That recet article in the Seattle Times on Deception Pass put the fear of God into me. Is it true that those whirlpools can suck you down, so that if you capsize in them you can't roll up? Can you get trapped in them after wet exiting? Can they suck you underwater? I asked around to see if anyone had any experience with this and Rob sent me this interesting story:
About whirlpool retention. Big ones have been known to take large boats. In the Coastal Pilot there are warnings of missiles launched by whirlpools that had until then, previously held down trees that were afloat.
I was asked to help instruct a group of folks at DP as part of a WKC event. It was a 7.9K flood and we were on the NE side of Pass Island. One of the other coaches blew out of the eddy, but the overfall redirected him into a whirly on the left. His boat flipped and it rotated by the whirly until it was stuck between the whirly and the cliff of Pass Island. He bailed, but the whirly held him to the rock like a starfish until the whirly's forces were changed and he flushed out. A student backed in and clipped onto his boat and another coach did a rear deck carry to get him to shore. When asked what that was like, his comment was: "Wow, that was interesting."
Up at Skooks I was submerged in a whirly to my shoulders and escaped by edging and hard strokes on the right. Truth is, it probably let me go as my presence in it changed the forces significantly. That too, was interesting.