craziest paddling exprience ever?

what is the craziest or wierdest thing that has ever happened to you during paddling?

Can’t really say yet, but - - -
The first time I drove into town with this old poly Aquaterra Sea Lion on top of the truck, I pulled into the gas station. When I came out, there were a couple older dudes looking at it. One asked me where I found this funny looking canoe. I told them Alaska. They just shook there heads and walked away. It was all I could do to keep from laughing.

I’ve only had this boat out three times this year for a grand total of 6 hours, and this episode happened on the first outing.

paddling out of Flamingo
and headed toward mid-cape…on the way back go to close in the shallows and spooked a shark (i think it was a nurse shark), it took off for deeper water and went right under my boat and headed toward my paddling companions boat…i saw it was headed directly toward her and yelled…the shark must have hit directly under the cockpit because it lifted the Silhouette and paddler up at least 6 inches…wheeeeeewwwwwwww…

then there was the time paddling on the Suwanee (sp?) and looking for gators…finally realized I was on the shady side, paddled over to the sunny side and just minutes later watched a gator leep ito the air trying to get to water,problem was his leep and my trajectory were at the same spot—so quick back paddling/hyperventilation avoided the collision—6 feet of gator in the air is awesome and this is not an exxxxxaggeration…once stopped we waited and a few seconds later found the pair of eyes scouting around to see what we were.

then there was the Crystal river, already did the manatee thing and was headed down the coast to paddle a bit of the florida canoe trail and a motorboater came across the whole entire crystal river just to buzz as close to me as possible…

The "Craziest…?"
those moments when I looked around, wide-eyed, and asked myself, “What the eff… am I doing here alone!?”


Middle Saranac Lake
in the Adirondacks. My friend Jason and I were leading 8 14-yr olds on a week long trip that combines canoeing, high peak mountains and rock climbing. We’re about half-way through the week, camped out on Middle Saranac.

Jason wakes me up at 2:30am and asks if I hear anything… I wait and sure enough hear someone yelling, splashes and the faint clang of an aluminum canoe. We don’t wake our kids, but hop in one of our canoes and head toward the sound. It’s pitch black, there’s a nice thick fog on the lake. I’m in the bow seat with a flashlight in my mouth (this was before headlamps got popular) and he’s paddling stern.

We finally arrive to the scene where two drunk rednecks are treading water next to their swamped canoe in the dead center of the lake - that they decided to take for a midnight paddle. They’re cussing each other out and close to brawling each other in the water.

We unswamp their canoe, help them into it and give them a spare paddle that I had brought since they had lost theirs. We bring them back to their campsite where about 10 other rednecks were still up drinking and dancing under their HUGE American flag that they had strung up at their campsite. I couldn’t even count how many coolers they had brought in. Noboby at their campsite seems to have missed the two chuckleheads we rescued.

The next morning a ranger pulls up to our campsite and asks if we know anything about a couple of lost paddles that washed up on someone’s property. We said “Yup! Sure do…” and proceeded to tell him the whole story. He made a bee-line for their campsite and fined them. We never got our spare paddle back.

Don’t know
If this is the weirdest as weird sometimes can get a little fuzzy over the years. The Nashua River in Ma. runs through the Still Water section of Harvard Ma. There is a monastery in Still Water up on the hill and the property runs down to the river. I was paddling this section one sunny afternoon years ago when out of nowhere came one of the brothers, robe and all, singing and stumbling out of the woods into the river. It seems he had gotten into the company brandy in a big way. It was a strange sight.

my boat took a trip to france

– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 11:21 AM EST –

but i wasn't in it. that's pretty crazy eh? many already know the story, but here it is again for those that don't.

i was paddling with two buddies in Oregon Inlet off Cape Hatteras a few years ago. the conditions were extremely 'challenging' .. good, since we were doing some work in preparation for our Newfoundland expedition later in the year. one of our group got into trouble and we went to rescue him. he had tried to roll and missed, and was out of his boat and being carried out of the inlet into the ocean. the wind was about 35 knots, waves were 6-8 feet and building, current out of the inlet was moving at about 5-6 knots.

i got to his boat and was getting him back into it when a huge wave (i judged it to be about 3 feet over my head) hit me from the side. i tried to hang onto his boat while bracing into the wave and ----- pop, my shoulder dislocated. i had used a high brace due to the extreme wave height and probably got my arm too far behind me. i had to come out of my boat since i lost my ability to paddle or brace.

so while he was back in his boat, i was now out of mine, being carried out to sea .. quickly. although he was 'rescued', he couldn't manage the conditions. i told the third member of our party to head for shore and get the coast guard or a fishing boat to come get us and gave her my boat to take in with her since i couldn't hang onto the first guy and my boat at the same time in those conditions and i didn't want us to become separated out there. i shot off three flares and told her i expected that at the current rate of flow, we'd be about three miles out to sea in a north easterly direction. away she went, my boat in tow .. and away the first guy and i went .. out to sea. i tried to keep him calm, talking to him to keep his mind busy and told him he was doing fine and we'd be back to shore in no time. no worries mate.

while paddling to shore with my boat in tow, the third member of our party found it impossible to manage her own boat in the prevailing conditions and made the correct decision to let my boat go adrift. better that she was safe and made it to shore than worry about my boat.

the short version is .. she made it to shore (and it wasn't easy) and contacted the coast guard. meanwhile a fishing boat which was coming back to shore, (he told us the conditions were too rough for him out there) saw the flares and found us. he managed to drag us both aboard and took us in.

the coast guard took me to the hospital, where they sedated me and put my arm back in .. and warmed my body temperature from the 92° it had plummeted to, back to good old 98.6°. funny thing is i was not exhibiting any signs of hypothermia, (doc said so) though i did feel cold and my teeth were chattering.

the saga of my boat. it drifted north on the gulf stream, up to Newfoundland (funny huh?), then across on the Labrador current to Europe and down the coast of France etc. where it was finally spotted by a 60 foot sloop sailing off the coast of the Azores more than a year after i had lost it. they contacted the Bermuda Rescue folks who contacted the Cape Hatteras coast guard (my wallet was still in the day hatch), who contacted my home town police, who came out to my house to see if i was alive or dead.

the folks who found my boat went back home (Germany) and sent me pictures of my boat all encrusted in barnacles. they wrote me a note saying they were glad i was alive, and that drank some wine on my behalf. they asked if i wanted them to ship the boat back. i said no, given its condition, and how expensive it would be ship it.

i bought another NDK Explorer just like the one that toured the Atlantic without me in it. my arm got better and i was fine in just two months. we did go to Newfoundland in July.

note: the boat survived a year of pounding by numerous hurricanes that year and when it was found, although it was pretty beat up, all the hatches were bone dry. how's that for a well made Explorer. took a lickin' and kept on tickin'.


That beats meeting a drunken monk.

Helped rescue a grey whale calf once
Off La Jolla. A calf was swimming with its mother and had a lobster trap dragging off its tail. I did not have a knife but used my cell phone to call 411 who put me through to the SPCA who helped contact Sea World and then eventually the San Diego Life Guards who eventually cut the pot off.It took about two hours from the the time I called to the rescue. I had the mother coming within a paddle length of my boat and could feel the air released from her blowhole. I got some pics off with a 35mm point and shoot, but was too mesmerized and scared to shoot when they were real close. A few pics

Really wish I had my knife that day. Would have had a pot full of lobster to bring home. The life guard cut the buoy first and then the line with the pot. He had to let the pot sink but told me it was full.

Lots of naked people
When I paddle one of my canoes I usually start at the take out and then paddle up stream until I tire and the let the current take my back. My usual paddling grounds are one of the many rivers or streams of the Jersey Pine Barrens. The Pine Barrens is a beautiful wilderness area, but it’s not the middle of no where. One day, early in my canoe experience, I was paddling up a river when I came upon a young couple hung up on a strainer. The woman, was drop dead gorgeous in her Bikini. I helped them get free and we each went our way. About half an hour later, late afternoon, no traffic on the river, I turned around for the return trip. Not long into the return I rounded a bend to find the young couple naked and engaged in a sex act. Ah, quickly I back paddled to get the boat back up the river while I looked away from the action. Almost clear, I clunked the royalex boat with my paddle and that got their attention. She screamed in embarressment and we all yelled “Sorry” at the same time. I told them I was going to paddle around the bend and to yell out when the coast was clear. They did, and were gone before I got back around the bend. Since then, on rivers in MD, Pa, NY, and NJ, I’ve seen it all, gay ,straight , men, women, and it no longer phases me. Skinny dippers don’t even get a second nod. On rivers that I know well I try to make some noise as I approach popular swimming areas and beaches. One thing I’ve learned from my ten years of canoeing is that the woods makes people horny.

Not as good as the Kayak that did Newfoundland without its driver, but it’s all I’ve got.


– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 11:43 PM EST –

Can I have the GPS coordinates for your paddling river please? What is the closest airport and kayak rental place? Oh, and can I borrow your good binoculars? Thank you.

two resces within two minutes in west

– Last Updated: Sep-07-06 4:00 PM EST –

chop (off martha's vinyard) Guy who needed rescues was so freaked he went headfirst into cockpit the first time. This was in Four knot current, big standing waves, some swell moving through.

and surfing, a freak show for me every time, even when I stay upright.

Meeting you, P-140.

– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 11:46 PM EST –

"what is the craziest or weirdest thing that has ever happened to you regarding paddling?"

I mean this with the utmost respect as a fellow paddler, but I gotta say, P-140, the nuttiest thing I ever experienced --paddling related-- was meeting you on Pnet. I recall your post about using your paddle in the center of your living room, standing there and stroking the air to get some training. I'll admit, I'm a regular Eddie Van Halen on air guitar with my bathroom shower as a stage, but being Eric Jackson in my living room just ain't my scene, man. You slay me, P-140.

Then when you posted about the fact that you'd not paddled your new Pamlico 140 for months after you bought it, and even considered going back to the same dealer to paddle his Pamlico 140 during a demo, I swear I spewed my Mickey D's fountain Coke straight out of my eye sockets when I read that. Flatpick, I know you were there too. That was totally off the hook, P-140.

And of course, no one, and I mean no one, will ever forget your rouse about the grey thing in your bow. Sort of like everyone remembers what they were doing when they heard that Elvis died... well, everyone remembers what they were doing when they read your grey thing thread. I was googling wi-fi on the throne, as I recall. Man, you were juiced. I know, several Pnetters sort of gave you a shiner on that one, and frankly, to this day I still don't think you have ever figured out what that darn grey thing is/was. Just as long as you yanked it out and maimed it, I think you'd be fine. Man, that was some b-zarro stuff. And all the time you took it in stride and played the straight guy. You have a way of really getting great and numerous replies to your new topics.

I find your humor to be very genuine and sincere. I am sure you are a great person... I remember the thread where everyone, and I mean everyone (even celia), was trying to figure out who the heck you are and what you stand for. Maybe we were all wrong. Like Chauncey Gardner in Being There... you stand for nothing and try for nothing, yet everyone attaches meaning to your innocent and heart-felt posts.

You add color and shine to Pnet, and you are very well thought of on here. Still, I gotta say, you have singlehandedly given me some of my absolute kookiest paddling memories.

too funny …
headfirst into the cockpit…that’s hysterical.

Except that somehow I can imagine myself doing it. :open_mouth:

51 Km portage
A 51 kilometer portage ranks up there as a little crazy, for me at least. It began at sea level on the Pacfic coast in British Columbia. From there, up and ove rthe Coast Mountains through a apass at about 3300 feet before heading back down to a lake at about 2700 feet where I resumed a 6 mnoth solo paddling trip to Montreal.

Yeah…that seemd kinda silly…but I’d do it again!

Cheers…Joe O’

Ah, yes
Those can be quite spiritual moments. I live for the times when, alone, can ask without certainty, “Am I really here?”

grey thing thread…
i vaguely remember something wacky about the grey thing in the bow, but refresh me. post the link to the thread if you would…

hey that story about the kayak to France was frickin insane, holy shite. i’d have wanted the boat back.

Nothing really weird ever happened
Well, Kara sinking up to her ass and getting stuck in the mud, really, really stuck, on my virgin Duckhead orienteering trip, that was…different. The Duckhead phenomina itself…nuf said. Meeting “the wipper” when I was hiking out of east Umbazookus two days after our shuttle was supposed to pick us up, that was out of the ordinary. The erie, groaning sound that eminated from the tram at 9-mile Bridge and freaked me out all night…but that was camped, not paddling. The Potomac suddenly and inexplicably coughing up a long sunken kayak was, well, unexplainable, but the weirdest?

Okay, and these are probably two “you had to be there” things, but #2, I’d say was the game of “Ballupa” as played by “the brotherhood of the Moose” on a river trip in 2000–way to hard to explain, just take my word.

And #1 was “disembodied legs.” Paddling one evening on the Potomac near DC on a day when there was a layer of mist laying on the river. It was just a low mist that thinned out three or four feet above the water, so I could make out where I was headed, and I think I could see about 50 feet in front of me. It was just a low fog hanging over the river. Near the Key bridge, I could see these things moving, but just couldn’t make 'em out. Paddled closer. Thin tapered things, almost like reeds blowing in a breeze or kelp moving in a current. What in ?? Paddled closer. Jimminy, look almost like…nah. Paddled closer, and yes, those are definately legs! Legs waving in the air, twenty or thirty of em, toes pointed skyward. It was the weirdest sight, legs protruding up out of the fog. Paddled closer and closer until I was almost on top of 'em. On a dock outside a boathouse there was a yoga class or some sort of group of women, fifteen or twenty, holding themselves upside down and moving their legs in unison.

Now that sounds kind of pedestrian, but it was the weirdest thing I ever saw while paddling. My eyes told my brain there was a grove of upside down legs eminating from the water and waving in the non-existant wind, and my brain just could not accept that explanation. Wierdest thing.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

actually, the were moments of mortal fear, as in “If I stay out here, I’ll likely not see tomorrow.”


I can’t believe that NDK hasn’t been smart enough to use that story in an ad! Hey, NDK, if you’re out there, may I respectfully suggest you look into a new marketing director! Email me if you’d like to see my resume! Currently happily employed, but would be willimg to consider the right opportunity!