Savegre River rafting: You can trust your guide (to dunk you)

Savegre River rafting: You can trust your guide (to dunk you)

The point of no return: Headed overboard at the "Gringo Eater" rapid on the Savegre River.

The point of no return: Headed overboard at the “Gringo Eater” rapid on the Savegre River. ((Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures))

SAVEGRE RIVER — Our rafting guide brought us back around a third time to run the rapid known as “the Gringo Eater,” saying, “We’re going to do it until someone falls out.”

Mauricio González of H2O Adventures steers the author and his son Jordan into the Gringo Eater.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

I thought that was just a joke.

Good, wet fun.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

But our mischievous guide, Mauricio González of H2O Adventures, deliberately steered our raft into the center of the rapid, where it did an “ender,” meaning the bow sank in the rushing water and the boat went nearly vertical, dumping son Jordan and me into the bracing water of the Río Savegre.

Overboard.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

Mau, all smiles, somehow managed to stay in the boat, the better to rescue us. This was obviously not his first rodeo.

No complaints.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

I grabbed my sunglasses off my face before they were swept away, and then I remembered to lie flat on my back with my feet downstream.

One of the aides on our rafting trip along the lovely Savegre.

Karl Kahler/The Tico Times

Mau reached out to Jordan with his paddle and Jordan grabbed it. I was farther adrift, but I also stretched my paddle toward Jordan, and he grabbed that.

A waterfall stop along the river.

Karl Kahler/The Tico Times

By this chain of paddles we were pulled back to the boat, and Mau grabbed each of us by our life jackets and pulled us into the raft with a smile.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

I had swallowed a little water, but hey — this was one of the two cleanest rivers in Costa Rica. And boy, was it beautiful. I had rafted the better-known Pacuare a few times, with its thrilling Class IV rapids, and thought I might be a bit disappointed with the Class IIIs here.

The scenic Río Savegre.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

But you shouldn’t judge a river by its number. The Savegre, not far from Manuel Antonio, was every bit as thrilling and scenic as the Pacuare, on the other side of the country.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

I asked Mau if he had a rafting nickname.

“At the Pacuare they used to call me the Terrorist,” he said, “because I always flipped people over.”

Happy2

Mau thinks rafting is more fun when people go for an unplanned swim, so he usually works that into the program.

Thanks for letting us know, pal.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

We came upon a boa constrictor sunning itself on a rock next to the river. All our rafts and kayaks pulled over to check this out and take pictures, and the dozing boa didn’t twitch a muscle.

A boa constrictor on a rock beside the river.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

Before he became a rafting guide, Mau had a job delivering beer. He worked a full shift every day, six days a week. Then his sister won a free rafting trip, and he got to go with her, and he found a new lease on life.

One float and Mau was hooked. He soon took steps to quit his beer job and learn how to be a rafting guide.

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

“I did that job for six years,” he said. “It was heavy. Beer is heavy. And now, this is lighter.”

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

(Courtesy of Christopher Mesen/H2O Adventures)

IF YOU GO

For more info: http://www.h2ocr.com
Contact: Contact H2O Adventures at 2777-4092 or at info@h2ocr.com.
What to bring: As little as possible: swimsuit, shirt, sunscreen, sandals, cash for tips. If you have to bring a wallet, passport or phone, ask your guide about a dry bag.

Contact Karl Kahler at kkahler@ticotimes.net.

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