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My personal caranage

Saturday Oct 15, 2005
Participants:
Kayak: Cheryl, Jim, Lisa, Martha, Steve, John B, Jon M, Ian and a few others
Organizer: Cheryl
Difficulty: int-adv WW
Level: medium
Author: Cheryl

The day began out superb, albeit cloudy. I was about to paddle with my favorite buddies and a few extra bringing the group total up to 16.

We were putting on the lower Moose. I was excited because last year I had done it really low. This year there was water and lots of it, but I knew I wasn't going to be pushing my limits.

We played around near the put in. I was pleased that I managed to surf my creek boat, I felt the day was going to be good. I confidently ran the next drop picked the perfect line and carefully sat in the eddy and watched everyone else come down like a line of lemmings.

We came to Tannery, which is one of the more substantial rapids on the Lower Moose. We took off to scout. While scouting I watched as a couple of kayakers including some of our own group chose a line towards the center which dropped you in to an eddy. The line looked worse than it actually was.

I chatted with the group and we eyed up a sneak on the hard right and at the same time I noticed a sweet tongue through the holes. The holes were munching and but were not tremendously huge but definitely on the sticky side.

We scouted the rest of the rapid and noted the next major ledge could only be run down the centre tongue to avoid any carnage with the river wide hole.

As we walked back I began to scout the line between the top two holes. I ran it over and over in my head I picked key points knowing if I decided to run it there was no margin for error.

Nobody else seemed keen on my line so we agreed Lisa would run the center line, Jim the sneak and I would follow warning everybody I may decided to change from Jim's line and commit to my own.

I followed about 2 ft behind Jim, I looked below and the line looked too tempting to pass up the opportunity. I knew I could make it. In my head I knew I had to come down the tongue with my bow facing slightly right, brace on to the kicker, which would in all accounts kick me right, just behind the hole. Allowing me to use the slack water behind to set up for my next maneuver.

I watched Jim go right and I knew once I was left of my key rock I was committed! I committed. I paddled down the tongue my bow slightly right braced off the kicker and then all hell broke loose! Had I miss judged the slack water? Had I not hit the kicker right?

I was now in the hole in my kayak. I wasn't too concerned I rolled the boat up and began to side surf. However the violence of the hole had literally forced me to side surf lying on my back deck. My skirt stretched at max as the bow went down the force of water began to peel the skirt off around the rim'S!%t ... s!%t! No problem the hole wasn't huge so I thought it would just release me! Things went from bad to really f*!^ing bad!

I tried to move in the hole but every time I tried either to surf or dive I would be violently flipped. This wasn't good ... everything I had been taught was not working. I tried to hold my head above the surface so I could see what was happening around me ... Jim was out of his boat.

For some stupid reason I began to scream 'Help' even though my brain was telling me to calm down and be rationale and save my breath.

The next few moments seem to take for ever. I was continuously being bashed and beaten around in the hole ... towards the end I began to think every breath would be last! My vision was starting to blur, my breaths were short and felt like fire. My body felt like it had begun to shut down - I tried to relax in the hope if I relaxed the water would some how force me out.

I looked at the surface only to see the throw line down stream!

I irrationally screamed 'help' I was annoyed at myself for wasting my possibly last breath.

From the bank. Jim and Martha had witnessed my entrance it to the hole and assumed as I had that it would quickly release me. They scrambled from their boats when they realized I was in a bad situation. Jim became frustrated that when he threw the rope at me I would disappear under water and resurface behind the hole.

They watched helplessly as despite the fact it looked like slack water, the hole would take me for my next down time.

I knew they were throwing me a line so every time I went down I tried to keep my hands above the surface so they could see I was still trying to catch the line.

The thoughts running through my head ranged from 'God if this is my time to go, please don't make it any more painful I want it to be quick'

Oh f!%^ what must be going through my friends' heads watching me struggle in here, f!%^ why should they have to witness this?

This is it - this is my last breath - it hurts so much ...

My relaxation or something must have worked - I flushed out.

They reckon I was in the Hole for over a minute. They had time to throw one throw line twice!

After coming out of the hole I wasn't out of danger - I was still at the top of the rapid. John B tried to get me on his stern - my lack of breath/energy and the strength of the water just ripped me away and carried me down stream.

As I was carried down stream I gasped for every little bit of air I could get, terrified that I may end up in the next hole! Thankfully I was cleanly swept down stream, I don't remember if I hit anything. My body whole system felt like it was on shut-down, it was totally unresponsive to any actions I asked it.

I hit the pool at the bottom where John immediately let me grab his bow then stern. He was too tired to paddle me in so between him and another boater I rested until a raft that had witnessed it all dragged me on board and took me to shore. (they had also rescued my kayak).

My lungs felt like they were on fire, I could barely breath still.

In my dazed state on shore too weak to cry I was grateful to be alive and for the quick thinking of people around me.

In a good rationale decision I decided to take off. Two days later I am still hurting - but I am so thankful for everyone who helped in the rescue - even for the Hugs and Tears at the end.

Unfortunately for the rest of the crew the day continued in the same manner .. carnage after carnage, the lower Moose Gods were certainly at large.

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