Our family is in Peru for two years to serve with Extreme Nazarene. We are living in the jungle city of Puerto Maldonado supporting our team of 8 missionaries as 12 churches are planted here in 18 months! Please keep checking in to keep up on our our ministry and adventures in Peru!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Adventure on the Amazon: Raft Race 2009

The adventure began the day before the race when we found out one, we could bring extra construction items to use in building our raft and secondly, that one of our team mates couldn´t get the time off to participate. So the night before our race Andrew and I headed to Ramon´s house (a friend of ours from church) to see if he would have the time and then to see if he would even be interested. Sure enough he was up to the challenge, yet I´m not sure he knew quite what he was getting into but neither did we. So following our late night trip to his house we went and fetched a few nails, wire and extra rope and then headed home to pack.

The next morning we left for Nauta, 2 hours by bus where we were greeted and introduced during a ceremony and then we were boated across the river to ¨Fisherman´s Island¨ where we arrived and began gathering our 8 balsa poles. After a few hickups by the organization finally began constructing our raft about 2 hours later. We really had no idea how to go about constructing a raft that would last us 3 days and over 21 hours on the river but what the heck we went for it. It began getting dark around the point we started fastening the middle and back braces and then a fantastic lightning storm started and then the ¨rainforest¨ worthy downpoor quickly followed. We were about the only team that continued on our construction throughout the rain but we were in a groove. After we finished and were drenched to the bone we headed into our shanty tent where there were already 4 other competitors laying out. So if you can picture a tent with muddy sand trounced throughout our sleeping area, the rain dripping through the tarplike ceiling and no space to lay down because the other team took up most of the room. Oh yeah and then add the fact that the mosquitos were horrible and then to add insult to misery, one of the other team members says, (in english) let´s sleep sitting up. Yeah, great idea genius with the whole mat to himself. So Andrew and I ended up sleeping literally shoulder to shoulder on the wet sand floor trying to avoid the drips. Sufficed to say I slept probably less than an hour.
The following day we woke up around 5am and began preparing our raft for the journey and at our danty breakfast of one slice of bologne and cheese. So we put it on the water and it passed the float test, but would it pass the whole trip test, we had yet to know. At 8am sharp every group put in and the bell sounded and we jetted off, ramming about two teams trying to get started which put us in dead last place. It took my body at least about 30 minutes to work out the kinks and then hit my stride, but it was great to pass a ton of teams to start out and then finish Day 1 passing another 5 more teams close to the finish line. However, we finished about 30 seconds behind the ¨Mormons¨ or so we thought. We ended up gunning for them the whole 3 days and then on the last day we figured out the weren´t mormons at all. But anyway, it was a good goal to shoot four. Day 2 we just cruzed and beat the ¨the mormons¨ and at one point there was no team in sight behind us and one team in front of us. We got another danty portion of supper and breakfast in a small pueblo and then headed out again for Iquitos which was going to be another 8 or 9 hour day on the river. We paddeled and made really one mistake in reading the current of the river that cost us some time but we were quite pooped at this point. Daniel´s shoulder ¨wasn´t responding¨as he said and Ramon was as dark as a raisin. The final 200 meters was upriver and really killed us, it probably took us 25 minutes to move that small distance. Anyways, it was a blast, I hope to do it again in the distant future and there is much more to write and explain which I do not have time. It was great fun and a great time of bonding for Andrew, Daniel and myself. Thank you all for your prayers, we felt safe the entire time even though we were inches off the water the whole time. One of the Peruvian competitor told me he had seen a Boa during one of the smaller windier sections and was mortified. But we only saw Dolphins and lots of jumping fish. That´s it in a nutshell even though there is much more to say, I´ve included a website here to read a short article (in english) from one of the journalist spectators. http://www.livinginperu.com/travel-920-amazon-adrenaline-rafting-great-amazon-raft-race-2009.

1 comment:

brad hunt said...

So jealous about the raft trip! Sounds like my kind of huck finn adventure!