I went out to the beach again today…Pretty windy with 2 and 3 foot swells. For those of you that read a previous post of mine where I described some ahem…difficulty…with staying upright and keeping some semblance of control, I am afraid that I really can’t report a whole lot of progress. I was more comfortable though overall.
My surf launch was infinitely better than last times debacle but again the surf behaved a bit better…Lots of surf and soup getting out past the sand bar, no seasickness, and I was feeling pretty good about everything. I was able to turn a bit, and lean a bit between swells, and while still pretty leery with it all, I managed to stay upright.
On the way back in I got yet another very cold dose of reality. Waves coming from behind and left (don’t know the nautical terms and don’t feel like looking it up) and I am trying to lean into the waves and as they were pretty steep, leaning way back to keep some weight off the bow. I managed to sort of surf in a ways but still very uncomfortable with it all and I stopped paying attention for just a moment…
I capsized the boat. I was thinking as I capsized…ok roll back up and lets get on with it…and the nylon skirt pops off (neoprene will be purchased this week!) and I am basically ejected from the boat? (I thought I was pretty firmly in there but obviously I let loose with the knees and thighs as I was going over…ok so much for my highly touted roll… so then I think ok…re-enter and roll…boat is so full of water that I roll it upside down and then lift the bow kicking upwards and trying to flip it over…wouldn’t flip…got most of the water out but the waves were just too high, badly spaced, etc…so I turn it over with some water still in it…about a third, and decide to do a paddle float re-entry. (My wife is telling me now that the lifeguard is watching intently and a couple of surfers were looking on.
I get the paddle float out and managed to blow up one side (big mistake) and then spent a few moments trying to get it into the blade and promptly lost the boat!. so now I am trying to swim with a half inflated paddle float and paddle in one hand (not attached) and the boat just keeps getting farther and farther away… I make the dcision to leave the paddle and I managed to just grasp the safety lines of the tempest and then I tow it back to the paddle. (I had a spare on the deck but I figured I could make it back to the paddle)
Now I remember some of what I have read and hook my foot into the cockpit and deflate the float, place it on the paddle, and then inflated both sides. at this point it was cake as I had practiced repeatedly the paddle float rescue so I get back in my boat and stayed upright.
so I am finally back in my boat and the paddle float is on the paddle on the left side. I reach behind me to get the pump out from behind my seat and it is stuck! I can’t get it out for nothing! I used my sponge and got maybe a couple of gallons out and the boat was sort of ok…so I reach back to get the spray skirt and it is under me!..not funny. I can’t possibly get it set up right without leaving the boat again which I was not going to do!..I deflated one side of the paddle float and threw it in the bottom of the kayak floating with my sponge and basically, made it into shore very carefully.
so what did I learn?
My real attempt at rescue had absolutely nothing to do with any training in a pool or lake. (well the paddle float rescue but I am talking about physical and mental conditions) but the things that happened like losing the paddle, watching the boat get carried off by a wave as it is much lighter than you are at that point, and trying to lift the bow and flip at the same time, were very frustrating in the conditions I was in.
I am pretty calm in the face of crisis…I have my reactions later…so that has to account for me not having to swim for shore and finding the boat later, but by god I did some really stupid things!
- my pump was inaccessible behind the seat.
- I let go of the boat! I let go of my paddle!
- Nylon spray skirts are not a good idea in swells and surf.
- I stopped paying attention (several times obviously…1st capsize, paddle, paddle float, boat…)
- I should have done the re-enter and roll anyway or at least done a paddle float roll since Ihad the damned thing on the paddle anyway.
things I did right:
- had a pfd on
- stayed in a supervised area with lifeguards and plenty of boats nearby.
- used a rescue technique (admittedly not the roll I would have wanted to use) but I got back in my boat!
- I stayed calm and made some decisions, got the boat and myself back to shore safely. (Well until my wife got a hold of me! That was definitely not pretty!) (I should have stayed out on the water until she cooled off.)
Another notch on the lessons/experiences of kayaking I guess. You can get comfortable…but can never be inattentive or mother nature will slap you up the side of the head hard.