50 Years of Umko 1966 - 2016 1966 - 2016 - Page 83

then liberally applied the anaesthetic (a bottle of brandy) which a witness standing next to him - the clerk of the course, no less - swears was taken internally by the doc. None for the patient who was simply told to ‘Sit Still’. Dr Sir Rodney stitched the barely-attached nose back in situ and sent Dan off to hospital where a plastic surgeon decided he could do nothing further for him, the River Doctor had done such a good job (or was it that the canvas didn’t warrant any further artistry?). There was no infection and Dan could not sue the club as he was told by all KCC members that he was better-looking after this free re-arrangement of his rather prominent proboscis by ‘fibreglass surgery’. And he was in fact lucky KCC wasn’t going to charge him for it. In fact rumour has it the nose was so good after the tailgate surgery that it led Dan & Ron to Riverside in the pitch dark in a later Umko when they wrecked their transport. OK, they were led by a local Florence Nightingale carrying a candle, but still: That nose had to follow the candle. No.8 ©Jon Ivins “Going down! Dark brown, all-enveloping water. Surging, thrusting, pulling. Going down, or was it up? So deep, yet no rocks bashing bones. Still down, an eon goes by. Fighting, kicking. Lungs bursting. I think of my young daughter. I think ‘Does my insurance cover me for this?’ As I start to cough up water, Pete The Pom Mountford bobs by, hanging on to his boat. “Give us a hand Brian old chap” he asks. “Swim for the eddy” I mutter. I’ve had my share.” Rescued by a kid with a tube and with more duct tape than boat Mthimkhulu (‘big tree’) pat-paddled on down to Josephine’s. There he joined a number of shell-shocked survivors. He ends off: “SABC TV like my story, I become famous and go home to watch the rest of the Umko from the safety of an armchair. Maybe I should swim the Midmar Mile to practice for next year’s Umko?” Bruce Below No.1 ©Jon Ivins Swims With Happier Endings - Where even though - if you believe them - our paddlers went to where it was darker than a yard down a hippo’s throat, they emerged back into daylight. Brian Mthimkhulu Moore’s deliberate swim - does my insurance cover me for this? “To go or not to go” that is the question. As fickle as a maiden pulling petals from a daisy, I change my mind a hundred times. Eventually my heart beats my common sense into submission and I join the other lambs as we are led to the slaughter. “From Hella Hella Bridge we hear confidence-building comments, such as: “Ladies and gentlemen, half the A batch is swimming at No.1 and we could select a current Springbok side from the guys on the bank!” Cautious, I manage to sneak No.1 so well that I have to ask aspiring photographers to make way! Then I swim and a smooth, casual and confident Rip Kirby has the time to enquire after my good health as he flashes by. I sneak the rest till No.8 where I swim again and find myself sans boat on an island between the two channels. I wave at the crowd of fun seekers on the far bank and one of them says “Dive in! Don’t worry; Everybody else has!” so with all my trust in Megan’s cheerful face, I voluntarily dive into the great No.8! 83 Clark - Having been warned by multiple winner Robbie Horrible Herreveld of the undercut at No.8 (“if you go there, you’re fucked”, said Horrible succinctly), Bruce became aware that the current was taking them right where Robbie had told them not to be: “We went there. We were. A split second before the boulder sticking out of the bank tried to rip my head off my shoulders and deposit it in the back seat, I dived left out the boat. The swim that ensued afterwards lasted thirty minutes. And not the thirty-minute swim that was actually two minutes of swimming and twenty eight minutes of overnight stop embellis hment. “Partner Brian Big B Longley popped up, grabbed the boat, grabbed his paddle, grabbed my paddle, swam the boat to the bank before it even got to No.8, emptied it, stretched his back, shook his fur, had some juice, and started tapping his foot. “As No.8 got closer I was not even an inch closer to the bank. There’s that point-of-no-return at the top of a big rapid where, to quote Horrible: Well, you know what he said. I took the biggest breath possible just before I hit the hole at the bottom; Which was just as well because I was down there for a few months. When I came up I was in a tiny undercut piece of cliff face that was almost a cave. My head was out of the water but my legs were being taken in and out of the cave like a pendulum by the surging water. I was stuck. My arms were stretched up to their fullest, holding the cliff, and I was using all my strength to prevent myself being taken under again. There was no way I was letting go of the cliff because my courage, my strength and my swimming ability had all deserted me at the same time. “So I climbed up. It took forever but eventually I got to the top. I probably UMKO 50 Years