Date: Wednesday, 9 June 2021
River: North Esk River.
Water level: 2.10m.
A mid week trip in The middle of exam season, who’s not keen? After a good bunch of rain around the state, josh decided he didn’t need to study, and that the nesk was calling.
With various road accidents and a fair bit of rain clogging up the outlet, we made a slightly slow start getting away form the sheds but nothing too major. The rain we left behind in Hobart with a back wind and some sunshine greeting us as we arrived at the get in, picking up Ben on the way leaving the mighty Mazda 121 at the get out. After pumping rafts, Ben breaking into the lolly and chocolate supply early, and everyone getting their gear on, we got on water about 11:30 and she was pumping at 2.1 m!
We spilt the team of eight between two purples and one blue. Josh gave a detailed and excellent safety briefing before getting on water. Everyone was very excited to run the Nesk.
Having got on water and more than a lil excite Josh and Ben in their R2 announced that they would obviously flip eventually so it was a good call to get it out of the way. After taking a few attempts to actually flip the purple, Ben successfully re-righted the rafting by pure strength alone, losing the freshly opened block of chocolate in the manoeuvre. What a disappointment.
With a fair bit of mucking around we meandered our way down to the two tears. We Eddied out above, and after a thorough scouting a keen team of Ruth, Ben, Josh, Dan, and the excellent James guiding we headed for the first drop in a purple with others running safety for us. Running skillfully through the top rock dodgem we entered drop, emulating our much missed bucket boat, we fully submerged the purple, only losing josh in the process. With josh recovered, and not pinned to the wall, we ferried accord to the left Eddy and congratulated ourselves on our fantastic work. The entire groupsmiling happily, a second run with a team of five again was decided for the other purple. A new line for the entrance was picked, and Ben left as a white water safety we went for it again! This time, we again created our signature submarine, managing to keep the whole team within the boat, but filling her up with plenty of water too. Our ferry gliding was ineffective, just slightly missing the Eddy, and doing the second drop backwards. Josh’s lack of locking in came apparent when her flew back into the middle of the purple through the drop, landing gracefully on Ruth’s leg, and then proceeding to flop while the rest of the team paddled for the Eddy. Good on ya Josh, so helpful.
Then came time to get the blue down. It was decided that three, Ben James and Dan, would be the perfect weight load for the run. Well, as it turned out James changed his mind just as they started to turn hortizontal on the middle of the drop, tumbling out of the back of the boat leaving his crew to R2. The crew, having lost what was evidently just dead weight, R2ed to the Eddy. James, being double throw bagged and swimming to the safety of the Eddy was in good spirits and seemed fine. glad no one was injured and nothing was flipped in what was some solid white water.
Getting the other two rafts down the second drop was fairly well executed, with James taking photos then R1ing the third from below the drop to meet us in the Eddy after the drop. With the exception of bens small swim, which he claims doesn’t count because he “never let go of the boat”, and my boat hitting a stopper rather hard, sending a chain reaction of hits up the boat and some nasty bruises to Wills shins, it all went pretty smoothly.
Ben introduced a new rule for the guides and R2s, anyone stuck in a rock was immediately demoted one rank in guides, by the next feature, clear to say, it was a trip of 100% punters. Overall, fairly sticky rocks, with James complaining that his boat was the most full and the largest, but as the most senior guide, we elected it was perfectly fair rules.
On the straight coming up to the bridge, Ben decided josh hadn’t had enough of a swim, picking him up and chucking into the water, unsuccessful at first, but his determination getting them both into the water eventually. Ben getting plenty wet in return for his trouble, good spirits all round as we got excited for the last big feature.
We paddled down to the next big rapid just after the bridge and scouted that too. James set up his cameras, and was excited to capture the runs around the corner. Will and Janina did their run, bouncing off the wall and hitting just about the middle of the chute out, a good line, not too much panic. Ben and josh disscussed their technique; weather it was best to start backwards, then bounce off the wall to avoid the ledge and finish facing downstream, or to just do the usual. In an unexpected turn of events it appeared they had opted for the backwards approach, Was not terribly successful. In reality they had maintained what josh later described as “taking no line”, hitting a rock before the wall, turning to enter the wall backwards, then spinning away from the wall and hitting the hard right of the small chute. While they stayed in the boat for the whole section, they were collectively less than impressed with their efforts, but they’re always enthusiastic even if perhaps not the most sensible combination. A smooth run with Ben guiding James’ boat followed as James elected stayed on the corner to photograph the journey through. This run avoided the rock and hit a little far right on the chute but eddied nicely, with good control.
Having decided no paddling was needed for the rest of the run, Janina found herself a lovely hole, a very impressive effort to attempt a flip in what is harmless play waves and rocks. Good on you!
Ben and josh practised their double guiding, really getting the nose of their boat up in the air in the final sections and going fairly slowly, missing a crew to paddle for them.
The mighty Zook, towing the trailer both ways, is growing on the rafting team, watched the beautiful sunset on the road we then hit a lovely batch of fog, rain and a fairly strong headwind. Unfortunately for our time back to the sheds, josh refused to allow navigation and added an extra 20 minutes return in the Launnie direction, before getting on the highway back towards Hobart; oh well, not like towing the trailer slowed us down too much.
All round, excellent gang of rafters, on a pumping nesk with some fun geology quizzing thrown in to keep the day classed as a study day for Ruth and Ben.