The first rapid on the Mohaka is called Long Rapid. It's the second hardest rapid on the river, and it has some fucking big holes in it. It would have been good to warm up on something a little easier, but rivers aren't designed like that, so I attempted to follow the advice of Aaron from Bivouac ... ``Yeah, ahh lean forward and hold on to your hat''. Despite doing so I still managed to tailstand out of every hole, and into every eddy, and on every eddy line. These boats are very tail happy. This is good fun on smaller rivers, but I would have felt happier in my Bandit on the Mohaka.
Trying to lean forward too much can lead to the opposite problem from tail standing; nose diving into a hole and face planting out of it. At least this method gets you out of them quicker!
The most exciting moment for me on the trip was at Corner Rapid, which is the worst one on the river. Rumour has it that you can chicken-chute the whole thing on the left hand side, but we were there for a bit of fun right? To successfully negotiate the rapid on the right, you need to catch a surging, boiling little fucker of an eddy. Then you need to work your way to the bottom of the eddy (sounds easy, huh?); cut out into a huge buffer wave trying to avoid being swept into a large rock; catch another eddy on the right, below the rock you just avoided; then ferry glide across and down the gap at the end of the rapid. This latter eddy is big and peaceful, but requires a bit of grunt to get across a boily eddy line.
We did the river twice in the weekend. On the first run, Corner Rapid proved a little tricky for some. It washed Timon and Duncan down a chute behind the rock we were all trying to avoid. I managed it OK on that first run, so I wasn't too concerned about it the second time. Unfortunately, on trying to make the lower eddy, I capsized and had to roll. No problem, except that I lost the grip on my paddle and went under again. No worries -- another quick roll, and I was up again, but unfortunately I had missed the eddy I was supposed to catch and was very near to going backwards down the boulder choke from hell. I've heard that Gerard, an ex-VUCCer, successfully swam through it a few years back, but he doesn't paddle white-water anymore because it's too dangerous! Anyway, as luck would have it, there was one small eddy left, which I managed to make, although it required a lot of grunt in the stupid little super-sport.
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