The boathouse was crowded with people putting on wetsuits when a group of friends and I arrived at Arctic Rafting’s countryside headquarters, Drumbó Basecamp, for our rafting-trip down Hvítá. Excitement filled the air as we rounded up inside an old-school bus and drove to the glacier river. Most of us had never been rafting before, which is quite embarrassing as Hvítá is only a one-and-a-half hour drive from Reykjavík. In regards to difficulty, it is well suited for newcomers to the sport and guides who know the river like the back of their hands make sure you have nothing to worry about.
After learning the basics, like how to use the oar, we jumped into one of the inflatable boats. We soon found out that paddling was not as easy as our guide made it look and none of us was a natural in the art of finding our rowing rhythm. After some clumsy attempts, we finally got our shit together and managed to carry out his orders. “Left!” he yelled seconds before we dropped into the first rapid. Our boat took a nice rollercoaster jump but floated easily down the river, with everyone on board. A quick stop was made at the “jumping rock”, a six-metre high cliff overlooking the ice-cold river. To say that hitting the water was refreshing would be an understatement.
As the river got wider the water became calmer. What could have been a relaxing time to enjoy the scenery soon turned into a war. With newfound taste for the cold, people jumped from one boat to the other trying to get as many overboard as possible, so most of the remaining time was spent fishing us up again.
Completely soaked it was nice to finally relax in the sauna and afterwards, feast on the amazing meal the Drumbó BBQ-masters grilled for us. Dry and stuffed, with a cold beer in my hand (there is a bar!), I couldn’t help thinking why on earth I spend my weekends in the city. Rafting down Hvítá might be bit dull for those seeking hard-core white-water excitement, but with a group of friends and a guide set to make the experience as entertaining as possible, it’s great fun and a perfect start for beginners.
- Tour Info Arctic Adventures www.adventures.is Tel.: 562-7000