50 Years of Umko 1966 - 2016 1966 - 2016 - Page 87

from Pete. 4. Robbie Stewart - “We all said ‘Bullshit - Not possible!” Rowan and I were in a K2. We shot most of the sneak channel down the left of the falls. Pete and Jimmy were late for the start and did not realise that they were on the inside line heading straight for the falls! Jimmy who was in front must have turned the boat and was able to grab onto a rock. Pete went over the falls backwards - trying to swim up stream. His only injury a broken toe! They had a job getting Jimmy off the rock in the middle of the falls. A local guy helped using his belt to give Jimmy to grab onto and then they grafted him to safety. The race ended at Goodenough’s Weir. When Frank Emmett told us at the end that Pete had gone over the falls but that he had seen him afterwards at the bottom we all said ‘Bullshit - Not possible!’ 5. Rory Lynsky - “for some unexplained reason” The Waterfall - at the time called “Kingfisher Rapid” - the only compulsory portage. The story behind the picture is back in ‘73 or ‘74 in one of the preliminary races, Peter Peacock and the late Jimmy “Iron Man” Potgieter were approaching the rapid and for some unexplained reason found themselves drawn into the vortex. Potgieter managed to make the safety of a rock in the river, but Pete was taken over the falls, where the entire volume of the Umkomaas is drawn through a narrow gap. How he survived is a miracle. Frank Emmett was present and helped rescue Potgieter. I was a reporter, and persuaded my news editor it was worth a story, so we drove to the waterfall with the resultant photograph. I’m the guy on the rock. 6. Frank Emmett - Ah! Our first eyewitness This was my first Umkomaas River race. Tony Scott was competing in Australia and he loaned me his white water canoe to do the Waterfall to Goodenough’s race. Before this I had only completed one Dusi in an old borrowed boat with Bruce Webber. I got a lift to the race with Rory Lynsky and Dave Biggs. They told me to get out on the left bank at the waterfall around the bend and portage round. When I got there no-one was in sight and I ended up leaving getting to the left bank a bit late, so I abandoned Tony’s canoe mid-stream and struck out for the safety of the bank. There was no sign of the canoe at the bottom of the falls. My search was distracted by a canoe followed by a body crashing over the falls. Peter surfaced 100m or more down stream and promptly hurled up gallons of Umkomaas water. He and I then searched the banks below for remnants of our boats but to no avail. Returning to the top of the falls we found Jimmy still clinging to a rock on the lip of the falls cursing out loud and making sure we understood that he would not budge without the assistance of a helicopter. A group of local umfaans fortuitously appeared with a length of conveyor belt. A branch was tied to one end and after many attempts the belt was hurled to within Jimmy’s reach. With the umfaans’ help we pulled Jimmy to the safety of the bank. Tony was fairly understanding about the fate of his white water boat. Now - and only now - we’ll ask Pete Peacock himself! Kingfisher Falls and Rory Lynsky soon after the happening 87 “In February 1972 the first Umkomaas waterfall to Goodenoughs weir was held. A road had been put through on the north bank of the river. Jimmy Potgieter and I decided to race in a K2 but unfortunately arrived late at the start. Drivers were already climbing into vehicles and leaving. We hurriedly jumped onto a full river and took off to try and catch everyone. “Neither of us gave a thought as to whether we were above or below the waterfall. We went around the first corner on the right hand side and I looked up and saw vapour above the river. I shouted to Jimmy who was in the front of the boat and he took immediate action. We U-turned and attempted to paddle away from the falls as the strong current was running hard against the steep right hand bank preventing any escape there. We sprinted for all we were worth and went precisely nowhere. We were just metres from the edge of the falls. The front of the boat suddenly veered off to the left and we both jumped for the nearest rock. “Being at the back I was closest to the edge and all I managed was a desperate grab at a very smooth rock on the lip of the falls and I was over and on my way. I distinctly remember thinking This Cannot Be Happening and looking up and then down which confirmed I was on my way down. I UMKO 50 Years