Monday, August 22, 2005

Adam's Raft Trip

Raft Photo 300dpi
Originally uploaded by aritenou.
The engineering company that I'm working for paid for a raft trip on the Deschutes River for any of their employees and their families that wanted to go. VERY COOL!!! I have personally gone on this very same rafting trip a few times before and it has been very enjoyable each time I have went.

Most of the trip was standard but I do want to tell you about something that happened on this trip that has never happened to me, or our guide, before. There are several rapids on this stretch of river where you can "surf." This means to run though the rapid then come back around almost to the head of the rapid again using an adjacent eddy. Then using the eddy current and paddling really hard you can catch a standing wave in the rapid and just sit there ridding the wave pretty much as long as you want. This is very interesting and fun to do.

At one of these surfing rapids we come around to surf it and get into a good surf. That's where everything goes kinda wrong. Usually when you fall off the wave your boat will turn sideways drag a bunch of current kinda start to get sucked under but then you just get kicked-out and you ride the rest of the way down the rapid. That is not what happened this particular time.

We started to fall off the wave and went sideways like normal but then our raft drags a SHIT load of current and immediately is about half full of water. Here is the sequence that follows for the next 60 seconds or so.

1-15 sec: The raft tilts to about a 45 deg angle upstream and fills to about 2/3 full.

15-20 sec: The other guy in the front of the raft (my boss) falls out and is immediately sucked completely under the boat. Guide says "OH SHIT"!!

20-40 sec: The raft continued to tip and fill with water. The water is now up to my nipples. The raft almost flips.

40-55 sec: Our guide is paddling trying to get us out of there. He tells me to paddle. I paddle.

55-65 sec: We finally start to come out of it but then our raft tips the other way (down river) and starts to fill up with water again.

65+ sec: We somehow finally get out of it and float down through the rest of the rapid. We pick up the guy that fell out. He was totally fine.

So as you can see from the photo there were 2 kids in the boat. They were pretty freaked out. But everything was fine. No one got hurt. I thought it was fucking great. I wanted to do it again.

Here is why this was so weird. I was talking to our guide about this event later and he said he has never seen or even heard about anything like that happen there before and this guy has been guiding this river for 6+ years. "That was epic man!!" the guide said. The reason this was so weird is not only did we almost flip when we were tipping upriver, we then almost flipped tipping down river. I guess the downriver flip isn't even supposed to be possible according to the guide. So call me special because I have done something you probably couldn't do if you tried. Our guide certainly couldn't believe it had happened.

Go whitewater rafting. It's fun.



Blogger JB said...

"15-20 sec: The other guy in the front of the raft (my boss) falls out and is immediately sucked completely under the boat. Guide says "OH SHIT"!!"

When your guide says "Oh, Shit" you know that can't be good.

But I love whitewater rafting precisely BECAUSE of such moments.

8/22/2005 7:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to go whitewater rafting out in Washington state (mostly class 3 rivers) and once I was the one who got pitched out the back and sucked underneath the boat. (According to the others later, our guide also said, "Oh, Shit!") The raft was being held in place over my head by the extremely strong eddy, and I was trying to swim but being pushed back under at the same time - I think I was under for probably 40 seconds or so but it seemed longer - I remember all I could see was light green boiling water and I could feel the bottom of the raft with my hands. I remember also weirdly thinking, "Hrmm, I guess this is how I am going to die?" Then allofasudden it spit me out the side and the guide saw me and everyone pulled me by my collar back into the raft. They were far more freaked at that time than I was - it wasn't until later that I had an emotional reaction. Actually if you count it out, 40 seconds is a long time I guess.

8/27/2005 7:43 AM  

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