On Tuesday the 11th of September the Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students donned their instructor hats and took the ‘Nunatak’ Adventure Guiding Class for a day of River Crossing training.
The Derwent River (at the Plenty Railway Bridge) provided an excellent setting to practice a variety of solo and group crossing techniques, as well as whitewater swimming. The infamous artificial strainer was set up in two locations, but it didn’t quite live up to its fearsome reputation as all the Adventure Guiding students negotiated it with ease. The day ended with a convoluted “scenario” involving a broken femur, asthma, a daring white-water rescue and an impending job interview (which the leader thought was real!).
The Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students recently facilitated an exciting River Crossings day for the Certificate IV Adventure Guiding students. Recent heavy snow falls and the following snow-melt provided us with exciting river levels and very cold water at Plenty on the Derwent River. We spent the day teaching the Adventure Guides all about river features and how to choose where to safely cross a river in a bushwalking context, as well as practical river crossing techniques – all valuable skills they are likely to need to use at some stage in their career as remote bushwalking guides in Tasmania and beyond!
The Outdoor Recreation students made the most of the opportunity to practice their practical teaching skills, as well as their swift water safety and rescue skills they learnt in a short course they attended a few weeks earlier. We loved seeing the excitement on the faces of the Adventure Guides, many of whom were entering into the white-water environment for the first time!
For the Adventure Guides, many fears were overcome in the challenging swimming scenarios (swimming with a pack on and swimming over an artificial log) especially by the less confident swimmers who eventually succeeded in all the challenges set for them and they ended their day on a real high! Some of the Adventure Guides were so inspired by the experience that they wanted to come back next year and do the whole Outdoor Recreation course!
Two weeks ago our Certificate IV in Outdoor Recreation students left the comforts of the Drysdale South Campus to adventure north following the Derwent River. After a week in the classroom, the students were itching to test out some of their newfound river crossing skills.
The day was jam-packed with hazard scenarios, river reading techniques and some very, very icy water!
The first lesson for the day was a talk on river hydrology. To give the students an idea of the basics of river features and reading the water. They were then given a safety brief before heading down to the water. There were a few nerves in the air but the instructors did a great job of relaxing everyone and starting them off at a comfortable level. The Guiding students really got into the river crossings, working as a team to make their way out, and back again.
They were taught various methods including solo and group crossings. After lunch, their hiking packs were loaded with rocks and dry bags for some more crossing practice.
The next activity was a pack swim. This was to simulate what to do if you get swept away. Students walked out in a deeper section of flow before being swept off their feet by the current. They then had to get their packs off before swimming into the eddy.
The last and most exciting exercise for the day was a strainer swim. A strainer is an object – most likely a log or tree – that is sitting in or just above the water. The current pushes into a strainer creating a very dangerous situation. To simulate a make-shift log, we made a log out of PVC pipe and set this up on ropes and moved into the middle of the current. The Outdoor Recreation students set up safety with a Kayaker, small raft and throw baggers. The log is set up on a quick release system as extra safety. A briefing was given for the best method to tackle the strainer as well as some demonstration. The crowd was tense as the first swimmer floated down towards the log before swimming aggressively towards it and pushing herself over. Cheers went up as the students relaxed. This was the highlight of the day.
After the strainer swim we all packed up and got dry. Looking back at the day it was seen as a big success. It was a great learning opportunity for both the Guiding students to gain new knowledge and skills, as well as the Outdoor Recreation students getting the opportunity to teach a group. A big thank you to the Guiding students for coming out and giving us this opportunity.