Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inflatable Speedboat ride along Thames river - RIB Experience, a thrill ride to Thames Barrier

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Thames RIB Experience
Book your tickets
Or discounted tickets
Nearest Train station: Embankment
The tickets have been booked well in advance. Even though there was an earlier downpour, it had reduced to a drizzle. I was initially worried that we weren't exactly properly attired for the ride.

"Please wear clothes that can withstand wind and water" cautioned one of the points made in a two page full disclaimer that got printed together with our tickets. Suddenly, fleece seemed like a really bad idea.

Luckily for us, the staff at Thames Rigid Inflatable Boat (RIB) Experience had full sets of waterproof jacket and pants ready for us. There was no fuss about sizes for they all looked huge - Wife was practically swimming in hers. They reminded me of puffier ski wear.

There were eight of us on the twelve seater ride to Thames Barrier and back that afternoon. Tickets for the Thames RIB are highly sought after during weekends and I had to take a day off work just for this. Apparently, there are discounted tickets available if you turn up on the spot at Embankment Pier but you are taking your chances. Else check out Lastminute.com that sometimes have discounted tickets available.

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After donning our waterproof suit, each of us was handed a inflatable life jacket. Apparently, there is a fee of £25 if we accidentally tug on its quick inflate cord. I take care where I rest my hands after hearing that.

The ride promises a thrill ride down Thames. Having walked up and down the stretch between Westminster and Tower of London countless times, I would have thought that I've seen it all. But the buildings and monuments look rather different from the middle of Thames; riding right up next to HMS Belfast permanently docked on the Southbank seems rather surreal. The ship feels much smaller than viewing it from the bank.

For some reason, people on bridges and river banks love to wave to those on the boats. They went crazy for if you're on a speedboat.

The real speeding is done only after we have well cleared Tower Bridge and beyond due to safety reasons. When the throttle was ramped up, we were basically sailing through air, all thanks to the choppy water. The captain threw in a couple of twists and turns for good measure. Nothing so much that would turn a stomach though.

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Other than the 75min ride to Thames Barrier and back, there's a shorter 50min ride to and fro Canary Wharf. If you have been to Thames Barrier, the Canary Wharf ride would more than suffice. I would recommend checking out the weather forecast before booking. The last thing you want is to cower in your suit for the entire ride - having raindrops hitting you at when you are speeding over water is no joke at all.


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