Our boat skimmed across the water, light and weightless. The water glittered as the sun hit it; the sky was a brilliant, infinite blue. As the roaring sound of the boat filled the air, we shouted over it, trying to be heard. The world was bright and saturated with colour once again, and I felt exhilarated.
We twisted and turned, our boat taking a path down a narrower part of the river. Pieces of wood, dark and broken, protruded from the water, and I watched them seem to fly past. Eventually, we came out into a more open stretch, and we could see waves on the water. I braced myself, and the boat started to judder and bounce as we shot over them. Everyone screamed with delight, and I found myself almost enjoying it despite my misgivings.
We saw another boat and called excitedly to them. They seemed to be enjoying the ride too. “Hello! Hello!” We shouted, waving frantically. They waved back. Pulling ahead, we left them behind as we sped on.
Slowing down a bit, we came into another open stretch filled with pieces of wood, and we dodged around them. Still the water glittered. Soon trees came into view, and I saw more boats docked at a makeshift platform. People were getting out and gathering around the teachers and instructors, and I realised we were about to go on our first trek.
We slowed to a stop, and I felt disappointment as I realised the ride was over. Taking off my life jacket and leaving it in the bottom of the boat, I climbed out to join the rest of my year on dry land. Sandy, but dry.