In the past week, stories of paddling/kayaking mishaps have been blowing up my newsfeed. Yup… Warmer temps, sunshine, and coldwater of early spring do it every year.
Saw a video a couple of weeks ago by someone launching their kayak from snow cover banked. No immersion gear whatsoever. I made a comment about cold water safety and provided a link for educational resources. I totally expected an indignant response. Instead, I got a “mea culpa” and a “thanks” from the youtuber. Ok. Some are willing to hear.
A week ago a guy died in Lake Superior, at the Lower Harbor in Marquette. I haven’t been able to find any information, other than that he was in his 30s. He was reported missing at 8:50 pm, and his kayak was found, and then his body. No mention of what he was paddling, how he was dressed, etc. Water is very, very cold this time of year.
"When you were young and your heart
was an open book
You used to say live and let live
(You know you did)
(You know you did)
(You know you did)
But if this ever changin’ world
in which we’re livin’
Makes you give in and cry
Say live and let…"
Oh, wait, no – I didn’t mean to sing that particular tune. Forgive me. (And no name pun intended😉.) Well whaddya know?
It is that time of year again, isn’t it? “Of Spring Break and Breaking Bad.” Haven’t quite seen any reports on my own feed just yet. But I know how reliable this forum is in annually reporting these mishaps. So can’t say I really notice them elsewhere anymore anyways. Unless such soltice-icidal incidents occur locally. (Besides, it’s early yet. Inspiring warmer air temps haven’t even begun to spark the inspired imaginations of the uninformed and unwary out there.)
We have wanted to get out on the water but, the local lake temperature was 52, the last time I checked. Without protection gear we will not be going out, even though we “never” capsize. It only takes once!
Saw a report last week of a 30ish man who jumped (or fell) in a local lake and never resurfaced.
True that. Thankfully, I don’t have to read the mortalities related to all that. I just need to stop reading stuff about hiking, paddling and surfing to the stop the news feed from pushing the bad news to me (at least that related to my sporting interests).
People don’t realize that the water is at its coldest around now. Here are the water temps for Narragansett Bay in RI - current temp is 42 degrees and slowly rising. Won’t hit 60 degrees until June.
Local rivers are in the mid to high 30’s. They will warm up a little faster, but not much. Haven’t seen any casual boaters out yet - just us die-hards, but it won’t be long. Sunny and in the 50"s this week,
Ok. How about some good news? The guy who runs Northeast Surfing and funds the Nantasket surf cam (that helps me verified the quality of surf at the local break) survived his recent ordeal and will continue on!
Nantasket surf cam, monitoring one of the two breaks that often is often seen in my youtube videos:
We were out Sunday on a local river - sunny, temps in the high 50’s/low 60’s, but the water is still in the high 30’s/low 40’s. Wetsuits and drysuits for us.
As we were finishing up we past a couple who were paddling upstream from the reservoir at the bottom of the run. They were in bathing suits (it wasn’t that warm), no PFD’s, paddling rec. boats. They looked at us like we were nuts. I didn’t see anything in the paper, so I guess they made it back to the put-in.
Unfortunately for some, a near death experience is often required to bring bring someone around to understand mortality. We learn danger incrementally from the first day of birth; we learn to flaunt it as we get older. At some point, we value our remaining years more than the next adventure, and instead live vicariously through the adventures of other or by simply recounting past exploits.
In many ways, it matters less about what we experienced that what we leave to benefit others. If our foolish act ends our experience, hopefully it will either inspire or benefit someone. If you do that by not wearing a vest, then it isn’t a tragedy for anyone who gets the message in a public forum or a USCG public service bulletin. At least you leave your mark on the world, “So Others May Live!” Take care of yourself, especially if there is nobody else nearby to do it for you.