The sky was grey, and the occasional rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. It was raining lightly. Would the rafting be called off? They’d already had to delay it for five minutes or so because of the incoming storm. The teams were rafting from our houseboat to the other side of the somewhat wide river, and they would be exposed to the elements. The goal of the race was to finish first and hand over two rocks from the other side as proof.
Our team, Purple Disney Ducks - China, Ori, Miyo, Nanami, Yuina, Thea Osborn, Yu, Ms. Docherty, Protik and I - gathered, talking about our rafting strategies (I didn’t take part, but I still wanted to be somewhat involved). The other three teams did the same.
We discussed how to sit on the rafts as we watched a man ready the four rafts, rowing among them - as he did so, he seemed to be sitting on his own as if he was riding a horse. This seemed to be a stable way to sit, although everyone else seemed to be planning to sit on them cross-legged (in the end, we went with the latter).
After a while, the teachers called for the first groups (our first group was, Miyo, Nanami, Yuina and Yu) to get ready. They put on their life jackets and we wished them luck, quickly calling strategies as they climbed onto their raft.
When the groups were ready, one of the instructors blew an airhorn and they set off. Our group was in the lead at the start. A drone followed the rafters, videotaping them as they rowed furiously.
When they were about halfway to the end, the other girls’ group - Elana, Maeve, Kiara, Jodi and Meg - caught our team up and it looked like they were going to tie. As they progressed, the other team seemed to be drawing ahead. Oh no! As they got nearer to the other side, the boys’ team - Max, A.J, Mateo, Brandon and Tiger - started to reach the other two groups.
When our team reached the end, they grabbed a rock and set off to the other side. When they got back to the houseboat and the second team - China, Ori, Thea, Ms. Docherty and Protik - set off. However, we soon realised that Yuina had lost her rock! We panicked for a while, wondering where it had gone. Miyo had definitely given it to Yuina, so she must have dropped it on the way back.
Pushing that aside, realising there was nothing that could be done, we turned our attention to the teams battling for first place. The other girls’ group were way ahead, already at the other side of the river, and the Purple Disney Ducks and the boys’ team seemed to be tied; the team with both boys and girls was a little further behind.
When our group finally got to the other side of the river, the girls’ team were nearly at the houseboat. It looked like the Purple Disney Ducks would come second. When they were close to the end, however, Thea fell off the raft! They still managed to come in before the boys’ team and the remaining team though. Luckily, they’d picked up two rocks instead of one, so we still came in second place!
The teams that came in first, second and third won food, and celebrated, full of exhilaration.