White-Water Rafting


Watch this short video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=28wbI73IVvQ

The guide is the person who sits at the stern of the raft and steers it.  The front passengers use paddles to paddle the raft through the water.  They control the speed of the raft by how fast they paddle.   The blue raft is called a mini-me.  It can hold up to 4 people.  The cylindrical cross-piece in the center is called a foot thwart.  It is used as a foot rest to brace your feet against to hold your body in the raft.  It can also serve as a seat.  The front of the raft is called the bow.  The T-handled paddle has a blue shaft and yellow blade.

Role Dialog
Narrator Four friends are taking a group vacation to Victoria Falls in Africa for a weekend of white-water rafting down the Zambezi River, which forms the boundary between two countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  They have just arrived at Victoria Falls and are meeting their tour guide, Hondo.  (Review map route at end of this post.)
Hondo Hello, my name is Hondo.  I work for Safari Par Excellence.  I’ll be your guide for your rafting adventure this weekend. 
Alex Hi, Hondo.  I’m Alex.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Frank I’m Frank.  Pleased to meet you.
Nina I’m Nina.  It’s nice to meet you.
Robin And I’m Robin.
Hondo Okay, I have our raft fully provisioned and ready to go.  Here’s a map of our route.  (see last page of this scenario).  We’ll start here at Victoria Falls, which is billed as the largest waterfall in the world.  We’ll travel down the Zambezi River through the Batoka Gorge.  Where the gorge narrows, we’ll experience the thrills of navigating our way through a series of nineteen rapids and finally finish at Baba Camp at the bottom of our route.  We’ll have someone drive your car down, so it’ll be waiting for you when we get there.  What’s your experience level with rafting?
Alex Um, well, we’re all novices when it comes to rafting.  This will be our first time.
Nina We’re all very strong swimmers though.
Frank And we’re all pretty good at outdoor skills like camping, fishing, and so on.
Robin Right.  We have good survival skills in the wild outdoors.  That’s why we want to add rafting skills to our inventory.
Hondo Okay, as long as you’re all rugged, because this will be a physically challenging ride through all these rapids.  I’ll get you through the rapids then and I’ll let you four handle our rest breaks and camping operations.
Alex Deal!
Frank We have all our gear right here.
Hondo Okay, load it onto that raft over there labeled SAF PAR, and I’ll give you a quick lesson in rafting.
Narrator They load up the five-person raft and are listening to Hondo go over the raft’s features with them.
Hondo Okay, I’ll be the guide.  That means I’ll sit here at the stern of the raft and do the steering and give you directions.  The boys will sit up front, the girls in the middle.  You’ll each have a T-handled paddle.  Those cross-pieces in the middle of the raft are called foot thwarts.  You brace your feet against those so you don’t get thrown out of the raft as it gets bounced around on the rapids.
Alex So we four will paddle fast or slow at your direction, right?
Hondo Correct.  Fresh drinking water is available in the raft, so keep yourselves hydrated during the trip.  Okay, you’ll see that there is a rope around the outside of the raft attached to D-rings.  If you should get thrown overboard, try to swim back to the raft and grab this rope to stay with us.  When you can, try to climb back into the raft.  If the raft capsizes, that’s when it can get a little dangerous.  There are underwater rocks in the rapids.  You may get some bumps and bruises if you hit the rocks too hard, but as long as you don’t hit one with your head, you should be okay.    Worst-case, fight your way down the rapids to the next calm area and we’ll regroup, check everyone for injuries, rest, and then continue on.  You’ve all signed a waiver, so you know my company’s not responsible for injuries sustained during this trip.
Nina We understand the risks and are not afraid.
Hondo Okay, let’s get started.  Everyone hop in, and I’ll push us off(a minute later) 
Here we go
Narrator He pushes the raft away from the shore and it begins moving downstream with the current.
Robin Alright!  This is nice — beautiful scenery, fresh air, waterfall behind us, cool water spray in our faces on a hot, sunny day, and the anticipation of riding the rapids ahead of us.
Frank Just try not to fall out of the raft, Robin.  I’m not going to jump in and rescue your sorry butt, okay?
Robin Thanks, Frank.  You’re a real gentlemen.  (They all laugh at this teasing banter.)
Hondo Okay, we’re coming up on the first rapid, Against the Wall.  It’s fairly gentle so it’ll be a good icebreaker to let you learn some skills.  Your jobs are to dig your paddles into the water deeply and try to keep the bow of the raft pointing downstream.  We don’t want to be turned sideways or backwards.  If that happens, we run the risk of being capsized — flipped over.
Alex What happens if it flips over?  What do we do?
Hondo Just grab onto the side ropes and ride with the raft down to the next calm area where we’ll flip it right-side up and get back in.
Narrator They enter the first rapids and manage to keep the raft straight and get through the rapids problem-free.
Robin Wow, that was fun.  Not bad for our first time, huh?
Hondo You all did quite well.  We’re coming up on the next rapids, called The Bridge.  This one’s a little rougher so be expecting it.
Narrator They enter the second rapids and again manage to keep the raft straight and get through the rapids problem-free.  They continue on through the third, fourth, and fifth rapids uneventfully.
Hondo Okay, the next rapids is called the Devil’s Toilet Bowl.  Who wants to bet who gets thrown out of the raft on this one?
Frank I’ll bet it’s Robin!  Haha!
Robin Veeeeery funny, Dirtbag.
Narrator Upon entering the rapids, it is rough indeed.  The raft gets tossed around like a rubber duck toy in a swimming pool full of boisterous teenagers.  Several people go slightly airborne a couple of times but fall back down into the raft, until finally Robin is tossed about two feet into the air.  She yelps and goes crashing into the roiling waters.  She manages to grab the side rope and hold on until the raft finally emerges from the rapids and reaches an area of calm water.  Then she climbs back into the raft, soaking wet.
Frank Okay, I called it!  Robin’s buying me lunch. 
Robin Ooooh, I’ll get you back somehow, Frank, you son of a gun(She teases back at him.  They all laugh.)
Hondo Okay, folks, this is a good time to take a break.  Paddle over to the river bank, and we’ll take a lunch break while we rest.
Narrator They reach the rocky river bank, pull the raft ashore, gather some firewood, get a fire going, and roast some frozen chicken meat over the fire.  Robin puts some freshly roasted chicken, fried beans, and a piece of bread on a paper plate and hands it to Frank.
Robin Okay, Frank.  Consider this your free lunch.  It’s my treat!
Frank Haha!  Accepted — debt paid in full!
Alex Which of the upcoming rapids will be the worst one?
Hondo That would be the “Gnashing Jaws of Death”.
Frank Whoa, that sounds scary.  Is it that bad?
Hondo Even expert rafters sometimes get dumped on that one.  You poor birds don’t stand a chance. 
 Narrator His face breaks out with a wide, evil grin.
 Nina  Finally, a challenge!  (She smiles with a wide smile of defiance and anticipation.)
 Robin  Oh, no.  Not again.  I’m still not dry from my last dump.  (Everyone laughs.)
 Narrator They wrap up camp and continue down the river, easily negotiating the next few rapids until they come face to face with the Gnashing Jaws of Death thirty yards ahead.
 Hondo Okay, brace yourselves.  Keep the raft straight.  Remember all you’ve learned so far.  Let’s show the experts what we can do!  Hoo ah!
Narrator They enter the rapids and are bounced around like a pinball.  They struggle mightily to keep the raft straight, but despite their best efforts, it gets turned around and they are heading down the rapids backwards.  Once again, Robin gets tossed out of the raft as easily as one might throw a piece of trash into a trashcan.  Frank laughs loudly and is repaid by Fate by his also being thrown out of the raft.  With less weight in the raft, the violent thrashing of the rapids capsizes the raft and everything and everybody gets dumped into the water.  A few of them latch onto the side ropes of the raft and ride it down to the next area of calm water.  The others swim their way through, gasping for air as they struggle to keep their heads above the water.  They collect all their floating supplies and finally flop down on a sandy beach area at a bend in the river.
 Nina  Yes!  That was a thrill worthy of a Russian!  Let’s do that again!
Robin Um, let’s not.  I think I’m all bruised from being banged against the rocks too many times.  I hope nothing’s broken.
Hondo What about everyone else?  Any injuries other than bumps and bruises?
Alex I think I’m – oww—forget that.  I’m not okay.  I think my leg’s broken!
Robin Let me take a look.  I’ve had a First Aid course… Hm, yep.  It’s broken but at least it didn’t break the skin.  I think I can set and splint it but there won’t be any more white water rafting for you, Alex.
Alex Ow!  Ow!  Darn!  Sorry, guys.  I guess I’ve ruined our vacation.
Frank Nah.  We got in some good rafting experience. 
Nina Yes, but we spent a lot of money to get here for this experience.  I’ve had a broken leg before.  It’s no big deal.  Hondo, is it possible to have a helicopter pick up Alex and fly him to a hospital so we can finish our rafting trip?  Afterward we can drive to the hospital and meet him.
Hondo Yes, that can easily be arranged.  I have an emergency radio here.  This kind of accident happens sometimes.  It’s all routine when you’re white-water rafting.
Narrator Robin gets some straight sticks from the woods and sets the broken bone and splints it with the two sticks.  A medical helicopter arrives and transports Alex to the closest hospital.  Hondo and the other three finish their rafting adventure going through some other challenging rapids and having a good time.  Then the three visit Alex at the hospital.  Robin begins ribbing him about “Who’s getting thrown out of the raft now?”  They all laugh and are happy to have survived their adventure with only their pride, and Alex’s leg, injured.

Map of Victoria Falls

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