Novelty Pool Toys - a near death experience.

We went to Tom Groggin, a lovely bush campsite on the Murray near Thredbo, for a week over the New Year's break. One of our major planned activities for the week was floating down the river and the other two couples came quite well prepared with rubber dinghies and proper lilos, respectively. Jason had bought for us two novelty pool toys. The first was a round inflatable armchair that leaves the rider sitting high above the water, toes just dangling in the water, with no means of steering. The other was a colourful reclining lilo complete with backrest and drink holder. This is my excuse for leading Jason, Nico and I on an unplanned trip down the rapids completely unencumbered by *any* floatation aid.

We jumped in the river as far upstream as we were willing to walk on a sticky day. The river was high after weeks of rain. Tara had lilo-ed down that section of the river before and told us, "I nearly died!"and we laughed.

After a few hundred metres Nico signalled us off the water as he'd seen some fast rapids ahead. I was the last in line, floating on the ridiculous arm chair, and I left my jump too late. I landed in fast, deep water and was completely unable to stop. Jason tried to grab me, but I ricocheted off him. Nico managed to grab me and we were a wavering human chain for a few seconds before Jason, who I had unseated moments earlier, smashed into us breaking the chain.

And then we were off!! Three of us tumbling down the rapids. Falling standing up.

After the deep rapids the river narrowed to a series of rockpools bounded by high rock walls. It became even deeper here, and at one point I sunk under the water, leaving just my hat bobbing down the river. Even now this seems strange to me, as I am strong swimmer and I didn't feel overly panicked. I heard Nico say to Jason, "She's gone under!!". Then I managed to turn my body around so that my feet could take the impact on the rock walls. We bounced down the rock pools, at each one Jason managed to grab on to a rock for a millisecond and he would declare: "It's okay!! We're okay now!!". And then whooosh! We were off again down the river.

At the fourth rock pool there was a well-placed log fallen across the river, at reaching distance from the water. We grabbed it and clung to it, hugging it and panting, three drowned rats in a row.

Ten minutes later we were off down the river again.


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