I didn’t have enough time to go to “Boca del Toro” archipelago, for two days in Panama, so as my plane was leaving late on my last day I decided to go rafting and have myself transferred straight to San Jose airport. The shuttle took us at 8 a.m. from our hotel and led us in the mountains somewhere between the Caribbean Coast and La Fortuna. The breakfast was included, so we had our traditional “Gallo Pinto” breakfast: rice and beans, fruits, and fried bananas. After, I got changed with very dirty clothes for the rafting as we were supposed to get soaking wet, when we are done with it. In the meantime, I spoke to a couple of girls from Spain and Portugal, after, we got separated, they made many groups in different minivans. When we reached the river, they put me in a group with 4 British student girls and we started going down the river with all the kayaks and the safety guys in their individual kayaks.
The stream went crescendo… the beginning was all right with waves to dodge, we had to paddle all at the same time, position ourselves in the right way, get inside the rafting boat, get on the side and so on… Everything went sound and clear, until we reached our lunch spot where all the guides prepared the food they brought in plastic barrels, we had burritos, nachos and siders on top of fresh fruits, and little cakes for dessert. That was nice, I spoke to different people from U.S.A., from UK, from France, from Costa Rica, of course… Then I chilled for a few minutes on a bench before everybody got back to the rafting boat. Everything went well, until I we got into this last strong current and suddenly our boat literally did a 180 degree and crushed into a massive rock! The girls got in just on time but me! I fell miserably in the water along with 2 rows from the raft boat during the impact. When I reached the surface, it was to be drawn to the bottom of the river but a strong stream, the British girls were screaming : “Oh, My God! Romain!”. I managed to get out, but right after, another stream took me down on a rock where I hurt my knee (nothing serious, just a little shaken) I went down like this for about two kilometers, catching my breath, getting drawn, going up at the surface, being thrown from rocks to rocks… I got help from the rescue kayak, I kept my head off the water when it was close to me as the was stream trying to take me down! It was so strong even though I am a strong swimmer… I skipped the last rock and finally I got flushed into quiet waters, I got them back from the rescue kayak and swam to my boat, I gave them back to the kayak instructor, he pulled me inside the boat and I said: “I thought… I was gonna s**t myself !”
Everybody laughed and they all asked if I was all right? Except minor injuries on my right knee, nothing serious, but I was really lucky! I could have easily broken an arm, or a leg. Few hours away from going to Guatemala, I would have got mad!!! We got back to the place where we had breakfast, everybody showered, changed clothes, and we got into the vans. It took me 5 hours to reach San Jose Airport, and 2 hours later I was on the plane off to Guatemala, where my Couchsurfer host Gissel was waiting for me)