The Blog of Dabido (the Baka one). Everything in this blog is copyrighted. Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006 by D. Stevenson.

22 February, 2005

Favourite Hobby - Avoiding Death.

I've done a lot of exciting things in my time. A lot of my friends think I am crazy. There's a part of me that can never relax. This leads to all my holidays avoiding the "relaxing on the beach" type crap which bores me to tears. When I go on holiday, I like to go places, see things, and hopefully get to do crazy stuff. On my adventures in Europe, I got to go White Water Rafting, but it was only grade 3 ... boooooring! I prefer my white water Grade5 (because you aren't supposed to do Grade 6. Grade 6 being when you have no control of your craft whatsoever). Another thing I wanted to do was Canyoning in Austria. It was shortly after a group had lost thier lives doing it, and apparently the day I wanted to go had identicle conditions. The group which gathered to do it all chickened out ... except for one crazy dude! Me! Alas, as the only one who wanted to risk life and limb, they refused to let me go. (They also claimed I was unfit ... pttthhhh! I'm fat, but not unfit. I was running 12km every morning back then. I think I was more fit than a lot of the skinny people who chickened out). Hopefully I'll get to go Canyoning one day. Some other things I've done include skydiving, snorkling with a Tiger Shark, and scuba diving with a school of hammerheads near by. I've chased little reef sharks around trying to get their photo. (Reef sharks don't eat people ... these ones swam away very fast. They probably thought I was going to eat them). Ballooning I found too relaxing and not exciting enough. I prefer to fly in planes. It didn't mean I appreciated it the time I got a poor pilot though. We took off from Singapore, and the plane wobbled pretty badly on takeoff. I remember looking out the window, the plane dipped left ... the lights came up(I assume from a runway next to us) ... we dipped right, the stars came up ... we dipped left, lights again ... dipped right, the stars again. Scarey. I wonder how close the wingtip got to the actual ground when we did that? The landing in Abu Dhabi wasn't much better. We hit the runway three times (bounced) before we were finally down. Of all the flights I've taken (about 30 I think) this was the only time I actually thought we might have crashed. White water rafting though is one of my favourite past times. I have a list of rivers in the world I plan to eventually raft down. Once I was almost drowned. The conditions were grade 4 and5 on the river that day. We got up to a grade 5 rapid and the guy in front of me decided to fall out. (Decided being the operative word, as he did it deliberately in order to have some fun). When he went, he grabbed my lifejacket on the way. Splash! I was in the water going down grade 5 rapids on my arse. (Actually, I'm wearing the same boardshorts right now as I write this! They still have a rip in the back from the experience). Well, being a nice fast course, the raft went over the top of me. So I was under the raft. No big deal, I figure I'd shoot out from under the raft eventually. Only ... THUNK! I suddenly found myself wedged on a rock. So I was ON a ROCK, UNDER a RAFT. Never one to panic, I just figured the raft would slide over the top of me, and I'd come up behind it. NOPE! Having seen me go under the raft, the guide had everyone paddling upstream waiting for me to pop out! So, the raft was just staying there. Okay, I'm starting to run out of air. So I am trying to claw the raft off the top of me. Basically I was trying to push the raaft down stream. NOPE! It ain't movin'. Okay, next best thing, I tried to claw myself sideways in the hope that I'd pop up next to the raft. Nope! I wasn't moving because of the rock! Hello! HELLO! I'm running out of air! Move this raft downstream please! (See how polite I am! Told you I don't panic). Luckily it was about then that the boardshorts ripped and I shot out from under the raft. I had a nice big bruise on my leg too. The guide seemed a bit shocked. She'd done what her training had told her to do, and almost killed me. I on the other hand was feeling pretty cool about it all. Once again I'd survived death. (Cheated death ... use which ever euphemism you prefer). One of the other adventurers asked if I wasn't scared that I might have died. I told her, "No". I explained to her, even if I had drowned under the raft, my lifejacket would at least keep my body floating. There were enough guides and rafts around that they'd see me bob to the surface. All the guides are trained in CPR, so I'd be fine. She thought that was pretty sound logic. I think the guide was more shaken up by the experience than me. Personally, I don't think you can pay for that sort of excitement on an average trip! :-)