Megs & Kim had just finished their first 6 week posting for the Physio year & were keen to escape the city and go for a paddle.
Hoping that the rain that had hit the west coast had reached Murchison we hit the road.
Straight into the Lower Matakitaki, I quickly realised that it was lower than week before, we slowly negotiated our way through the first few sections. Near the end I managed to pin myself on an undercut rock. Still able to breath and knowing that as long as i didn't move I was alright I waited for Megs & Kim to get into a position of safety.
After about 5 minutes (no exaggeration) I was contemplating my options.
- push myself backwards and hope to flush off the other side of the rock, then tuck to my boat to avoid being pummeled by more rocks.
- pull deck and hope the changed water pressure would move the boat (or potenially pin me worse)
- reach over the rock and try and pull forward and through the small gap between the two rocks.
- use a throw bag to get a lateral pull from the girls on the bank.
- and i'm sure some other plans were thought of too.
I felt around and tried to push backwards to no avail, I then felt underneath the rocks I was pinned against & realised that their was a lot of water pushing through a small gap below me. A gap that I wouldn't go through very easily!
I found a new hand hold on one of the rocks and managed to pull myself higher out of the water, which gave me enough power to pull over the top of the rock. I stalled slightly as the boat tried to fall into a crack, but quickly came to rest in the water on the other side.
A decent little scare, and an interesting situation. All turned out alright but another reminder of how quickly things can change on the river.
We finished the run and headed down to check out ariki falls (again lower than i've seen it. Not keen to drop into the churning/surging hole at the bottom. Camp was at the Earthquake put-in, sandflys made the night miserable and got us out & on the river early the next morning.
A scratchy run killed our enthusiasm and we decided to head back to Christchurch. Mental note Murchison low can be a little bit annoying/boney.
Having trouble attaching photos right now, so no pretty pictures to look at :(