So on my way to Australia to join the Clipper race, I have just spent two days on the river Tembling in Taman Negara (National Park) in Malaysia. Preparation for the Clipper race? Well, it's an extremely wet experience, getting soaked either in the monsoon or on the river or just because in the high humidity it is difficult not to sweat continuously!
The 16 seater narrow boats that transport the visitors and locals around the river, driven from the stern with a Yamaha outboard motor at full throttle, can and need to move fast to navigate upstream against the flow. They are low in the water and the roof does little to protect passengers once a rain storm is underway.
On a trip up the river to visit a village of one of the indigenous Malaysian Orang Asli tribes that live in the jungle we were told 'be prepared to get wet' because it involved 'shooting the rapids'. The 'rapids' turned out to be several stretches of rocky water which ran a bit faster than usual but our guide made sure we got wet by rocking the boat!
Another attraction of the jungle is the canopy walk. This is a rope bridge transversing the canopy about 45 ft from the ground with a plank base about 9 inches wide. It sways as you walk across it and is alarmingly difficult to keep steady. However, the view that you get of the glorious, lush jungle is unsurpassable.
So was getting soaked and swaying on a rope walkway helpful preparation for what lies ahead on the race? No but I am having some fun on the way!
I also learned how to shoot a poisonous dart out of a blowpipe but that's another story .....