How could something so beautiful be so dangerous?
Thousands of people perish at waterfalls each year, but Waterfall Survivors Club founder Joe Yap says that many of the accidents could be avoided if we only had more common sense (like avoiding the deep end or slippery rocks) or paid more attention to the laws of nature.
Here, she dispenses more expert advice on how to return from your next waterfall adventure in one piece.
Source: The Star
- Always look at the weather upstream and make sure the sky is clear. If the sky looks gloomy, you should avoid the waterfall. Flash floods can occur in a second — you will not be given a signal at all that it’s coming.
- Usually, a person is able to tell if the place is prone to flash floods. The giveaway? A number of huge logs sitting along the riverbank. This could only mean that a powerful gush of water carried the logs there. The location of these logs can also tell you how high the water level can go.
- If it starts raining, always look for higher ground. Stay away from riverbanks.
- Undercurrents are common in waterfalls. If the current sucks you in, stay calm. The more you struggle, the worse it’ll get. Remain calm, and the water will eventually loosen its grip on you.
- If you’re swept away by the water, lie on your back, facing upwards. Be sure to protect your head and go with the flow.
- When someone is trying to save you, stay calm or you will risk both your lives.
- Rocks at waterfalls are slippery. Always ensure your next footing is stable before proceeding to the next step. And a rope will come in handy each time you’re thinking of crossing a river that is strong or knee deep.
- Get out of the river immediately if 1) The current starts getting strong 2) the colour of the water changes (showing that it’s raining upstream).
Popular Waterfalls That You Might Be Interested
- Ulu Geruntum Waterfall – The Ulu Geruntum waterfall is one of the best places for waterfall abseiling. A group of young people with similar interests were brought together through the social networking website Facebook.
- Chilling Waterfall – Prepare to get wet here, even if you don’t plan on swimming! This is because visitors have to make five (shallow to deep) river crossings to get to this multiple cascade.
- Jerangkang Waterfall – This endless succession of over 40 blue-green cascades is one of nature’s finest. Although there is a well-marked trail leading you to the top, it takes a fair amount of strength to get there because of the arduous vertical trek involved.
- Pos Dipang Waterfall – Being a recent discovery, Pos Dipang is still relatively uncharted and therefore unspoilt. There is an hour’s worth of trekking involved (past an Orang Asli settlement), but you’ll be rewarded with a natural Jacuzzi and, not to mention, a fascinating insight into our country’s native flora and fauna along the way.
- Lata Kinjang Waterfall – These dramatic 300m cascades, which can be seen from the North-South Highway, hold the top prize for being one of the tallest waterfalls in Malaysia.
- Seminyang Waterfall – Having only a single tier does not make Seminyang any less astounding. But beware: this powerful and roaring waterfall is no child’s play. Its deep river bed and hostile terrain is prone to flash floods. You might also want to consider going by 4WD.