Washing Machine Rapid
|Distance from start of the stage : 11.1km
Lat -29.630919 Lon 30.685126
Portage option: Right hand bank
This is a serious rapid whose nature changes with every fluctuation in the water level. If you have successfully followed all channels to the right you will emerge from a grassy reeded channels into a small pool at the top of Washing Machine, where you often find safety marshalls and divers. the entry to Washing Machine is narrow – around 5 metres wide – but you have options.
Stay left and you commit to hitting the heart of the rapid, which is two big shelf drops. they key here is to stay in the main current and hit the waves square on paddling strongly. the final drop being down a river-wide sharp ledge that has a recycling turbulence that gives this rapid its name.
A swim here will be lengthy and it is hard to get boat and paddles out of the suck-back! It is a good option to stay to the right of the water flow, even sliding over the shallow rocks to the right of the main current. This keep you away from the first stopper wave and allows you to slide over a broader ledge where the water is less abrasive and more forgiving.
The extreme right hand sneak goes over a hard rocky lip, but is still a decent option of you have good boat speed. Once in the pool it is easy to turn (or recover your boat) and set off into the next section, called The Cascades.
|If the river is at a normal level Washing Machine isn’t a problem, just follow the main flow of the water. If it’s full though it can be very dangerous and I would suggest you portage on the right bank before the drop. If it’s full and you want to paddle though then you have a couple of options.
Either you can go down Washing Machine itself or I would suggest having a look at Ledges, about 30 metres left of Washing Machine rapid itself.
There are two ledges here which you can slide down and the water is far more controlled. Or, if you choose to go down Washing Machine itself then keep right and slide over the rocks to avoid the big pool at the bottom.
|Follow water flow, right of flow to the pool below, don’t cut across the rapid|