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  • Writer's pictureDC Eastman

DC's Hole

I don’t want to be famous... I said this before.

That’s why I’m using a pen name for all my writing. Just in case there’s a one in a billion chance that more than 4 people buy my books and I become “famous.”

The irony of fame and fortune is the more you have of it, the less freedom you have.

Think about this. When I go out in public, sporting boxers, tank tops, and Crocs, nobody says a damn thing. I can swear, scratch my ass in public and buy my clothes at Walmart. Nobody cares.

Although Taylor Swift can fly across the country in her own private jet to have an iced latte with Ice Spice, you bet your ass she can’t go to the DMV and fake Tourette’s syndrome and get away with it like I can.

The more money and influence you have, the less you are allowed to be your authentic self.

Regardless of your stance on fame, deep inside all of us, our little egos still yearn to leave a legacy behind. F** knows why, but we all have it.

That’s why, deep down, I always thought that if someone named a landmark after me, I’d accept it. But I never imagined it would be something as messed up as “DC’s Hole.”

Don’t ever do Hydrospeed!

In 2008, I traveled solo between Argentina and Chili and ended up in a city called Mendoza. It’s a beautiful spot in the shade of the mighty Andes, surrounded by vineyards. At that time, I was still heavily into extreme sports, and I learned about hydrospeed by reading the Lonely Planet on my way there.

Essentially, it’s similar to bodyboarding but down rapids in a river. You get a thick board, protective helmet, life vest, and flippers, and then you hit the rapids. Worst idea ever. I don’t know why this sh*t is still legal. It’s extremely dangerous… as you’re about to find out.

I booked a 2-in-1 with the cheapest operator in town (obviously) to do both whitewater rafting and hydrospeed on one day, in the same river. First, we did the whitewater rafting, and it went alright. In fact, I thought the river was quite tame. It was, however, freezing!

It was summer in Argentina, and the snow from the Andes was melting rapidly and feeding the river. It was one icy, muddy mess. But that didn’t stop me from slapping on my wetsuit and heading out to hydrospeed after the rafting.

As you can see, I had a guide with me when we launched. But about 200 yards down the river, she was gone, and so was I!

I still don’t know what happened until today. I presume there was something like a flash flood, perhaps because when I got sucked into a rapid, she was gone and couldn’t return to help me.

The first thing that deserted me was my board. While I was being pummeled against the rocks in one spot underwater, my flippers slipped out. Luckily, my helmet stayed on while I bashed my head against the rocks beneath the rapid.

Imagine being in a giant, muddy washing machine. I had no control. I was turning and head-over-feet and ass-over-cheek. Zero control. Every so often, I would breach the surface and gasp for air before being pulled down again. I couldn’t leave that spot.

The cold began taking a toll on my body. Later, when I breached, I could barely inhale. I was wheezing instead of gasping. I remember vividly when I realized that it was over. My life was about to end, and I had to consciously make the decision to open my mouth and inhale the freezing, dark water at the bottom of the hole I was stuck in.

"It was as if I was looking at my own corpse..."

I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes. The only thing I thought of was what a struggle it would be for my mother to get my body back and how disappointed she would be in my dumb decision to do something so crazy in a foreign country.

The next moment, I was bobbing on top of the water. My life jacket was keeping me afloat, and I had somehow left the hole. I saw a man standing on the edge of the river where he parked his inflatable raft. He yelled in Spanish and pointed toward the river.

I realized he had thrown a rope into the river and summoned my last strength to swim toward it and grab hold of it. He pulled me in and tugged me onto the raft. That’s when my vision turned to white, and I began vomiting.

He rushed down the river toward base camp with both of us onboard. When we reached the calm waters of the jetty at base camp, there was already a crowd congregating on the bank. My guide in the canoe rushed back after I got tramped and alerted everybody that there was a foreigner about to die in the river.

The ambulance was on its way, but in the meantime, they pulled me out and helped me to the showers. Just before they put me down on a plastic chair and opened the warm water, we walked past the basins. I briefly saw my face in the mirrors, and it scared the shit out of me.

My eyes had dark blue rings around them, and my lips were gray. It was as if I was looking at my own corpse.

I remained seated under the hot water for a while until someone announced that the ambulance had arrived. They helped me change into my spare set of clothes and guided me into the ambulance.

At the hospital, I was treated for shock, hypothermia, and exhaustion. I had no brakes, just bruises and, thankfully, no water on my lungs. I was out in a couple of hours.

My hero who saved me was still at the base camp.  

Their English was minimal, but my Spanish was worse. But we could communicate. The guide and owner (or manager of the place) came to me and congratulated me for surviving the ordeal. They also announced that from that day on, the spot where I was trapped would be named “DC’s Hole.”

About a week later, I arrived in Pucon, Chili. It’s a beautiful town in the south next to an active volcano called Villarica. The town was renowned for its adrenaline-filled activities, and one of the things they offered there was hydrospeed.

Two weeks before my arrival there, a New Zeeland girl got trapped in a rapid—the same thing I went through. But she wasn’t as lucky. It took the authorities two days to find and hook her body out from under the rocks…

Don’t ever go hydrospeeding…

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