Weight Loss Support - Whitewater Rafting Reassurance




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mandalinn82
06-29-2006, 04:06 PM
When I first came to 3FC, I posted about an upcoming rafting trip - well, the trip is this weekend, and I'm petrified.

I tend to get anxiety around unfamiliar situations. I remember when I first posted, there were a lot of "it'll be great, you'll have so much fun" replies from people who've done a lot of rafting..I could use a few more of those right now.

My biggest fear - I'll fall out and they won't be able to haul my generously-sized butt back in the boat. I'm so random. ::sigh::


WaterRat
06-29-2006, 04:42 PM
This is a commercial, guided trip? Like big rafts with 8-10 people and several rafts together? It'll be fun. :) And trust me, commercial operations hate it when the customers fall in. :lol: And the guides are - or should be - trained in what to do when the unthinkable happens.

I've been on a number of these trips weighing well over 200 and there was never any concern on the operator's part. My biggest issue was getting into the dry suit....

Just do what they tell you, relax and enjoy yourself. It really is fun. :)

mandalinn82
06-29-2006, 04:56 PM
Its sort of a commercial guided trip. I am going with a coworkers husband, who works as a guide but who owns his own equipment/boat/etc. And they are VERY experienced rafters, but taking us down easy rapids.

Ya'll are probably going to think I'm ridiculous, but when I get uncomfortable, I try to get myself into situations like the one thats worrying me so I can sort of desensitive. So far, in an attempt to relieve the slight panic over the rafting trip, I've gone paddleboating, canoeing, and kayaking. Its helping, a little.

Summer = no dry suits - I have quick dry capri pants (you can't get me in shorts for all the water in the world) and a t-shirt to wear over my swimsuit.

I'm being ridiculous. I just had one really bad water sport experience (in the Pacific ocean, in Hawaii, falling out of a sea kayak and not being able to get back in) and ever since new ones scare me.


junebug41
06-29-2006, 05:06 PM
You'll be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

Trust me. If you do happen to fall out (which is highly unlikely), the adrenaline rush alone will help you fling yourself back in the boat. And give your friends (and the guide....ahem...) a little more credit. They will reach down, grab you by the back of your jacket and basically fling you back in the boat. And I suspect your not going to go completely limp, either. Right? You will be helping the cause.

If you are concerned about your weight preventing you from being lifted back in, don't. If you fall out (again, HIGHLY unlikely), one of two things will happen.

1. You get hoisted back in. Not a problem.
2. You swim to the river bank.

Just remember, point your feet downstream (not your head, please ;) )

So, you know how at the beginning of every flight you have to listen to that little spiel about the oxygen mask and putting your head between your legs? That's kind of what this is (and what they will do before your trip). In the highly highly highly unlikely event...

Just remember to pay attention, lean inwards instead of outwards and if you aren't comfortable with paddling, don't. And I'm begging you. Don't let this worrying about being too big to get back in the boat thing ruin your trip. In the end, it will be a waste of good vacation time. "Unscheduled adventure swims" aren't as bad as they sound. And again, they are extremely uncommon.

This does remind me of my first river trip. I was 9 or 10 and the guide was giving us the old "what to do if...." talk on the bus and he told us that if we fell out to swim to the right. On the left sat train tracks and no room for much else (it's against a canyon wall). He said that it was a long walk back to town and if a train came along we would have to get back in the river. It scared the mess out of me (even though it was completely false)! To this day, whenever I take a trip down that river I always make a mental note to "swim to the right". And then I giggle at the utter stupidity of it.

edit: Please tell me you are going to be wearing a jacket?

jtammy
06-29-2006, 05:18 PM
I haven't done lots of them, but I have done a couple, and they were fantastic. I'm so glad that I didn't chicken out of it because I had a blast each time.

The first time I came "this close" to not going and I would have missed such a good time. I'm envious of you getting to go :D. Have a great time!

mandalinn82
06-29-2006, 05:21 PM
Hahaha - Of COURSE I will be wearing a lifejacket! Its, like, my one safety net.

Heres how it generally goes when I freak out about something (for example, the first time I got into a canoe). I freak out 2-3 days before. Then I get there and spend 5 minutes in a bit of a state. Then I am fine and generally have a great time. So I know if I get through the day or two until the trip, I'll be fine. I'm DEFINITELY not one to let fear ruin the fun, I'm almost always over it within the first 10 minutes. Its the ANTICIPATION that kills me.

On the plus side, we're going to be on river for 4-5 hours, and according to FitDay, that burns about 5 times more than what I normally burn in a day with my normal exercise (something ridiculous - over 2000 calories)...yay for extra calories burned!

JuliaTN
06-29-2006, 05:22 PM
A good healthy fear is never a completely bad thing, it keeps you from doing stupid things. That said, you'll be fine.

I've been rafting on the Zambezi River in southern Africa (supposedly the biggest white water that is commercially rafted). There, they have someone in a kayak following behind to hoist the "swimmers" over their boat and then take them back to the appointed raft. I survived and I can't even hold my breath under water without physically holding my nose.

If your guide says you're going through "easy rapids" it's very unlikely that you'll go unintentionally swimming but it honestly isn't a big deal even if you do, just remember (as the previous poster said) to point your feet downstream and DON'T try to stand up in the water even if it isn't over your head. And any guide worth his Teva's can pull you back into the raft with little or no help (but it won't look very graceful so be prepared for that;) ).

Edit: In addition to the life jacket, you should also be wearing a helmet, just in case.

junebug41
06-29-2006, 05:30 PM
It's crazy how many calories you can burn by just "sitting there" (of course, you aren't just sitting, you're moving with the raft...)

Julia- you got that right regarding the ungracefulness of it. I'm blushing just thinking about the one time I've had to be pulled in (after a scheduled swim). I'm so very jealous about your trip down the Zambezi. That must have been truly incredible!

JuliaTN
06-29-2006, 09:12 PM
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Incredible is a good word, I am incredulous that I went and survived. I think I swam on about 8 of the 18-20 rapids - and apparently that's about average. There was one set of rapids in quick succession (I think they called it the 3 Sisters) where we went through the 1st rapid and about half the crew got dumped (including me), 2nd rapid the other half went swimming and the raft flipped over completely, 3rd rapid the raft turned itself back over. So I actually went through a couple of class IV rapids sans raft, on my back, in the water.

If I had seen the videos before I went, I don't think I would have gone:eek:...but I'm glad I did.

ArtsyGirl
06-30-2006, 01:24 PM
Hi gals,

I just got back from a rafting trip last week and reading about everyones trips makes me want to go right back out again.

I think any guide can get anyone back into a raft. Actually on our trip we were able to get each other into the raft without any specific "training" and we were not all small people.

I hope you dont let your nerves get the best of you because I know how much fun I have on what has become my "yearly" trip (just finished my 4th time). Have fun!

mandalinn82
07-03-2006, 02:58 AM
Thanks to all of you who showed your support.

For those who kept saying how unlikely it was that I'd fall out...well...our guide thought so too. He hasn't had a swimmer on Troublemaker in over 15 years.

We nearly flipped (only 3 out of the 7 of us, including the guide, stayed on boat) when we hit a rock, and I was NOT one of the three who remained inside. Basically, this rapid is normally Class III, but because of the extremely high water levels and some structural changes to the rocks since last year, our guide places this now at Class IV.

So we start tipping. The guy across and one position up from me falls directly on me, and pins me underwater for most of the rapid, though I was fighting to get my head up the whole time (the only truly scary part because I could not for the life of me tell what I was pinned under)...of course, he's trying to right himself too, so I got kicked a good number of times. We have some great pictures of us all tangled up - my head trying to bob out from under his body, and one great shot with the arm and paddle of one of us, one of my legs, and one of his. Once I got my head out from under him, the cold water reaction basically made it feel like I couldn't breathe, which the guide warned us could happen. Anyway, I got my head up and looked to the guide for instructions, as he had told us to do. He made the "swim as fast as you freaking can to the right" gesture (apparently I was heading toward a hole and a BIG *** rock...good times) so I did. I swam and swam.

After getting sucked under the boat attempting to pull me out (not my boat, a patrol boat they have at the bottom of the rapid), they finally got me righted and up to the boat. However - we had now arrived at another rapid and they couldn't get me in before we hit, so I spent rapid number two riding on my back behind the patrol boat while another woman in my party held onto the back of my lifejacket. Afterward, they pulled me in.

The damage? One incredibly bruised and torn up leg (no idea what I hit it on), and basically at least one big bruise on EVERY other limb. Another guy in our party somehow got himself onto a rock when he fell out - on top of it. Another woman who was with us but riding an inflatable kayak got him off the rock (she's super-experienced)...he has a CD sized welt on his thigh. We're bruised and battered and the adrenaline had me shaking for hours. But I was calm, completely not panicked (well, at least not until I was already on the boat and one of our people was missing - we couldn't see the guy on the rock, and the woman I was on the patrol boat with was his wife - when you can see EVERYONE else in your party except one, its really scary, but he was fine, just holding onto a rock).

So yes, I defied the odds and became a swimmer on my very first rafting excursion. But even my guide said I was ridiculously calm. He said I followed every instruction he gave perfectly, and that I was the ONLY swimmer who looked to him for instruction and who didn't have a totally panicked look.

Pictures will be loaded tomorrow, but for tonight, its been a day and I'm still hurting like mad, so I'm going to sleep.

junebug41
07-03-2006, 02:18 PM
Mandalinn- that is one heck of a story. People who have been rafting for decades don't have stories like that! I'm gald you are ok and didn't panic. That feeling of not being able to breath in cold water has never gone away for me and took years to learn to deal with. Has that river been dealing with a lot of tippings this year?

That is absolutely wild!

Would you go again?

mandalinn82
07-03-2006, 02:41 PM
The water was running about twice as high as it usually does, so lots of people went over. The day after we went back and sat on the shore watching people go through, and there were PLENTY of swimmers, so I don't feel too bad about it.

I'd go again for sure. The way I see it - my absolute worst fear happened and I was bruised, but totally fine otherwise, and so was everyone I was with, so heck, even though it was scary I ended up OK.

My favorite group shot by far:
http://lh6.google.com/mandalinn82/RKiu7ibfABI/AAAAAAAAABU/4gvbiXbHqGY/img_4061.jpg?imgmax=640

From left to right: My boss' wife (in the tan hat), my leg (blue tennis shoe), my boss' head, and another guy's leg (yes, those legs belong to two different people), then the three that stayed on the boat.

I'm a little irritated I couldn't work out this morning, but my entire shin is black and blue and not really liking me putting too much weight on it, so I am calling it a day off well earned. Still going to do my stability ball on my lunch, but can't do anything weight bearing for today.

Hey - if I'm going to fall off, isn't it good that it was on the rapid where they have the professional photographers? We apparently were a really interesting fall - they took over 20 photos of us all throughout.

jtammy
07-03-2006, 02:43 PM
:whoo: Oooooh, hope you're feeling some better by now. What a story! Good for you for being so calm. I probably wouldn't have been. ;) I'm also waiting to hear if you would do it again....

almostheaven
07-03-2006, 03:13 PM
You'll be fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine.

Trust me. If you do happen to fall out (which is highly unlikely), the adrenaline rush alone will help you fling yourself back in the boat. And give your friends (and the guide....ahem...) a little more credit. They will reach down, grab you by the back of your jacket and basically fling you back in the boat. And I suspect your not going to go completely limp, either. Right? You will be helping the cause.

If you are concerned about your weight preventing you from being lifted back in, don't. If you fall out (again, HIGHLY unlikely), one of two things will happen.

1. You get hoisted back in. Not a problem.
2. You swim to the river bank.
Trust me, I'm not trying to scare you further, because you certainly will be fine and have a GREAT time. BUT...as my guide said the first time I went rafting, there are actually THREE things that could happen.

1. You can end up away from the boat, in which case, they demonstrate how they toss the line out for you to catch and pull you back in.

2. You can end up right next to the boat, in which case, they just pull you back in - and if they pulled my 250+ frame back in, they'll have no problem pulling you in. LOL

3. You can end up UNDER the boat. In which case, they told us to remain calm, look up...and read the instructions printed on the bottom of the boat.

Hehe...don't sweat it. Especially if you have nutty guides like ours. But be prepared for a GREAT workout. :D