As I mentioned the other day, last Saturday Barb and I went white water rafting and I went swimming in Class IV rapids. I thought I might get some video from Riverbooty.com but they only took stills. Here are what I think are the most interesting of them (sequential frames):
The raft is starting to dig into the water right beside me. Still okay.
Digging in deep and slowing down. My center of gravity is getting close to the edge of the raft but I have my left foot hooked into the bottom of the raft for stability. Still no big worries.
Things are much worse. My momentum carried me over the edge as the raft slowed down and now I have the drag of the water on nearly my entire body. There is almost zero hope of getting back in from here. Jodie is starting to reach for my leg. Barb is unaware.
I still have my left anchored but the raft is coming back up while I have the weight and drag of the water on top of my entire upper body. I remember trying to pull myself back in with my foot but I didn’t have the strength. Jodie is trying to grab me but this is going to be futile.
The raft is back on top of the water and my left foot has slipped free. Part of my body has come up but there is still far too much drag for me to retain a grip on the raft with just my lower legs. Barb is still unaware.
The current starts turning me head downstream which is wrong. You want your feet downstream so you can use them as shock absorbers against rocks and to push yourself away from hazards. I’m still recovering my senses and not doing anything.
The same sequence from a different camera. Click on the pictures for a higher resolution:
The raft pulled off to the side, as did several other rafts, and waited for me to catch up. After turning to face directly upstream I remembered (or did people yell at me? I’m not sure…) to turn with my feet downstream. I probably became separated from the raft by 100 feet or so and didn’t directly encounter the rocks or tree (trees are also known as “strainers” with the swimmer as the “noodle”—very dangerous).
As I approached the collection of rafts the guide in a different raft yelled instructions for me to start swimming. I still had my paddle in one hand and used a side stroke to retain the paddle and get closer to my raft. I wasn’t going to quite intercept it and our guide reached out with his paddle, which I grabbed and was pulled back to the boat. The trainee guide (right rear of the raft with the black hat) pulled me in.
We then completed the journey without events of particular note.
Barb reported that she was very upset and that others in the raft were reassuring and petting her. We decided that Class IV was more than we want to do again. Maybe Class III.
I told our team that for our next morale event I want to do something safer, like play with guns and explosives.