Stuck between a rock and the rivers edge by Bryan Beecher

My wife and I went over to the Hawk's Bay for a weekend break in January 1998 and had a very eventful Time We were heading to Lake Tutera and were going to camp with some friends of ours. On the way there I saw a shortcut on the map and called into a local Pub for a cold one and to check out the road. No problems said the Locals the ford on the river should be ok!

Well it wasn't Ok without my permission someone had illegally blocked the river upstream to provide water for their "pool". When the dam was released some rather large boulders had found a new resting-place. Wanting to make quick work of the river crossing I charged into the river to the sounds of my wife exclaiming You are not 007 you know Bryan. (silly Me should have gotten out and walked through first.

We hit the water and soon thereafter some of those homeless boulders and ground to a crunching stop in the middle of the river The engine spluttered, coughed and died. We were caught between a rock and the edge of the river to put it literally and were firmly stuck in the riverbed and were going nowhere fast. Opening the door I steeped into knee depth water. We were in deep strife miles from anywhere and who knows when the next vehicle would come along. My Wife went for a fish and allowed me to contemplate our next move.

After considering our options we decided the best thing to do was to hike out to get help and were only ten minutes into our journey when a Forestry guy came down the road in his 4-wheel drive. With a grin from ear to ear he managed to say That your Van in the Middle of the river (I don't know how many townies are in the habit of Hiking those roads) After a couple of attempts he managed to pull us out of the river. The Van would not start so he towed us up to the top of the hill (about 1Km) to a spot where we could either get the van going or stay the night!

I began roadside diagnostics was there spark? Yes water in the distributor cap? A little (dried that out still would not start). Mmm I thought to myself I wonder if we have any petrol? I took off the petrol filler cap and was greeted by a gush of petrol into the collection bowl I had. I quickly replaced the cap and thought to myself why all that petrol coming out when I had traveled 150 Km since I had filled up the tank. The answer was soon to be obvious. I dribbled a little bit of petrol into the carburetor turned the engine over and the engine burst into life. AH so I had a petrol problem. I then removed the fuel line into the carby to see if the petrol pump was OK and cranked over the engine. What issued forth was not precious petrol but a steady spurt of water. So that was the problem I had somehow gotten some water into the petrol.

A quick look under the van in the direction of the petrol tank gave me a couple of clues as to what had happened while the van was river bound. A very large rock and decided to reshape the petrol tank and the breather tube was now extending below what was now my rock modified petrol tank. Being below the level of the tank, it allowed the tank to equalize the level of petrol with nice fresh water from the river. Yes we had Water in the petrol Actually 16 Litre's of water in a 50Litre-petrol tank! That answered my puzzle as to why we had a full tank after 150KM!.

During the next two hours I managed to Siphon out the water and we were on our way with a lot of Missing and spluttering from the engine department! The waterlogged Brakes and Clutch soon dried out but finally arrived at out destination.

Next day I added 1 Litre of Methelated Spirits to the petrol tank and that absorbed all the rest of the water. And the van ran surprisingly well on that almost pure 1 Litre of wood alcohol. Apart from a damaged pride we did manage to survive between "a Rock and the River's edge"

Oh the fishing

Lake Tutara had a good supply of trout and the fishing Nothing but Spectacular on the Mokaka fish everywhere in the runs and a very good rise in the evening.

So endith the trip.

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