The thrill of riding the Niagara
Peek at the River Niagara downstream05-Jul-2012 12:24, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 8.0, 17.0mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 100
05-Jul-2012 10:26, samsung SGH-I997, 2.6, 3.935mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 39
Thursday morning, the day after July 4th, peeking out of the room I saw only a few people on the banks of the falls. Perfect day to do the rides. We stepped out and first did the ‘Journey behind the falls’. There was hardly any wait. This attraction is basically a carving of a tunnel into the rock behind the Niagara. You take an elevator down about 130 feet and walk. There are two points where you are directly behind the falls – you can see the thundering water jetting down in a window about 10×10. There is a barricade so we are about 10 feet behind the water. The roar of the Niagara is deafening. As I watched the falls, I was struck with two things – 1) the might of the Niagara that has eroded more than 200feet of solid rock in the past 250 years and how it incessantly continues to live at its fullest. 2) The might of the man himself to tunnel over 200 feet of solid rock to get to the falls – just an indication, that man can achieve anything that he sets a mind onto. Taking photographs is an extreme challenge because of the low light and extreme white of the falling water creating an high contrast. Secondly, your camera has to be waterproof. Thirdly, you will hardly see much in the photo as in one of the photos alongside. Experiencing and capturing are two different things here.
Don't miss Speed boating on these rapids05-Jul-2012 13:27, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 8.0, 28.0mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 100
We decided to skip the Maid of the Mist ride as we had done this before on all of our previous visits. We checked out of the hotel and headed to the Spanish Aerocar. This is a cable suspended car that traverses across the river taking about 5 minutes each way. You get to see the roaring rapids. These rapids vary in strength and are called ‘Class # rapids’ where # is the number 1-6, with six being the strongest rapids anywhere. The Niagara river has all these categories represented. The view from up top was fascinating – drop of about 200 feet below would take the life out of anyone. The fall itself will be fatal, let alone thinking of getting out of the currents.
04-Jul-2012 20:12, Canon Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XS, 20.0, 28.0mm, 0.05 sec, ISO 100
We had bought tickets for the Jet boat rides. These enormous jet boats would take us upstream through all the rapids except those class six, of which we would get a view from about 50 feet or so. The Jet boat ride was exhilarating and was my top choice amongst all the attractions available on either side of the border. It was a one hour boat ride. The boat has 3, 500 HP engines for a total of 1500 HP. That’s incredible power and needed to fight the river currents. The captain of the boat first took us downstream and on calm water did what he called a Hamilton turn which is a 360 degree turn at high speed. We got a whiff of what it will be. Still nervous, we headed towards the fall.
There were about seven rows and the first three rows were for those who were willing to get drenched – the guide said they won’t know how fast it (the water) will come. We were on row four. The group enjoyed the ride thoroughly – there were young and old, all shrieking at times. The rush of water onto us was termed differently for each intensity – starting from spray to a Tsunami to a Big Kahuna. There were other names for those in between these. The sun was extremely hot and thank god for the water, we stayed cooler. But we were all wet by the time the ride was over. The class six rapids that we stopped by to look had fascinating statistics. These currents were strong enough to hold down a log the length of a telephone pole underneath them for over a week. The strength of these current prevent the scientific community from gauging the actual depth of the river at these points.