Thursday, 29th September 2022 - 15:37:03 pm
We moved off in single file along the jungle encroached trail. With his red filtered torch partially lighting the way ahead, Baey took the lead. Pete, stumbling along was close behind with me with my oozing bullet wound, bringing up the rear. Somewhere, not too far behind us, I could faintly hear the eager voices of our pursuers. Baey kept up a steady pace as we weaved around trees and scrambled over boulders, on a track gaining in elevation. Below us we could hear sounds of running water as the river coursed over the rock strewn terrain. The humidity was thick in the air from the dense foliage and combined with the work we were putting in negotiating a track in the dark, soon had me dripping in perspiration. Every now and again Baey would stop and listen for the sounds of the armed posse chasing us. With skills honed from years as a tracker in the jungles on Thailand’s borders, he had a level of expertise far above amateurs such as Pete and me.
“They’re falling behind,” said Baey as he unzipped his gear bag and handed us a military style plastic water bottle.
“How can you tell that,” I said taking a welcome swig of the water.
“Mainly from their clumsiness negotiating the track, but also probably because Ning is slowing them down,” said Baey without any doubt.
“How many do you think are following us?” said Pete having a gulp of water.
“Hard to be sure but I think only three. Besides Ning and those two hoodlums in the workshop, who else was at the house?”
“Ning’s boyfriend, a muscled thug, another tattoo covered punk and a scrawny, drugged up hit man.”
“How do you know he was a hit man?” said Baey having a laugh shaking his head.
“I don’t but he looked deranged enough to shoot anyone, in an instant, if ordered to,” I said having a laugh as well.
“Okay, they’ve probably got a minimum of three hand guns then. We’d better get moving again, and Peter?”
“Lift your damned feet and take shorter steps as you move along the track. You’re tripping up because you’re walking like you’re still in downtown Bangkok,” said Baey putting the water bottle back in his gear bag.
“We’d better go,” I said indicating the torch beams drawing closer on the track behind us.
“We’ll push on for another kilometre, or so then stop so I can sort out my kit,” said Baey leading off again.
Pete, surprisingly, heeded Baey’s advice regarding his walking technique and was doing much better as we continued to push along at a steady clip. For some reason Baey had removed the infrared cover from his Maglite and was illuminating the trail and worryingly, our position with its intense white light. As we pushed on into the night, and further into the national park, the sides of the ravine grew ever steeper. At times the trail was right at the water’s edge but, more frequently, where the drop to water course became too acute, we had to climb the sides of the valley on an increasingly unrecognisable trail. Ahead of us the rumble of a growing thunder storm reverberated across the jagged peaks. As we came to the crest of another sharp deviation above the river Baey stopped once more to listen and look back along the trail. I glanced behind and caught the flicker of yellow torch light a few hundred meters to our rear.
“How’s that leg of yours holding up?” said Baey as I pulled up next him to catch my breath.
“Not too bad,” I said grabbing hold of a thick bundle of vines to steady myself.
“Fuck the jungle,” said Pete tripping on another tree root and falling flat on his face a few metres behind us.
“We’d better take a look at that wound. Pete, keep watching back down the trail,” said Baey unzipping his gear bag and taking out the water bottle and a roll of gauze bandage.
“Jesus mate what else have you got in there, a kitchen sink?” I said as I rolled up my cargoes to reveal the wound in the right calf muscle.
“You don’t want to know. This doesn’t look too bad Mike, the round just nicked you. Stiches would be better but this will have to do for now,” said Baey using the last of the drinking water to irrigate the wound.
“Mate, I know you’ve got some mad scheme going on inside your head but don’t you think you’re giving away our position by flashing that Maglite about,” I said as he sprayed Betadine into the wound and began applying the bandage.
“That’s exactly the idea Mike. I want them to keep following us deeper into the jungle. If they lose track of us they may give up and turn back,” he said knotting the end of the bandage around my calf.
“They’re getting closer guys,” said Pete from his position of vigilance.
“Good, let them come,” said Baey as he unholstered his Glock and strapped on the biggest Bowie knife I’ve seen since Rambo first took on the bad guys.
“Shit mate, that’s a serious looking blade,” I said as another deep rumble of thunder rolled closer to us.
“The rain will slow things up but provide more cover,” said Baey looking to the heavens.
“And not too soon,” I said looking back along the track and noting our pursuers were less than two hundred meters adrift.
“Let’s go. Peter, how far is this waterfall from here?” said Baey leading off again.
“Not far, maybe another five hundred meters maximum,” replied Pete as we began descending back towards the river.
Our progress slowed markedly as we picked our way carefully down the steep gradient. To make matters worse there was a tangle of vines to negotiate as we stumbled forward along the crumbling, angled trail. To speed things up we reverted to using the vines to rappel down the slope. The drop to the river was almost fifty metres and as we felt the terrain begin to level out, the first drops of rain started falling through the canopy above. A couple minutes later we were at the river bed again. Our reverie, of finally getting on a recognisable stretch of trail was short lived. Just as we began moving forward on the easier going terrain, the posse came over the crest and caught us in their torch beams. Another stream of Thai insults and the echo of two rounds cracking into the surrounding peaks, was enough to have us picking up the pace. Baey quickly changed back to the infra-red light and lead us on at a steady trot.
“They’ll fall behind while they’re working their way down that slope,” said Baey as the sound of our pursuer’s voices fell away again.
We continued to work steadily along a more forgiving stretch of track and although the sides of the ravine grew steeper, as we ascended higher into the jungle, the going remained relatively flat as we skirted the stream just a few meters below us. The rain steadily increased creating a slippery surface on the mixture of hard clay, and rock, under foot. As another bolt of lightning flashed across the darkened peaks in the distance I checked my watch. It was few minutes before midnight and it seemed incredible nearly three hours had elapsed since we made a run for it from the workshop. Another lightning flash revealed a huge rock bulging out from the ravine wall up ahead. For all intents and purposes it looked as though our path was blocked.
“Where to now?” said Baey as we came to a halt.
“Drop down to the river bed. There’s a narrow track at the base of the boulder which opens up to a wide flat area at the bottom of the waterfall,” said Pete.
“Take the torch and lead on,” said Baey handing him the Maglite.
Pete took the Maglite and moved to the edge of the drop to the river. At the point where the precipice met the base of the huge lump of Karst, there was an incline of jumbled boulders falling away to the riverbed three meters below. Pete, beginning to shiver from being soaked through from the steady rain, led the way down to the bottom. A minute or so later we were standing on a narrow trail of stones and sediment where the rock met the river bed. Up ahead we could hear the steady thrum of the waterfall.
“This rope runs around the face of the boulder to the other side. Probably put in for the safety of tourists,” said Pete grabbing the one inch fixed line and leading the way again.
After a short traverse, hugging the rock face and holding the rope, the way opened up to reveal another incline of jumbled boulders and an impressive waterfall some twenty meters beyond. Pete led us up the rock fall to a wide, flat area hemmed in by the boulder on one side and the near vertical walls of a massive cliff face on the other two sides.
“Hell Peter, we’re trapped. This is a dead end,” said Baey shining his Maglite up the face of the falls to reveal a fifteen metre drop to a pool at the base.
“Shit Baey, I’m not that bloody daft mate,” Pete fired back.
“Okay, how do we get out of here then?”
“Shine your torch to the right of the waterfall. There, you see that small track.”
“Yeah,” said Baey as we spotted the narrow path up the side of the waterfall.
“It ducks under the waterfall. There’s a small cave, and tunnel, which exits to the side and a few metres above the level up there.”
“Good, we’d better get on with it then. Those scumbags will be here soon,” said Baey leading off once more.
We crossed the ten meter expanse of flat terrain and began ascending the slippery, moss covered stones up the face of the waterfall. The Spray coming off the torrent spilling from above, was even cooler than the light rain still falling. Roughly five meters above the flat expanse below, the barely visible track veered to the left and disappeared under the falls. Baey, getting a firm grip on some protruding rocks, inched forward on a narrow ledge and then disappeared into the hollow behind the watery curtain. The diffused glow of his torch provided just enough light for Pete and me to work our way along the ledge and join him in the hidden chamber a few seconds later. Even though it was good to be standing in a dry place, finally, the air inside the small cave was musty and damp and probably wouldn’t do us much good if we hung around too long.
“We’ll push on so we can get well above the chasing pack,” said Baey placing the red filter back over his torch and flashing it towards the rear of the cave.
Three to four meters back from the curtain of falling water the small chamber funneled in to a one metre diameter hole. We all crouched down in anticipation of the crawl into a confined space.
“Peter, how far before this exits above?” said Baey flashing his torch into the depths of the tunnel.
“As far as I can remember, it’s roughly about forty metres,” replied Pete as we felt a light draft coming from the far end.
“Is there anything we should be aware of?”
“Well the golf course maintenance chap who brought me here, said there was a large snake living at the other end.”
“A large snake, did you see it?” said Baey looking at Pete doubtfully.
“Well no, but it was day time when we came so maybe it was off sunning itself.”
“Hmm, besides the possibility of a snake there are also scorpions and centipede’s to consider as well,” said Baey as he pulled a pair of black leather gloves from his gear bag.
A minute later, with his gloves in place, his gear bag slung back over his shoulders, Baey was leading us along the darkened confines of tunnel. A few meters in he removed the red filter from the Maglite. The improved lighting revealed the largely unremarkable geology of eroded limestone overhead and a floor of hard packed clay. I figured this was probably a watercourse during the rainy season when the river level was much higher. The tunnel’s gradient angled up as we got nearer to the other end and with the draft getting stronger I reasoned we’d be out in no time at all. With the exit in sight, Baey suddenly stopped moving.
“What’s the problem mate?”
“Quiet Mike, it’s that damned snake. And it’s not just any snake either, it’s a King Cobra. Shit, it’s beginning to stir,” said Baey keeping his Maglite zeroed on the thick coiled body sitting on a ledge in front of the exit.
“Fuck, we can’t back up. What’s the plan now?” I said feeling the hairs stand up on the back of my neck as the Cobra’s tongue began flicking furiously.
“Take my gear bag, empty everything out and pass me a can of mace and the empty bag,” said Baey not daring to take his eyes off the menacing reptile three metres in front of him.
Baey released the gear bag from his shoulders. Immediately I grabbed hold of it, fully opened the zip and poured out the contents. There was two black canister’s amongst the assortment of kit. I quickly pushed one into his right hand. As he grabbed it I pushed the empty gear bag into his left just in time as the Cobra was now fully awake and beginning to slide towards us from its ledge. At a distance of roughly a metre and half from Baey it reared up and began fanning its hood in preparation for an attack.
“These things spit don’t they?” I said transfixed at the reptile’s movements.
“Sometimes,” said Baey keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the swaying cobra and calmly flipping the top off the mace can.
“Well I hope like hell this isn’t one of those times,” I said as the Cobra reared up to its full attack mode.
“Turn your heads away. This gas will blow back towards us with the draft,” said Baey as the beast lunged.
As soon as the Cobra launched its attack Baey let rip with a full stream of gas at its head. Two seconds later the tunnel was in total mayhem as the snake dropped to the clay floor and started writhing around violently. Pete and I started coughing and sputtering furiously as this gas quickly filled the narrow space in the tunnel. Baey, in an act of complete madness, opened the gear bag fully and dived onto the writhing snake, scooping it up and quickly closing the zip. How he maintained a functioning mind, I’ll never know, because Pete and I were almost completely incapacitated by the effects of the mace.
“Put all that stuff into the small rucksack and let’s get out of here,” said Baey as the effects of the gas began to dissipate.
Baey shone the torch on the pile of kit I’d emptied from the gear bag and I was rather surprised by what I saw. Besides the small rucksack, with all the money, the mace, the knives, the water bottle and his Glock, there was a bundle of hand flares and a VHF radio. With tears still streaming from my eyes I opened the rucksack and stuffed everything in on top of the two million Baht.
“What’s the story with the flares and the VHF radio mate,” I said a little puzzled by what I’d seen.
“I’ll tell you later Mike. Let’s get some fresh air,” said Baey as he grabbed the gear bag and moved towards the exit.
The last few meters of the tunnel angled sharply upwards with the final stretch being a four metre vertical shaft to the surface. A protrusion of wall boulders made the final climb reasonably simple as Pete and I passed the ruck sack, and the bag with the snake, up to Baey waiting at the top. As we emerged from our underground ordeal we took in some deep lungful’s of fresh air. The exit point was set a few metres above the river and as we moved towards it we saw yellow torchlight dancing about on the level below. Baey immediately put the red filter back on his Maglite and indicated we keep quiet. Luckily our position was set a good twenty meters back from the edge of the falls so there was little chance of our pursuers seeing us. Pete and I moved quietly down to the water’s edge to wash the gas out of our eyes and have a relieving drink of water. The snake, locked in total darkness, had stopped moving. Baey dropped the gear bag on a rock set back from the water’s edge and began cleaning himself up as well. As far as I could ascertain we were at the edge of a large pool of water which backed up, behind a barrier of rocks at the falls edge, then spilled over to the pool below.
“Mate I don’t know what you were thinking but that was as about the craziest stunt I’ve ever seen. What do you need the snake for?” I said feeling the soothing effects of the fresh water on my eyes.
“Let’s just call it a welcoming gift for whoever tries to come up that tunnel next,” said Baey with malicious grin.
“That’ll be a hell of a thing. It looks as though this might be a dead end though mate. What fun and games have you got planned next?”
“The party’s just beginning Mike. Pass me the rucksack please; we’ve got work to do?”
I passed it across to him and he immediately began rummaging around inside.
“We don’t have much time. I think the bad guys might be nosing around the waterfall already,” said Baey as their torch lights seemed to be getting closer.
“Fill this up,” said Baey as he handed him the water bottle.
“Take this hand flare and activate it when I tell you. Undo that clip on the side, rotate it clockwise and when it starts flaring hold it well away from you,” said Baey grabbing a couple of bundles of cash from the rucksack.
“What are you going to do?” I said as he stuffed the bundles into his back pockets and dropped the rucksack on a nearby rock.
“Attract the attention of our friends below,” he said standing up and moving towards the edge of the waterfall.
With the aid of his red filtered torch, positioned on a boulder next to the water, Baey began picking his way carefully across the exposed rocks at the edge of the drop off. A couple of minutes later he was crouched somewhere near the center.
“Activate that flare now Mike.”
Ten seconds later there was a flash of red sparks followed by an intense light which illuminated our position and the valley below. Baey stood up, took the bundles out of his pockets and stepped up to the edge of the drop off holding the cash high above his head. It was like something out of the twilight zone. Silhouetted in the bright red light he began bellowing in Thai to the posse down below. Within a few seconds there was torch light zeroing in on him followed by a returned tirade of insults and, finally, a volley of rounds being let loose. We ducked for cover but Baey just stood there motionless for a few seconds before falling back into the water. For a moment I went into shock thinking he’d been hit but then I remembered he still had the flak jacket on. He surfaced, almost immediately, and swam back towards us with the cash still in one hand.
“Douse that flare Mike,” said Baey as the red glow began to burn out.
“I thought you’d taken one there for a minute mate,” I said dropping the flare into the water.
“No chance, not with this on,” said Baey touching the front of his Kevlar.
“Thank fuck for that mate. I don’t fancy having to release that snake out of the bag.”
“This is yours,” said Baey as he walked out of the pool and threw the bundles towards Pete.
“Shit mate, they’re all bloody soaked,” said Pete looking as though he was still having a tough time of things.
“Well if you don’t want it I’m sure Mike and I can find a way to dry it out.”
“It looks as though you buggers have already had a share of it,” said Pete as he pulled the cash out of the rucksack and stacked it in a pile next to him.
“Let’s just say it’s for services rendered mate,” I said becoming irritated with Pete’s niggle.
“That and a bit more I’d say,” fired back Pete with a petulant look.
“Jeez you’re beginning to piss me off big time. What we’ve taken was no more than what we were owed. If it wasn’t for Baey you’d be fucking dead now buddy. Just shut it and be grateful he’s rescued your sorry ass,” I said giving him both barrels.
“Can you two stop your bickering; we’ve got to stay switched on for the next attack. It won’t take long for Ning, and her gang, to figure out how to get up here so we need to be ready for them when they come up that shaft,” said Baey giving us both a no nonsense look.
“Yeah, right’o. Sorry mate. What have you got in mind?” I said, quickly moving on from the exchange with Pete.
“We need to keep watch on that shaft. Peter, can you stand near the exit and let me know as soon as you hear or see anything?”
“Yeah, no worries,” said Pete as he stuffed his cash back in the rucksack.
“How can you be sure they’ll come looking for us?” I said as Baey took the rucksack from Pete and pulled out the second can of mace.
“Because they know the cash is up here now and also because of what I said to them,” chuckled Baey.
“I take it wasn’t very complimentary?”
“Not at all. Most Thai people don’t like having their mothers referred to as whores.”
“That would do it. What are we going to do if they come up the tunnel?”
“Give them a good hit of gas and then drop our friend on top of them?” said Baey picking up the gear bag and shaking it for good measure.
“I think we might have company,” said Pete waving us over to join him.
“What do you see?” said Baey as we quickly joined Pete at the tunnels’ exit.
“Not much but there’s a quick flash of light every few seconds,” said Pete staring intently into the shaft.
“Okay, someone is using quick bursts of torch light to work their way along the tunnel. Take the Maglite and keep it pointed down there,” said Baey handing me the red filtered torch.
“What do you want me to do?” said Pete getting back into the mood of the situation.
“You can start by rubbing this on. You Farang are too damn white,” said Baey reaching into a side pocket and passing Pete a small canister.
“What’s this?” said Pete examining the top of the can.
“Cam cream, cover your face with it,” Said Baey flipping the top on the can of mace.
“Another burst of torch light, and getting closer,” I whispered to Baey.
“Good, let them come,” said Baey getting into Position with the mace and the snake.
Pete held out the open can of face blackener for me to dig my fingers into and, after quickly applying a large swathe to my forehead, and cheeks, I went back to my vigil. There was another burst of torchlight, this time much nearer, and then darkness for what seemed an eternity. At first it was hard to be sure but then, in the Maglite’s soft red glow, I saw the muzzle of a revolver closely followed by the eyes, forehead and long hair of the older punk I’d nick-named the “hit-man.” Baey saw him too. The hitman stepped fully into the shaft only to realize, too late, there was a reception committee staring down at him. Before he could react Baey opened up with a full blast of mace directed straight at his head. The draft carried the gas cloud into the narrow confines of the shaft and quickly enveloped our guest. Less than five seconds later the scrawny punk was on his hands and needs coughing violently. To add to his misery Baey took hold of the gear bag, quickly unzipping it, and emptied the Cobra into the bottom of the shaft.
With the darkness of the night making it difficult to see it was the sound, coming from below, giving us more of an indication as to what was occurring. There seemed to be little reaction from the hit man as the snake took it’s time adjusting to its new found freedom. The coughing stopped and there was silence for a couple of seconds as the hit man realized his predicament. The snake, sensing a chance for some payback, attacked with ferocity as howls of terror erupted from the shaft. As the hit man tried backing up in the tunnel the Cobra went for the jugular, literally, and sunk it’s fangs into his neck. In the ensuing frenzy of trying to clear himself, from the attacking beast, the hit man dropped his revolver. As the pair moved further back into the tunnel, the revolver sat unattended. Baey, never one to miss a golden opportunity, swung into action and moved quickly into the shaft.
“Give me the Maglite,” he said coming to a halt midway down.
Without delay I dropped it into his outstretched hand. Seconds later he was at the bottom of the shaft seizing the gun from the desperate grasps of the hit man. With the revolver securely in his waistband, Baey removed the red filter from his torch. The effect of the bright light was immediate; the horrible scene taking place was revealed in full. The Cobra, having struck a number of lethal blows to the victim, turned to face a new adversary. Too late, once again, as Baey gave it another dose of mace and then scrambled back to the safety of the rocky incline. As the snake went into another thrashing frenzy the hit man went into convulsions in the tunnel.
“Wouldn’t it have been better to shoot that damn snake?” I said as Baey climbed out of the shaft.
“No, having it alive serves a better purpose. Anyone else thinking about coming up that tunnel will be in for nasty surprise.”
“What are we going to do about that poor bugger?” said Pete as the hit man lay there motionless.
“There’s nothing we can do. He’s in a coma from the venom already. The poison from a snake of this size is lethal and works quickly on the body. Without rapid treatment he’ll stop breathing very soon and die from suffocation,” said Baey as the tail of the Cobra finally disappeared into the blackness of the tunnel.
“Now that you’ve got that revolver can’t we go on the offensive?”
“It might be a good idea to wait until that Cobra moves off first.”
“It’ll be daylight soon,” I said checking my watch.
“What’s the time?” said Baey as light rain began falling again.
“Just after four a.m.,” I replied feeling the weariness of the last few hours’ activity beginning to take hold.
“First light will be the ideal time to strike out from here. Damn, that’s not going to do us much good,” said Baey breaking open the revolver and checking the magazine.
“What’s the problem?”
“There’s only three rounds in this,” said Baey snapping the revolver back together.
“Our hit man wasn’t much of a hit man then?”
“No, more like a drugged up, low level mafia punk. A real hit man wouldn’t step out the door with only three rounds in his gun,” said Baey Shaking his head at the stupidity of it.
“Maybe he’s got a few rounds in his pockets?”
“Possibly, we’ll check on the way through,” said Baey as another blast of thunder reverberated across the peaks in the distance.
“Any chance we can try to find some shelter from this rain?” said Pete beginning to shiver again.
“I think there’s a small cave on the cliff face over there,” said Baey flashing his torch towards a jumble of rocks a few meters beyond the water’s edge.
“That’ll do, I’m bloody soaked through,” said Pete making a bee line for the shelter.
A couple of minutes later we were all crammed in under an overhang watching the steadily increasing rain sweep down the ravine. As miserable as the weather conditions were, we could take a small amount of comfort in the fact we were at least dry for the time being. The dark of the wee hours was slowly turning into dawns first light and as the grey of early morning pierced the jungle we began to get a clearer picture of the surrounding terrain. We were in a ravine with almost vertical sides. Directly in front of us was a deep pool, roughly ten meters across, providing an ample supply of water for the falls at the mouth of the ravine. The source of the water for the pool was a jumbled layer of smaller falls, stepped into more ravines, running higher into the jungle clad peaks beyond. The new day arrived with a chorus of animals waking in the jungle. I checked my watch again and it was just on five am. It seemed incredible less than twenty four hours earlier I was sitting comfortably in my condo enjoying a coffee with Nat. One by one we began nodding off from the physical exertions, and sleep deprivation, of the previous twenty four hours.
“Do you really think Ning and whoever is with her, will hang around?” I said trying to keep everyone alert.
“Hard to say really, Mike. The fact they’ve lost another team member might see them have a change of heart about trying to get their hands on the cash. Who’s to say though, we’ll only find out once we emerge from under that waterfall. Anyway, I think this is the right time to make a move. Pete, I need some of my gear,” said Baey reaching for the rucksack.
“No worries, I’m going splash some water on my face,” said Pete standing and moving towards the pool.
“Good idea,” I said ambling off to join him.
“Jeez, what a bloody predicament and all because I wanted to sell the fucking house,” said Pete as we crouched at the water’s edge.
“The unpredictability of a mentally unstable woman,” I said shaking my head.
“Feel a bit sorry for the crazy bitch now. I know she was a difficult cunt sometimes but that was no way to check out. She didn’t deserve what happened last night,” said Pete looking a touch morose.
“As tough as it might be mate the Thai’s would tell you it couldn’t be helped, it was her destiny. She set the course for herself by her own negative actions.”
“Yeah, true enough mate. Fuck I’m hangin’ out for a Marlboro and a beer. I left my bloody smokes in the laundry when those bastards bushwhacked me.”
“Yeah, I forgot to ask you about that. What was the story?”
“It was all a bit odd, mate. One minute I was about to load the washing into a machine and the next moment three armed hoods had surrounded me. I was told to keep my mouth shut and go with them. They frog marched me out the back gate of the condo complex into that black Fortuna, and drove me straight to the house.”
“What about Amm and Det?”
“They were there when I arrived. Amm must’ve done some kind of deal with these bastards to get the money from the house sale. They probably hoodwinked her into thinking she was getting an even cut of the scam. Unfortunately for her, it all went pear shaped as soon as I arrived.”
“Why, what happened?”
“They bundled us down into the basement and threatened to kill us all if we didn’t cooperate. I hope like hell Baey can sort these buggers out quickly.”
“He’s a professional mate; he’ll get us out of here.”
“Can you hear that Mike?” said Pete pricking his ears up.
“Yeah, it sounds like something’s crashing through the jungle. Oh, fuck,” I said looking towards the ravine above.
“What?” said Pete, glancing up as well.
“It’s a flash flood, run for it mate,” I said catching a glimpse of Baey scrambling to higher ground and waving frantically for us to join him.
Too late, the only place to go was over the falls. It was every man for himself as I turned and bolted along the rocky shoreline to the edge of the drop off. No doubt Pete was somewhere behind running for it as well. As I reached the edge I was hit by the maelstrom of water, and tangled debris, and blown out over the falls and down to the next pool fifteen meters below.