The first impression of a bamboo raft is not very pleasant as it looks pretty unstable and wobbly but once you get onboard, you feel safe and comfortable if you don’t go through very rough waters. Actually, looking closely, they can stand a lot of water movement because their construction is light but sturdy and their length and width guarantees smooth sailing.
We had one of these rides at Rio Grande in Jamaica along with another couple that we met at the hotel.
The captains of the rafts had more than 35 years of experience as their registered licenses at the Ministry of Transportation could attest. And they loved being called “Captain!” even though their boats would not last longer than 2 years as the bamboo, the minute it gets into the water, starts absorbing it and eventually gets heavier than the water itself. Essentially, captains work for the pleasure of working, to survive and to buy (or build) the next raft.
Along the way of our ride, we found many abandoned rafts loosely anchored to the rocks. Slowly, they were decaying and becoming part of the luxurious vegetation along the river.
While riding, I compared the rafts with our lives where we are the captains of a fragile vehicle that after a while gets battered by the daily roughness and eventually goes back to Mother Nature. The only thing that remains are the memories of our rides. The sunny or the rainy days; the way we rode our boats, gently or roughly; who we carried with us in our boats… Did we ride them so that they safely reached their destination?
The calm ride let me think that, maybe, once our raft sinks due to its usage, is it possible to get another one and ride different waters?… Bottom line, how many boats a captain have to pilot before becoming a Captain?
Enjoy the ride!