(Jeff Arbon, Utah State Parks River Ranger) as you enter this canyon it reminds me of the quote from John Wesley Powell when he was exploring the Grand Canyon that once again the canyon walls are narrowing and we are a little bit apprehensive.
Apprehensive yes, but knowing we are with two very experienced river rangers sure makes me feel a lot more comfortable. But neither of them are piloting my boat.
The man behind the oars is Eugene Swalberg, Public information officer for Utah State Parks.
(Eugene Swalberg) westwater is the best. It can be family friendly depending on what water level you are going on. It’s kind of in thirds, it’s kind of slow, but a few little rapids, you can kind of get wet, water fights, have fun.
(Eugene) the second and third, that’s where the rapids are, and there are no bigger on this section than the infamous Skull Rapid.
(Eugene) so when we go down here look to your right that’s going to be Skull hole. Just downstream and look to your right again and there is that big intrusion that brody is talking about and that’s the room of doom. The water just swirls in there. You’ll see a lot of driftwood and things that go in there don’t tend to come out. (adam) keep us out of there. (eugene) keep us out of there. The room of doom. (adam) that wasn’t a question, that was an order!
Right in the middle of Skull rapid is a huge wave, hit that head on and you’re almost sure to flip your boat. That and many others like it are the reason life jackets are a must on this river.
(Ty Hunter, Boating Program Manager) We actually do the Coast Guards job for the inland waters, the state waters.
Most might be surprised to know that Utah State Parks is responsible for a statewide boating program. Last year we had 14 boating related deaths, this year we’ve had 4.
(Ty Hunter, Boating Program Manager) boating type of fatalities, 80% of those could have been prevented just by the simple act of putting a lifejacket on.
Ty is the administrator for the boating laws in Utah. He says most adults in Utah could do better when it comes to wearing a life jacket.
(Ty Hunter) They make their kids wear their life jackets, but themselves, they don’t want to have this jacket, they think it’s big, it’s bulky. I have a specialized jacket on right now for the white water, it’s great, it’s comfortable. I would wear this thing all day long.
Who knew the Colorado River got so tight right here at Skull Rapid. That right there, does not look good. Eugene did a great job, taking us through Skull Rapid and keeping us out of the Room of Doom over there. Boy you do not want to be inexperienced when coming down Westwater. More from the Westwater adventure but first back to the guys at Fish Tech for tonights Fishing Report.