Well, I spent dang near half and hour and my work computer logged me out right before I posted this blog earlier. So here I go again...
Our team competed in our first competition on Oct 2, 2010. TrashFest is a competition on the Comal River that is dedicated to cleaning up all the trash left by the party groups of the summer. Teams of 8 randomly draw a specific spot on the Comal and get 5 hours to clean as much as they can. The competition categories include: most trash, most cans, unusual find, etc.. Our weekend started on Oct. 1, and this is how it went...
So planned time was to leave at 5pm. We left at 6:30. After a pretty uneventful 3 hour car ride, we decided to back track our route and find a Walmart to spend money at. After an hour and a few hundred dollars later, we headed to our camp grounds roughly 15 minutes away. 1030pm was our official check in time to the camp grounds. Thats nice and fine if your not having to set up a tent, or if we could actually see in the dark, or if we didnt have to get up at 7am to head to registration.
As we paid and started off looking for our camping spot, James decided he would try to meet as many campers as he can find. As he started talking to two couples sitting around a campfire, he managed to meander our camp spot 10 feet from theirs. Of course, he had it all planned out in his head because we were now only 3 feet from the water edge of the river. This didnt mean much at night, but we would find out later how beautiful it was up there. Anyway, we found a semi-flat spot to set up our tent, blew up the air mattress, laid our heads down and we were out. Come to find out that Deanna and James decided to see who can get the least amount of sleep, so they stayed up and talked with our new camping friends.
7am...cock a doodle doo!! my alarm goes off..damn it. We were used to 85 degree mornings, not the 65 degrees we woke up in!!! So of course I have to get out of my tent and wake up the three sleeping beauties in the other tent (Dianna, Deanna, James). Priscilla wasnt so lucky to sleep in cause my alarm is very annoying, and I am sure I was all over the air mattress trying to turn off my damn alarm. Deanna ran out of her tent like we were getting bombed, so I assured her she could slow down anytime and relax, were not in a rush (bad move on my part..haha).
Everyone got up fairly quick, packed up our vehicles and were off to breakfast. We got it to go since we wanted to register early and get a good spot. Of course, we were second to last to register and got the cleanest spot on the river..hahaha
We drew section 18A, and after studying a map (couldnt type in 18A on GPS) drove off to our location. We arrived minutes later, and started unpacking. This is where everything got interesting...
Priscilla started helping me get my gear out of the Rodeo, and James, Deanna, and Dianna started unpacking their truck.
HELP, HELP...we heard from the river. It alarmed me, but at first I thought it was some kids playing around. I looked and saw nothing. so I continued to unpack the Rodeo.
HELP, HELP...I kept hearing a womans scream.
So I started my way to the River (30 feet or so from the truck). And who do I see, James already responding to the call for help. He actually had a good plan of jumping around the fence and run to the man made dam where the screams were coming from. But as he attempted the olympic swing around the fence..WHAM, the fence broke and down went James. With a split second reaction, he spread eagle's and misses the kid in the water. Lucky for the kid. He asked if the kid was alright, and all the kid said was "Please save my mom." So off went James like he was now a competitive swimmer.
I jumped in the water, and thought damn this water is freezing, and I took off in a rescue type freestyle crawl. Never taking my eyes off of where the victims voice is coming from.
Now me and James are nearing the victim. And in a split second, WHOOSH, James and I were not caught in the Rapid and down the river we go. All we could do was look back at the victim (we can see her at this point) and see that she is struggling to keep her head above the water. She had scuba gear on, so I thought she must be caught up on a rock or something. Little did I know, but as we passed the victim, James reached for her and his pinky got caught up on her B.C. and he broke his finger. In pain he says without missing a beat, my finger is nothing as long as she is alive.
I got some good sleep so my energy was up that morning. As I was being swept away, I fought my hardest to get out of that current. Finally, I am able to make it far enough to the other side where the current is slower. I start my way back up. The rocks are very slippery. My feet are cut up, my shins are taking a beating from slipping and falling on them. But I can see a lady struggling to keep her head up.
WHOOSH, now I see Deanna coming down the rapid. She must have went in after us and got caught up in the same situation as James and myself. But this time I was there, and I reached my tattoo's arm out and pulled her out of the rapid. Thank God cause it was going to take more than one person to help this lady.
So Deanna and I head up and finally reach the victim. At this time, another diver had jumped in and was already at her. I believe he as from Dive Team Chum.
Also in the water headed our way was Dianna. But she was smart, not heading towards the rapid, but rather the opposite side. Hmmm, why didnt I think of that. Oh well, no time to think of that...just time to get this lady to safety.
Because the competition rules say you have to stay in your area, and we were located in a rapid area, the lady tied herself off with a rope so her and her boys dont get swept down stream and they can stay together. Her rope must have been about 5 feet too long. Because when she ended up in the rapid by mistake, she went over the man made damn. The rope hung her up and she tried to free herself. But her head was half and half out of the water. She was fighting the rapid the entire time. Although she had scuba gear on, she couldnt keep her regulator in her mouth and call for help at the same time. Something had to give, and it was her regulator.
After unhooking her from the rope, we stood her up, lifted her gear to safety and then lifted her to safety. She said she was fine to go on her own, but after being tired I didnt feel it was a good idea. So Deanna and Dianna helped her up over the dam.
What a great feeling. Although many people would have helped, I was honored to be the one their that day. It was a joint effort and a memory none of us will forget.
After a long break, we geared up and enjoyed 3 hours of diving. We didnt find much, but had a great time in the Comal. The locals were excellent and wished us luck. They let us use their back yards to store our gear and park our cars. I love New Braunfels.
After it was all said and done, we went to the awards ceremony. Its pretty much safe to say it was not as desirable as I would have liked. So I'll just say I hope its better than next years.
For now, hope to see you all on the water soon. Dont forget to get your hours in at the Aquarium. The tanks need our help keeping them cleaned. See you all on Tuesday!!