Never a dull moment in Bali! The next day we'd booked ourselves on a river-rafting trip on the River Ayung with Sobek Tours. It wasn't really a very dangerous trip - the rapids were only Class II, which meant a relatively sedate ride and not too much danger of being tossed out.

We were picked up at our hotel and taken by minivan up to Begawan village where we were given hard-hats and life jackets. Then we all hiked down a trail to the river below. This is a view from the top of the canyon.

You can see the boats on the river far below. Sobek is a very reputable outfit - the boats are strongly constructed self-bailing neoprene rafts, and the guides are very experienced, and a lot of fun.

After a brief introductory talk, we boarded the rafts and set out on the river, which was about the color of creamy coffee. The first stretch was quite easy to allow us to get used to paddling.

The first stop along the river was this waterfall which plunged straight down into the river. If we wanted to we could get out and stand under the falls. This is Astrid on the left, just after enjoying a refreshing shower.

Some people just couldn't get enough!

Here we are coming up to some rapids. The guide at the back would yell "Left side!" or "Right side!" to guide us around the rocks, and the people on the left or right side of the raft would have to paddle like crazy. It was a real team effort.

We passed through the gorge, which was mostly jungle, although there were also areas of rice-terraces and fields.

Hold on tight! We had to wedge our feet between the walls and floor of the raft to hold on while paddling at the same time. We actually did pick up some good speed as we went over the rapids.

You'll have to click on the picture for a larger image on this one. Sunning himself on the rock is an Asian Water Monitor Lizard - quite an impressive size. These photos were all taken with a simple waterproof disposable camera, which unfortunately doesn't have a zoom lens. It was too wet to take our good cameras on this trip. Towards the end of the tour, the guides encouraged us all to start water fights with the other boats, which ended up with just about everyone getting pretty drenched.

At the end of the 2-hour trip we pulled ashore at Kedewatan, where we were treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch from the famous Cafe Wayan in Ubud. You can see how wet we were!

Here we all are, together with our river-guide.

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Photos: Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall
All content copyright (c) 2002, Astrid, Martin and Julia Randall