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Year View| Summary| Highlights| Month View| Friday 21 January 2005 (Day View) – I find out I am now too old to play in flooded creeks.
21.01.2005 – Friday 21 January – Floods, Shock & Custard
- • It’s been flooding, or trying to, for a while now, and today I finally got to go swimming in it – something I’ve been waiting for, ever since coming up here. Jade, Shan and Kylie drove up to the Home Rule Bridge, from the Home Rule side, and I walked down and met them. The water has gone down a bit now – it was too high to walk across the bridge this morning, but now it can be crossed without too much difficulty. We drove back to Home Rule, patched up some tubes, and jumped in the icy cold creek. Ric, Ella, and three girls from Home Rule also came. One of the younger Home Rule girls had a bit of a rough time, hitting a few trees and submerged logs, and got out before we’d gone too far. The rest of us continued back down to the Home Rule Bridge, and on to Shan’s place. I had a small tube, which made it very unstable, so I fell out a few times – but there’s nothing too bad before Shan’s place, and the worst injury I got was a splinter in my thumb, water in my ear, and a nearly-cramped leg.
The two remaining Home Rule girls had got a bit knocked about on the journey from the bridge down to Shan’s, falling out on one rapid, so they went home, while the rest of us walked back to the bridge and jumped in again. This time I had a proper sized tube, and we continued towards the ominously named “Black Rock”, over rapids with exciting names like “Popping Rock” and “The Suction”. I went over one rock that tipped me vertically into the white water behind it, where I fell off. It was at the start of a rapid, typically, but fortunately not one that was likely to kill me. Even so, I expended so much energy saving myself that I didn’t have enough left to get back onto my tube. It’s a bit scary – being so exhausted that I couldn’t do anything other than hold onto my tube and try not to break any bones. Had I been dying, I’d have been unable to do anything about it.
Nothing else too eventful happened before the Black Rock rapids – I enjoyed myself greatly. It has been quite a while since I’ve gone tubing, but I don’t seem to have forgotten how, so I had great fun skilfully navigating rapids, getting stuck in whirlpools, and all the other great things that a flood brings. A few people fell out over a few of the rapids, but no one was badly injured. Shan thought he had broken his leg at one stage, somehow getting it caught between two rocks when he fell off in a rapid, but it was just badly bruised.
Black Rock Rapids however, are probably a little too extreme – pushing the limits of tubing perhaps a little far. I went down the rapids first, to guide the way, but I was also trying to keep an eye on Ella in case she lost her tube, and it’s rather pointless being in front for that as there’s no way to stop – if someone has trouble behind me, I can’t help them. With this in mind, about halfway down I held back so she could pass me. We’ve very little control where we go – we’re pretty much at the mercy of the water as it rushes over the immense submerged boulders that it normally winds its way sedately through. I had Ella in front of me, and Kylie behind me. I didn’t have time to see where anyone else was, as I had to fight with all my strength to stop being turfed out of my tube myself. About halfway down Ella went directly over the top of a small waterfall, amazingly managing to remain on her tube as she landed in the turbulent suction at the foot of the fall. She came up panicked and crying, so I spent the rest of the rapids trying to save her, but by that time, it was all I could do to keep close enough to her to save her should she lose her tube, and not lose my own tube. The general idea is to avoid going directly over the top of waterfalls, but instead go just slightly to one side, riding the wave they form, but not being sucked too far into the suction caused by the water pounding over the fall as it will likely suck you under and pound you against rocks. Then, unless you really have your wits about you, you’ll try to protect yourself with your arms and come up for air, forgetting to hold onto your tube and it will remain tossing about at the base of the waterfall while you’re ejected directly into the next waterfall. Going over waterfalls is probably not a good idea at anytime – it’s a particularly bad idea without a tube, and in rapids such as these, losing your tube halfway down means you’ve several waterfalls you’re going to be thrown over, sucked around, and battered by. Even if you don’t lose your tube, it’s remarkably hard to get back on while being thrown around rapids.
By the time we all got to the bottom of the rapids, all three girls were crying and in shock – all had thought they were going to die. Jade had been thrown from her tube sometime earlier on, and gone down the rapids without it. She thought she had broken her leg, as she couldn’t move it. Kylie had also been thrown from her tube, but managed to keep hold of it, although she couldn’t get back on it. She went down on her tube on her stomach, with Shan doing his best to guide her around waterfalls. She thought she had broken her toe – which was very swollen. I’d been keeping an eye on Ella, and she hadn’t really had any problems – she hadn’t fallen off her tube, but she’d still thought she was going to drown, and was in shock. It is a bit of a shock – you go over a huge wave, down a vertical cliff of water and plunge deep into a writhing mass of water, which is rushing against the flow back into the base of the waterfall. The surface of the water is sucks you back into the thundering mass of water flying over the waterfall, which then pushes you underwater and out. Then, before you can think, either you’ve been turfed off your tube and are fighting for your life, or you’ve been pushed out of that wave and are flying towards the next. All you can do is paddle, trying to steer around the edge of the cliffs of water surging over submerged boulders, while trying to plan a route so you don’t end up right on top of another waterfall when you’ve got around the current one. It goes on and on – from the top of one waterfall, you can see right down the cliff to where the savage white water is waiting for you at the bottom, and at the same time, you can see several other sharp drops waiting directly after that, but you don’t get time to think.
The poor girls were all crying and shocked, and refused to go anywhere near the water. Two of them couldn’t walk for a while – Shan had to carry Kylie, who wouldn’t stop shaking. Ric, who had also come off his tube, and ripped his shirt and gashed his shoulder, headed off to Doug’s to get help and call Shan’s parents. Doug drove down and picked up Jade and Kylie, who couldn’t walk that well – and Shan, Ella and I walked back to the bridges where we met Shan’s father and they all went home. So there we go – I’ve got at least one flooded swim in these holidays, and survived. I only fell off in one rapid, but it wasn’t a bad one, although I did fall off all over the place when I had the small tube, but there wasn’t anything that serious at that stage. It was a bit scary when I did fall off, realising that I didn’t have the energy to save myself had I needed to, but fortunately I didn’t need to at that stage. In fact, my worst injury is a splinter in my thumb – which is actually quite annoying while I’m typing. The water was the perfect level, any higher and the rapids lose some of their charm as the waterfalls tend to flatten out and become boring, and any lower and the rocks begin to get scarily close to the surface, making navigation much more difficult – landing on a rock that’s only a few inches underwater is not good.
- • As soon as I got home, I had slide my way through the mud and gathering gloom, to the pump, and carry it up higher so it isn’t washed away if it keeps raining. Lugging a very heavy pump up a slippery mudslide through the dark jungle isn’t really all that fun. I then relaxed in front of my computer, eating custard and cream, and feeling a little sick and sore from today’s exertions.
- Comment by Mum – Saturday 29 January 2005, 9:29 PM
- Ok. Ma does not approve. Several years ago...."Ma look at us...." Yeah, okay. Not too happy about son and daughter risking necks in flooded creek, but being assured of "fun, is okay" by parents of nearly-drowned Ella/Shan/Kylie/Jade.....I posited myself at The Bend to see kiddies having fun. Heh, heh, little darlings thought I as I sat in the torrential downpours, watching with alarm (shove aside alarm. God is) as river (formerly called creek) raged....RAGED... "Look at us Mum, wave....etc" Okay. Sodden and apprehensive, I heard a distant collective shriek, which in about a split second became a full frontal shriek which lasted about a semi semi split second and in a blur and a flash, The Whole Mob sped past my designated spot with Immense Screams (which I, in inc
- Comment by Mum – Saturday 29 January 2005, 9:37 PM
- Cant even finish the whole ordeal. Never will look again. The blur or screaming kids fanging past in a flash, all of the screaming (I guess it is in joy, thunk I weakly)....gah, dont even ask me to look again else it will be BIG MA and YOUS VERBOTEN (this was about 450 years and 400,000 grey hairs ago) He still does it. She also, when out here. I still do it. Sit at home twitching......am I a widow, son widow yet?
- Comment by Mum – Sunday 6 February 2005, 2:49 PM
- Why is this repeating? I say again, why is this repeating. It is repeating, and why is it repeating, repeating.