Lake Wivenhoe kayaker opens up after near-death experience
"THERE is no use trying to recover - once you're over, that's it."
After his kayak flipped, David Wycherley spent 90 minutes waiting to be pulled from Lake Wivenhoe's icy grip earlier this month.
The 70-year-old Heritage Park man was kayaking with his friend on Monday when a wave overturned his kayak more than 500 metres from shore.
Wearing a life vest, Mr Wycherley used the half-submerged kayak to stay afloat and his friend called police for help.
"I started to shiver in the water and that's when I realised it was seriously cold," he said.
"Those thoughts go through your mind about making it home … flight or fight takes over and I was determined not to give in, of course."
As time dragged on, Mr Wycherley's core body temperature dropped dangerously low.
"You start to lose awareness of what's around you," he said.
"When they got me out and the ambos got there, my core body temperate was 32.9 degrees - I'm told, when it gets to 32 degrees, you lose consciousness."
He said he remembered clearly the moment the kayak overturned.
"It blew up quite windy and choppy and my kayak got into a position that was side on to a wave and that's when it flipped over," he said.
"I can still see the whole thing flipping over - I'll never forget that picture."
Mr Wycherley began kayaking a year ago, regularly camping by Lake Wivenhoe, when he decided to take the kayak out on the water on Monday, June 1.
"It's always in the back of your mind that something could go wrong," he said.
"You try and plan accordingly for the worst, which I do."
Despite the water's temperature, Mr Wycherley's feet stayed warm, thanks to dive boots he was wearing.
"When I was in the water for so long, my feet didn't get cold."
Police from the Esk station came to the rescue, commandeering two boats at the shore of the lake.
Mr Wycherley was treated for hypothermia and spent the night at the Ipswich Hospital on a saline drip.
He said he owed his life to the life jacket he was wearing, his friend's quick-thinking to call for help and the emergency services who rushed to the scene.
"If I didn't have a life vest on, I wouldn't have lasted," he said.
"I really want to thank the police and ambos and boaties."
Read more stories by Ebony Graveur.