How I Got Into White Water Rafting

It’s not secret I love the water and the creatures in it… I made that pretty obvious when I chose my career as a life boat captain. My interest in whitewater rafting was borne of a desire to regain my fitness, which I had noticed was not what it used to be as of late. I had also been feeling bored by my routine and the monotonous sights of the city, so I decided it was time to get close to nature and feel the thrill of adrenaline. Having already taken some rafting lessons in my youth, I felt no hesitation in grabbing my camping gear and hitting the road. I went with a commercial tour provider, Chattooga Overnighters, on the first trip so I could re-learn the ropes, so to speak – it had been a while since I had set foot in a raft, let alone sailed it in a fast moving river!

rafting fun

 

Chattooga Overnighters claimed to offer the ultimate Chattooga Experience. I opted for their 2-day Overnighter package because I had an extended weekend. It was an easy drive from my home in Atlanta and proved to be one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. There was hiking, camping and topnotch food, but best of all there was whitewater rafting to my heart’s content. They didn’t offer any alcohol, but that wasn’t an issue for me since I wanted to experience the trip to its fullest. I brought my own air bed, and some other personal articles – the rest was provided by them!

The first day was a bit slow and there was ample time for stretching your muscles, relaxing and swimming. Arriving at the campsite, I found my personal gear waiting for me. After setting up camp, I did some fishing for my lunch and then went on a short hike around the site. I cooked the fish on a campfire, and it went well with the steak dinner provided by the camp.

 

 

fly fishing reel

 

I only ate a light breakfast next morning as the camp was taken down and my gear packed and transported to Wildwater Chattooga Ridge Adventure Center. We ran into other people seeking the thrill of whitewater rafting at the Center, and this was where the real fun started. It was a lot different from the slow pace of Day One: we rafted on a very steep river section, but there were still points where we could relax and take in the scenery. We rested and lunched at Long Creek Falls at the end, followed by a relaxing boat tow across the Tugaloo Lake to conclude the 2 day trip.

There were plenty of activities left to do after the conclusion of the trip, and I decided to spend the night there since my muscles, being unused to this kind of exercise, were starting to ache! Fortunately, there was lodging available aplenty, and I rented out an exquisite cottage for the night.

My rafting adventure certainly rejuvenated me and I was looking forward to going back to my work as a life boat captain! Needless to say, I’ve made over a dozen trips to various white-water rafting destinations since, but the first one is always special.

Providing Homes for Animals of the Sea

For me, a life boat captain’s duty does not end within the safe walls of the boat and the land. “Life” in life boat captain, does not only mean the lives of the people who get in danger; not just about humans in need of rescue. For me, “life” in la life boat captain’s job description, also means marine life.

What purpose would our existence have, if we kill marine life? What good does saving human lives do, when who we save destroys the life out of the innocent creatures of the sea?

Some disasters are inevitable, but some are human made. Whichever the case, the poor little creatures become the victims.

Image Credit: marinemammalcenter.org
Image Credit: marinemammalcenter.org

It is for this reason that I greatly support animal shelters, especially for marine animals. I had dreams of putting up an animal shelter, myself. But then that would mean just 1 shelter. So instead, I decided to support numerous animal shelter programs and asked them to make more efforts to provide a home of refuge for hurt sea creatures, and nurture them until they are ready to get back to the open arms of the vast ocean.

I have always been passionate about the sea and the different fishes and sea creatures. That is why the animal shelters I sponsor and support will focus on providing help and shelter for sea animals. Of course, other animals are still welcome especially on emergency cases and situations. But I have contacts of other animal shelters that also specialize in land animals and others, in farm animals. When a situation calls for it, they are swapped from shelter to shelter, so that those focusing on land and animals can take care of those, and those for sea creatures can also focus on taking care of sea animals. Of course, it would be useless to take care of sea animals without giving value and helping other types of animals, too. After all, we all have the same love for animals, we only focus on different types of them.

One way for the animal shelters to have an easier access with each other’s records and updates on what animals they have recently sheltered and what animals are needed to be transferred from one shelter to another.

Image Credit: pixelsatthepark
Image Credit: pixelsatthepark

I must say I am very much excited about my plan to help the marine life. I hope there are others that would take steps towards this path, as well. This maybe taking baby steps but at least it is a careful, well planned and well researched baby step towards the fulfillment of a dream – a good life for all life, animals, humans and even plant life, included.

A Call to Protect Marine Life

Image Credit: ianfoster.com
Image Credit: ianfoster.com

Ever since I was a child, I already had a very strong love for the sea. We used to live in a town where we could just walk or take a bicycle ride to the sea. I was hooked to the sea because I liked it quiet and calm, and the sea never fails to give me serenity. The sound of the breeze from the sea makes me deaf to all other noises. When I am near the sea, I am also calm and I can think clearly. I loved the beaches too, because I get to swim and enjoy the sun. However, I also have a deeper attraction to the sea. That was why I dreamt of becoming a seaman.

My dream was not fulfilled however, because I failed the physical requirements during my first try. At first I was depressed that I stopped living life. I became idle.

However, the opportunity to be a looe lifeboat captain came, and I grabbed the chance without hesitation. I was really in sever depression and that chance really saved my life. I know it will not be as how I envisioned myself to be, a seaman who travels all over the world. However, being a looe lifeboat captain still made me one with the sea, which was why I wanted to be a seaman in the process. For me, the chance was still a definite win for me and still a dream come true.

I was renewed by my job. The feeling of the breeze in my skin and hair, and the smell of the salty air, made me smile again. Right then and there I decided to treat my profession with passion, and of course, I vowed that I will take care of the sea as well. After all, without it, my job and my entire life would mean nothing.

I truly wish that people would understand the importance of marine life. This is not just for those people working in relation to the sea, but it is for everyone, even for those people that destroy the seas.

I am ashamed to feel that I am still at my best condition even when I have retired. This is because the sea and marine life is not as healthy as I am, in my own opinion. The sea is having a battle to survive and continue to provide for us and continue to play its role for earth, while us humans shamelessly repay the sea with pollution and abuse of its wonder and gifts.