A Tale of Three Rafts

It’s not often an Arcus – CCL adventure doesn’t involve an arduous journey, so the team and a few of our closest friends were excited by the idea of visiting Vector Wero Whitewater Park in Manukau. The only ominous signs were that it was late June and wetsuits would be required.

Posted by Dryden Sobanja on 31 August 2017

Upon arrival those with an engineering mind marvelled at the dynamics of the park, whilst the rest of us laughed nervously about just how cold the water would be and how much time we would spend in it.  The safety briefing did not ease our concerns as various “get out of trouble” techniques were displayed in the not-so-short video.  Surely nobody was going to need the ‘using your hands to walk underneath the raft’ technique, right?

Once suited up in all of the appropriate safety gear, which seemed colder than our surroundings, the team was split into three rafts with three burley Lions supporters joining our ranks.  Our instructors seemed to take it easy on us for the first couple of runs but then they seemed to defy all logic and wanted to attempt to deliberately flip the raft or surf it into the rapids.

Our team soon realised there were certain places in the raft you didn’t want to be perched during these attempted manoeuvres as, one by one, we became intimately familiar with the rapids.  Job titles seemed to not be a concern of the rapids as they swallowed Rawa Directors and CCL Project Development Managers alike.  The writer of this blog also found himself playing patty cake with the underside of the raft before popping up behind the instructor and asking for “a little help.”

The Arcus Office Manager disappeared from raft too and was last seen floating backwards down the white water with a look on her face somewhere between terror and hypothermia.  But apparently she enjoyed it so much that she was seen taking the same journey just a few minutes later.  In our raft, the Lowndes Legal Executive managed to remain dunk-free and then was given a special leave pass from the raft, only to show up at a the bar later on to face punishments that ensured she wouldn’t remain drunk-free.

Sometime before that the third raft was learning the finer points of Northern Hemisphere’s rugby resurgence, in between icy dips in the Wero due to an overly sadistic instructor.  Concerns were raised when girlish screams were heard from the water, but they were put to rest when it was realised it was just another Development Manager overboard.  I would certainly be fried for mentioning his name.

All jokes aside the three teams got through their white water experiences in one piece and in good spirits, but as the three rafts came together in calmer water it all became a bit Lord of the Flies as an Arcus Director was witnessed carrying out an unprovoked and unsuspected attack on another raft.  But laughter soon turned to silent dread as the Pump Waterfall was turned on and each raft ominously ascended the raft escalator.

This feature allows only a brief view of the water below before the entire raft is plunged over the edge.  It was a case of leaders to the front, although the writer of this story can still hear his own voice squealing, “I’m a follower!!!” before receiving a free high-velocity nasal clearance.  The CCL General Manager also received a free back realignment at the front of that raft.

With the water based fun and games over it was time for hot showers and a slow drive in rush hour for some non-water based fun at Lonestar in Newmarket.  At this point it would be customary to invoke, “what goes on tour stays on tour,” but that would be boring, so here’s the dirt from the after party!

Despite the hunger of those who had taken to the rafts earlier in the day, a non-rafter, who shall be referred to as Swanfar to protect his identity, managed to demolish a 500gram steak washed down by a Flintstones-like plate of ribs.  Reports are there were no survivors.

There must have been some sort of medicinal properties in either the food or drink at Lonestar because the Arcus Financial Controller was observed performing a minor miracle by ditching the crutches she had been on for seven weeks.  However, with a noticeably lopsided walking route, it was decided that either the ankle was still a problem or Lonestar’s medicine had unintended side-effects or a combination of both.  Although he was not injured, our in-house Architect also seemed to be suffering from these side-effects but also seemed very happy with the situation.

Stories about when and how the night ended are vague, predominately due to one Development Manager’s decision that in the absence of a calming Port a round of some sort of aviation fuel would do just as well.  The writer therefore accepts no responsibility for any errors, omissions or exaggerations in this tale of adventure, but it is truthful to say that a good time was had by all.

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