitomo, the office of the rafting company, we were asked to wait for a while as others in our group assembled and we were taken to the site in a van.
They gave us wet suits and helmets fitted with lights to wear. It took everyone a while to get into the suit and then we posed for few photos. We were going to hike through a cave and jump into icy water, while surrounded by glow-worms.
The van drove us down a dirt road to our destination to begin our adventures. We had to climb a big hill, clamber over rocks, scoot down steep, slippery stairs, to get to the rocky cave entrance. It looked bit scary as all I could see was a black hole.
The guides asked us to put the tube, around our bum and jump into the water. My first thought was: Seriously! I didn’t know how deep the water was and felt a bit scared but when the first person jumped in, I was fine. We all took our turn and jumped into the water. The water was very cold but I was happy we landed safely.
After that we basically sat in a giant inflatable ring and cruise the rapids downstream, the path ahead lit up by the glow worms. It was truly a sight to behold. We ended up covering a good few kilometres before finishing. Our guide had us lay back in the water and linked us together, each person taking the feet of the person behind them. Floating that way he pulled us through the caves so that we could continue to stare up at the lights above.
At one point, the guide asked us to turn off our headlight so we could see the glow-worms. Once all the lights were turned off we looked up and it was beautiful, like I could sit there for hours.
As we moved on though, the sound of a waterfall got louder and louder. As we came upon it, we unlinked ourselves and took turns falling off of it. Not floating over it, but standing up and falling backwards.
When it was all over, I came out of the cave exhausted and aching but with a huge grin on my face. Then it was back in the van to return to the changing rooms and some hot cups of soup.
The Waitomo caves are beautiful and magical. I am so glad we did it. The darkness and the cave were more exciting than white water rafting and it was a great adventure.
Share your own experience with rafting and water sports.
Take care everyone, more on next post.
M from nepaliaustralian