Yes, you read it right and the title has no typo. I was familiar with the word rafting already by that time but throwing myself into the rapid flowing water without any inflatable raft! Whoa.. That is completely insane. Well, this was my reaction when I heard about body rafting for the first time. Tracy, my friend, who is an Indonesian origin but living in Singapore explained me what body rafting is and assured that I will be safe with life jacket and in the presence of some trained guides over there. In Body-rafting you are supposed to use your body as ‘raft’ to navigate the river, instead of using inflatable raft. I was not very confident initially as I was not a good swimmer but I could not afford to miss this life time experience too. I believe in Tolstoy’s words that there is one important time and it is now and it is the only time we have control. So, without thinking what is going to happen, I finally gave it a nod.
Body-rafting at Grand Canyon was actually a part of our West Java trip. The day before body rafting we reached a beautiful beach destination named Batu Karas and from there we were supposed to start our adventure trip to Grand Canyon. Next morning, we started early from the hotel and reached the village, Desa Kertayasa, located in Cijulang district, Ciamis. Our guide took us to “Jungala adventure” body rafting office. I left my backpack and DSLR there and put on t-shirt, short, and all the body-rafting equipments, such as helmet, life vest, water shoes and shin guard. We had a briefing there by our guides before we started for the ultimate adventure.
Our briefing session before we headed for the pick up vans
A pick up truck was waiting for us and we boarded it as soon as the briefing was over. It was a bumpy ride through jungle and yes, we did enjoy the ride as it was new for many of us. We reached the site of the rafting within 20 minutes. We had a small warm up session and we had a small briefing from our guides. We were supposed to follow their instructions and not indulge in any stupid activity as some patches of the river could be very dangerous due to high current.
We were heading towards the river after we got down from the vans
Finally, the time arrived when I was waiting with others to jump into the water. Let the adventure begin. Initially, the guides split us in groups. Each one in the group holding the strap of the life jacket of the person in front started to float on the back and the first person was supposed to use the hands to give the direction. We were allowed to let our body flow like that with the rapids until we encounter a big rock or a sudden fall. These times the guides had to unfold the ropes and throw it to us so that we could catch the ropes and thy could pull us to the safer side.
The most fascinating part of the rafting was when I lied on my back facing the sky and floated with the mild flow of the water, separated from others. With the green rainforest around, monkeys hanging from the trees and birds singing from the branches took me to Rudyard Kipling’s world of ‘Jungle Book’. For a moment, you will shut yourself off from the world and be lost in the wilderness of Green Canyon. But in the process do not forget to save yourself from the rapid flow.
Lying on back, enjoy the view
We took the help of the rocks by the side to avoid the rapid current of the water
The challenges were not over yet in fact the most challenging part was waiting for us. We had to climb two cliffs to avoid the dangerous rocky ravines. The views from the cliffs were very scenic and the waterfall from top makes it a perfect natural bathing place. Since the water falls on the rocks all the time, those were very slippery and you have to be very cautious while walking on those to avoid a fall. We reached the top of the cliffs while taking snaps on the way and then came the shocker that we had to jump from there into the water. Woohooo! That was going to be my first cliff jump in my life and that moment my adrenaline was really pumping very fast.
Could not resist myself from taking a natural shower
Looks pretty excited before the jump
The first cliff was 7 m high and the second one was of 5 m. We had to be careful about the slippery rock while jumping. Never for a moment, I thought of not doing it. The queue started to clear in front of me but the guy before me couldn’t do it. He got scared just before the jump since it was his first attempt too. The guide told him to wait and let me come forward. I am never afraid of free fall and I did not experience the fear while sky diving too. But the trickiest part for me was the rapid flow of water below which made me think for a second. Our team was extremely supportive for each other and cheering for everyone. I heard voices from down cheering me up and I told myself, “It’s easy and I am not going to die.” and I jumped.
Jump from the 7m cliff
For few seconds my head was below water and then the life jacket automatically pulled me up. After the jump, I had to let myself flow with the rapids and if your direction was correct you could reach the next cliff, otherwise, the guide in front standing on a rock would throw a rope to catch. The second jump was from relatively less height and we all did it easily. Perhaps, the experience of the first time is always unparalleled.
We reached at the end of the rafting which is the calm part of the river and a beautiful rainbow was waiting for us as a token of our victory. We saw a boat was already waiting for us to pick from there. The adventure of body rafting ended. We jumped, cheered, we celebrated and our joy knew no bound for completing the adventure successfully with only few scratches on our skin.
Our amazing gang
Make no mistake it’s not America’s Grand Canyon. The name Green canyon is believed to be given by a French tourist who went there in 1993. It is named so because of the clear green water of the river and the abundant green moss on the cliffs. This little wonder of Indonesia is situated at the Southern coast of West Java. If you are not comfortable with adventure activity but want to enjoy this ‘Garden of Earth’, you can also avail a boat ride there which will cost you around IDR 75,000 per person. But to access the deep inside part of it, the only way is body rafting. I had many wonderful adventures on that trip starting from walking on an active volcano, surfing at Batu Karas beach, exploring Java village on two wheels and venturing out without any guide and explaining the locals in sign language but this was definitely the most unique one of all. A memory to be cherished for lifetime.