The bird – I don’t know what bird – maybe a lyrebird mimic was there. In the gully just down by the falls. A bush rat ran past in a hurry. Old cold blocks of rock hemmed us in between the west cold mountain and the sea. We’d climbed 400 metres up along the elevated walkways and rope bridges straddling the rivulet. Past giant strangler figs and stinging trees. Past ancient red cedars, the survivors of past logging trails. A native rainforest in a sandstone slot gorge carved out of the old dividing range with a view of the pacific ocean to the east over Kiama. Now we had arrived, a long walk up to the top where the falls are found. Here though the long curtains of lighted water falling are thin and scarce into the pool below.
I just wanted to see it, having heard it. With no cautionary thought, I had jumped over the railing and landed heavily in the bush below the viewing platform. Jane cried out, “What are you doing !!!”.. but too late, as I started sliding down into the gorge, trying to grab something but moving down fast. Rocks and sandy bits came raining down on me as I clung onto a gum tree branch overhanging the falls gorge below.
“It’s nothing” – I called back, listening to the sound of my voice bouncing off the rock walls.
Jane muttered something about stupid and moronic – how I could have killed myself. The wind was up, and I carefully thought through the sudden kind of stuck predicament I was in. I’d shoved my phone in my pocket before clambering over the fence, so I should be ok. My clothes were kind of ripped up and I worried about how dishevelled I would appear once I got back the platform. How exactly since I had only a grip on a branch hanging down with the slippery rain forest ground cover between me and the platform.
I was hanging on this branch, I was ok. No clue now how to get back up to the platform.
“Jane, can you see if someone has a rope ?? and throw it down ?? . I can’t get up.” – I called again… loudly… More echoes.
“Why can’t you just pull up on that branch, and get up here that way ?”, she said.
“Look, just go get one from somewhere quick.:” – I said, and then with that the branch broke. No need for a rope anymore I thought tumbling down through space and straight down into the slot – basically free fall, until I hit the side of the gorge and bounced all the way down into the water below… which hurt and suddenly the noise of the birds was replaced by the frigid cold murk of the rock pool at the bottom.
COLD COLD WET COLD LONELY COLD WET SLIME COLD WET BUBBLES GREEN AND ROCKS AND THINGS
PAIN PAIN AHHHH – blood coming out — my knee hip and elbow seem to have got hit on the way down into the pool. I clambered onto the rocks and lay there for a bit. Coudn’t hear anything – too preoccupied with the body signals coming from all over me.
After I bit I tried to get up – Jane was way up there, about 100 feet or more up calling frantically.
“You ok, Where are you ?, Where are you ? John ! : “where are you “. she called.
I had landed below a ledge somehow and could not see directly up to the platform.
“I’m down here below .. I’m ok but I don’t know how to get out of here.” – I yelled again.
It went quiet , quiet like the birds wanted to know what just happened. Quiet like I did as well and Jane must have run off to get a rope [finally] or help of some kind.