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Friday, for the first time in my life...

...I honestly thought I was going to die. And it was all caught on video (right click and save).


Ok, so maybe I'm being a little dramatic, I doubt I was ever really close to dying, but really, when you're stuck underwater 10 seconds feels like 10 minutes.

So to start at the beginning, Friday Sara, Kristen, Amy and I went white water rafting. I had done it last year with my family and had a blast despite the fact that I broke my finger in the first half hour and spent the remaining 5 1/2 paddling with it broken. This year was really different though.

Normally the "best" time of the year to go rafting is May/June since the spring thaw has the water levels really high, which make for some really awesome rapids. This week though, it's been raining like there's no tomorrow, and it's been so cold that none of it's been evaporating. This means that the water was almost as high as in May/June. I think they said the highest the water ever gets is 8 3/4 (meters? I have no clue) and on Friday the water was at 8. This made some of the rapids disappear completely, but made the last big one, really, really big.

3 of the boats made it through perfectly fine, they didn't even lose anyone overboard, but our boat hit it at a bad angle and flipped as you can see in the video.

The thing is, it scared the crap out of me. I was on the side that went under, all of my friends were on the side that dangled in the air for a bit so they knew what was coming, but I was under water before I realized what was happening. To me it felt like I went really deep too. I was wearing a life jacket and kicking for all I was worth, but I still ran out of air. When I finally got close to the surface I hit the raft and was pushed back under so it felt like fucking *forever* before I finally got that breath of air. And as soon as I did I was sucked under again.

Before each rapid they told us what we should do if we end up in the water, in this case we were supposed to swim right, but with the rapids throwing me all over the place I couldn't even tell you which way was up, let alone which way was right. I did however remember that they said to float on your back with your legs out in front of you so that you can kick off of what ever you're going to crash into. I tried doing that for a bit, but I couldn't get my feet to face the right direction.

Once we got into slightly calmer water I still couldn't calm down, since even though I had my head above water, I still couldn't breath. I ton of water had gone up my nose, and it was now trickling down the back of my throat making it really really hard to breath. I started coughing and sputtering, and finally clued into the fact that people were yelling "Swim Right. Swim Right!". They had motor boats, that I thought were supposed to be picking us up, but apparently they only picked up people that were caught in the current. I was left to swim back, and let me tell you. I'm not a strong swimmer. I still do the doggy paddle most of the time. Finally one of the guides came and towed me in.

The other's were mostly ok. I met up with Kristen in the water, holding onto one of her shoes (she'd lost the other). Amy being a strong swimmer was actually the first of anyone to make it back to shore; all on her own too. She had hit a few people falling out of the boat, and had a small scratch on her leg (which turned into a big black bruise by the next day) but that was it. Kristen also had a few scratches but was mostly fine. Sarah was one of the two people picked up by the boat. She'd gotten caught in the current had hit a rock. Her knew was all red and she had a really hard time waling. I didn't realize it right away, but my face hurt like a mother fucker. I think I must have either face planted it into a rock, or else while attempting to swim I whacked myself in the face with my paddle (which I held onto, I was the only one who managed that *is proud*). Anyways currently I can't really touch anywhere around my right eye, and my entire nose is kind of swollen and sore. See below for the horrible picture of my face :S




Over all it wasn't a bad day, it's just that whole ordeal scared me really badly. Also, it *hurt*. I'm such a wuss. If anyone would like to see the whole video, it's here (right click and save). I was on Chris' boat. Listen to what he has to say at the beginning. :P

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
melibabe
Jul. 16th, 2007 03:20 am (UTC)
Man, that so reminds me of a work outing I had two years ago. "Kayak"ing (not real kayaks but the larger plastic ones that take on water easily and thus swamp over easily) on what was supposed to be a fairly easy river.

No guide, though, and all my co-workers had been drinking since we got on the bus at the office at 8am. So at one point, rather than taking us down the right side of a specific drop, they took us down the left, which was basically a chute situation.

I went out and found myself struggling in my life jacket and getting the same water up the nose thing. Fortunately, my boss had casually mentioned earlier that you should float on your back in that situation, so I did. That let me breathe, but then I had to contend with getting pushed toward the bank, with rocks and low tree branches.

Eventually, one of our party came over with my kayak and helped tow it with me hanging on to where we could dump the water out and get me back in it. (The other 20 people were apparently too drunk to notice.)

The rest of the trip was equally lovely - stretches of "your kayak is stuck on the sand" intermixed with "you're about to die" and "you are scraping your legs all over these sharp, underwater rocks."

I still have a scar on my shin from that trip.... Yay team building. Oh, well, I don't work there anymore anyway. :D
paraka
Jul. 17th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
Yeah, they served beer *after* the rafting, I can't imagine doing that drunk. Actually we got there really early and tried kayaking, I was having trouble doing it sober, I can't imagine doing it tipsy/drunk.

I *hate* getting water up my nose. The only consolation this time was that at least the water didn't have chlorine in it. Then it *burns* too, and you're feeling it for days.

kukalaka
Jul. 16th, 2007 07:23 am (UTC)
OMG! I just saw the whole video. Note to myself: Never go rafting. ;) Most of the parts looked like fun, but the other part looked so scary. OMG.
paraka
Jul. 17th, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
It *was* fun, but I honestly don't know if I could do it again. It just scared me too much. I'm not really a thrill seeking kind of person.

I wouldn't let my experience stop you though. I mean I had the option of walking the rapid, I knew it was
paraka
Jul. 17th, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
Um, k, that just posted mid sentence for no reason. Anyways, as I was saying:

The let you know all the risks before each rapid, and you have the option of walking it. I had done this run last year and it was fine, it was just because of all the rain we'd been getting lately.
kukalaka
Jul. 17th, 2007 09:10 am (UTC)
I'm not really a thrill seeking kind of person.
Me neither.

I wouldn't let my experience stop you though.
I probably won't have the opportunity to do such a thing anyway...
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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