DESTINATION: SUKUTE BEACH
The plan was to go whitewater rafting in Bhotekoshi and a getaway in Sukute Beach Adventure Camp for a much needed breather from the mundane life. So, we arrived at the Naya Bus Park, Kathmandu at 7 in the morning and departed at 7:30 for our destination.
If you got money to burn, go for a reserved ride to and fro for the trip. Public transport can stretch the travel time quite long and can be exhausting with continuous zigzagging highway on the side of the hills which is accompanied by the Falls of Death on the other side (If your vehicle slides off of the road consider yourself a roadkill.)
So, we finally reached the resort at 11 AM, now you do the math for our travel time which was supposed to take only 2 and half hours. Those hours on the bus would have been more painful if I hadn’t been constantly munching away on the snacks I brought with me.
We rested a bit and while we were waiting for our lunch, some of us played around with carrom, some with snooker and some table tennis, beach volleyball and the swing was out of the question in the blazing heat of the afternoon sun. After the lunch we rested for a bit and then it was time for whitewater rafting in the Bhotekoshi.
ON TO THE ADVENTURE
A short ride to the starting point for whitewater rafting in Bhotekoshi, we geared up and had our very important instructions (Dos and Don’ts while rafting in The Mighty Bhotekoshi) from our experienced guide. And we were off. No soon had we started the ride, we were greeted with our very first rapids of Bhotekoshi and it kept coming one after another. Then IT happened!
Awesome is how I honestly feel when I think of my whitewater rafting experience in Bhotekoshi. When the outing was planned my sole goal to go on this trip was for whitewater rafting in Bhotekoshi that I had so much heard about but had to wait eons for planets to align just so I could have this experience. LIFE ALWAYS GETS IN THE WAY OF MY PLANS!
But this whole experience was surreal for me and I am amazed how quick the response was of the kayakers and the guides in rescuing everyone who had been swept away in the rapids.
When the raft we were on turned in one of the most dangerous rapids, everyone hanged onto the ropes tied to the raft with their dear lives. But the current proved to be much stronger for me, I had no choice but to let go of the raft and be swept away into the rapids or either I get pinned down by the raft itself and drown or dislocate my shoulder while trying to hang on to the raft while the overwhelming rapids pulled me into the river.
I consider myself very lucky that I wasn’t sucked in the river for too long, it was for a little more than a minute or two (but to me, it felt so much less than that like it was just some 60 seconds of my life that I was trapped under the raging rapids). FYI, I didn’t have the moment where my entire life passed by in a flashback. Nope, that didn’t happen!
While I was being swept away by the rapids, I only heard thundering rapids and a familiar sound of the river flowing and why Yes, it sounds exactly like the one you hear in the drowning sequence in documentaries from the victim’s prospective, movies not coming to mind at the moment.
I drank about 3 full glasses of Bhotekoshi. Oh, Yes I did! (Side Note: Don’t ask a drowning person how the water tastes like? Was it to your liking?! For the life of me, I can’t remember how Bhotekoshi tastes like neither can I say it tastes like chicken as I do with every new meat dish. But just for the curious ones, I say it tastes like River Water!!!)
Does it make me a bad person that I was rather relieved (say somewhat ELATED) with the thought that I wasn’t the only one drowning when I found a hand of another person in the rapids?! But it was another thing when the said person pinned me down into the current while saying I Am Sorry! I Am Sorry! as my life jacket was doing its job of saving my life and bringing me to the surface so I can breathe even for a sec.
This whole time I was like laughing in my head at the absurdity of the situation I was in, fear of being alone in the rapids, fear of being drowned by THE person keeping me company in the rapids (Tough choice if you ask me!) or feel sorry for the guy who was fraught with panic. Hey, I was scared too for my life but I strongly believed in the rescue guys and we were out of the river in a jiffy.
One of my friends lost his specs and slippers while only one of my slippers managed to stay inside the capsized raft, the other one of the pair and me not withstanding. At the end I thought what Bhotekoshi would do with just one slipper, it’s better to have a pair and I knew very well it can be lonely in the river so, I threw the other slipper in the river too, now the pair can be together!
Everyone gathered together, the ones who somehow managed to hang on , did our head count, switched a guy who got leg cramp from another raft with a few new people joining in at the end and while all this was taking place, my mind was thinking:
And this was the raft I chose to jump in with as I couldn’t wait any longer to get started leaving my friends behind in another which later rowed the Bhotekoshi at the rhythm of ONE TWO! ONE TWO!
After I settled down, I found out that every single person on the raft was on their very first rafting excursion EVER. Say What! I shouted in my head because I already had heard from my friends about Bhotekoshi being much Much MORE scarier than going rafting in the Trishuli River. So, I was a little nervous being alone with them but soon two of my friends came and joined me. Lucky me! That put a smile back on my face.
There were two more near misses on other rapids leaving everyone in our raft on high alert for rest of the journey. Our guide must have had a hell of a day as it turned out we had the same fate as his team in the morning whose raft also overturned in the exact same spot.
We asked for adventure and WE GOT IT! Our raft capsized, we drowned and we survived. Thanks to our agile rescuers. We got nothing but lots of love and respect for them and their hard work.
If anyone of us hadn’t survived (Thank god, nobody lost any limbs, we came out all intact!) that would have been a tragic end to an epic adventure and we would have been ended up as another addition to the statistics that died in the Bhotekoshi River.
Well this incident reinforced one thing for sure that I don’t want to die alone. So, I am planning to die surrounded by my loving family when I am in my 70s or 80s that is to say IF I live that long. LIFE REALLY DOES NOT FOLLOW MY PLANS!
When I have to compare whitewater rafting in Bhotekoshi and Trishuli, I found:
BHOTEKOSHI: Adventurous and Heart-pumping
TRISHULI: Calm and Relaxing
TOWARDS THE ENDING
Landing on the shore, Binita and I hugged each other and screamed (Our guide didn’t let us shout or scream while we were rafting!) because we could and we were happy that we came out unscathed from this little adventure of ours.
We dived straight out of our raft and into the pool with our life jacket on after the amazing whitewater rafting experience in the Bhotekoshi River. We lounged around in the main hall till the music started and everyone was on their feet, soon dinner was ready and off some of us went to bed early too tired from the day’s events to stay out late in the night.
Sleeping in the tented hut listening to roaring Bhotekoshi in the night, I was ecstatic but didn’t show it as I was dead tired and fast asleep!
The next morning we, those who went to bed early woke up early and played near the river and on the swing. After sometime, we had our breakfast, rested for a bit while most played in the pool till we checked out from the resort in the afternoon.
We were so dam lucky on this trip as we got a ride to Kathmandu on a luxury tour bus, so journey back home was a pleasant one and I for one took a lot of pictures of marvelous scenes on the road.