Sabah, the second largest state in Malaysia being an island is famous for its wildlife, its tea, the rainforests and the coral reefs. Very fortunately, I was a small part of a whole week’s trip to this magnificent living world completely surrounded by marine life and miraculous water on all its sides. As I boarded the plane and waited for the crew to finish their demonstration my imagination piloted its way into how my week would turn out to be. While I was still occupied with my flight of fancy ideas my fellow passenger and a dear friend got talking about the itinerary that was planned for the 11 of us that were on the trip.
Stating the obvious, it being an island I must’ve expected to experience a lot of water sports during our stay. To all the non-swimmers reading this you’d definitely understand as to why I hadn’t thought about it all along. Aqua-phobic was not what I was. I realized I didn’t have the fear when and as I would be okay with getting anywhere near water as long as I was made sure that I wouldn’t drown and die. As we landed and made our way into the luxurious sutra Harbour resort for an overnight stay the magnanimous sunset from my room and the calmness of the Harbour made me forget all about the following day’s rafting experience that we were scheduled to tackle.
The following day all of us were early birds as the shuttle trip to the Kedamaian River was 2 hours long. The fear remained as it was my first rafting experience, however, I was thrilled about the whole white water river rafting as the scenic view of the mountains covered by fog was to die for. I was jerked awake from sleep when the shuttle hit a pothole and the view surrounding me was something unheard of. The purity of the mass mountains away from the chaotic city life was so very dynamic that I teared up watching nature’s elegance.
We reached the destination and came in contact with our guide who told us how it was a 10km ride and was graded to be level 1-2. I was relieved as he mentioned that it was relaxing and moderately adventurous and how even children did it and was great for beginners. I was strapped in to a life jacket ( this is mankind’s greatest invention according to a close acquaintance who is, by the way, a great swimmer ) and a helmet around my head was fastened I watched and listened closely as he instructed us and a chill ran down my spine when he mentioned how the rafting boat would invert at times . He further directed us as to what must be done when that happens and then we were all set to go.
I was very excited as we got on board and it felt great while we slowly rafted through the river. Little did I know that there were stronger currents further up. While I enjoyed the pain that crept through my arms I waited patiently for something jumpy to happen. What happened next drained all the colour from my face as told to me by my onlookers. As the current was a little stronger at one point the boat took a leap and literally just threw everyone else into the water leaving me alone on the boat. My heart skipped several beats as I didn’t know that it was something that happened very often. I tried with everything I could to pull a few of them back onboard while the rest was taken care by our guide who quickly got into the inflatable boat and pulled everyone in. At this point, it got very exhilarating as my dear friends wouldn’t mind getting thrown into the water a couple more times. We went ahead to watch a few more exquisite hills and were very satisfied with the rafting. We also took a few little breaks to do body rafting. Since I promised myself not to say no to anything on the trip, I went ahead and body rafted with my life jacket on and trust me it was a great thing to do. While we slowly descended towards the end of our rafting I realized how being a non-swimmer was not that big a disadvantage. The 3-hour rafting was thus worth it all. The short lunch that followed and the time spent with the rafting guides and our tour guide and definitely with my endeared friends is something that I wouldn’t forget for a long time now. So if you ever think of rafting and If you are a non-swimmer you know the place now. Go visit Kota Kinabalu for the glory it holds as it is something that isn’t found anywhere else in the world.
So all you non-swimmers – pack your swimsuits cause rafting awaits you!