As if we had angered the river gods, a huge gust of wind came directly up river towards us. It was so strong that you could see the wind dance across the water. And in an instant our canoe had turned sideways. And before we knew what was going on I was completely submerged being carried downstream by the raging flood waters...
As I breached the surface I attempted to take a breath but the shock of the cold water had pushed all the air out of my lungs. I reached out and grabbed the canoe and looked to see Andrew at the other end holding on and looking as shocked and worried as I felt. We quickly dropped our feelings of fear and worry and replaced them with a sense of calm direction, to get ourselves out of the current situation. We looked down river as we were being rapidly pushed along with the flood waters. I spotted a tree downstream that had branches that went into the water. We decided to make that our exit point.
So Andrew and I swam as hard as we could fighting the current that wanted to keep us in the center of the raging river. We pushed and pulled the canoe while swimming to the side of the river ( It was my brothers canoe and I did not want to lose it). The current had turned us so that the nose of the canoe with Andrew in front was headed straight for the branches and with the canoe at his back and myself following, Andrew (almost being crushed between the branches and the canoe) squeezed past the branch, taking most of the bark off a limb with the side of his face.
I was up next as the current pushed us along and I was now within arms reach of the branch in front of me. I grabbed the branch with one hand and the canoe with the other. I thought to myself “finally its over”. Quickly I came to realize how heavy an over turned canoe and my best friend are when they are being pushed downstream by flood waters.
I was pulled to my limit as the canoe seemed to slowly stretch out my arms and ever so gently lift my body out of the water as I started to resemble a lower case ‘t’. I had to let go as my hands couldn’t hold the weight and my arms felt like they were going to rip from their sockets. We were both dragged back into the current and this is when we looked at each other and realized that having missed our first attempt at a self rescue, we were in serious trouble (to be continued) . . .
-Connor Somerville (the Hunter)