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Old 02-03-2011, 02:30 PM   #251
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Wevrick View Post
My wife and I are in this book:



(Swamped our canoe in a rapid in the middle of nowhere in northern Quebec)
Sweet! Can you post the story?
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:36 PM   #252
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This is my wife's original version; it was edited a bit for the book:

Swamping on the Swampy Bay River, Quebec

The Swampy Bay-Caniapiscau-Koksoak River trip is a marvelous canoe trip because the scenery changes constantly on the journey north from the Swampy Bay's headwaters near Schefferville to the mouth of the Koksoak at Ungava Bay. There are several breathtaking waterfalls and one is unlikely to meet other canoeists on the route. It is a tough trip because there are many sets of challenging rapids and the portages are very rough. The Swampy Bay follows a sheltered valley and the trees (hence deadfall) and bushes are thicker than at the same latitudes elsewhere. There aren't any portage trails in that part of the country. In the summer of 1999 we spent a month on the river. We took a folding canoe (PakCanoe) to avoid many logistical hassles. The PakCanoe handles quite unlike any rigid canoe, mostly because it flexes in the water going over waves.

It was about half way through our month-long canoe trip and we had just completed an incredibly tough portage. There were thick bushes and deadfall everywhere within 50 feet of the river and the only way around the rapid was up a very steep hill and then back down. The deadfall looked like huge pickup sticks because the logs were often a few deep; this involved climbing over them. The PakCanoe was irritating to portage because it kept flexing and catching on things and hence used up many minor back muscles. My back was sore, even though the canoe was only 50 lbs (at least 30 lbs lighter than the Tripper which I am used to carrying). The next rapid was fairly long. We looked at the rapid from the top, but didn't scout the whole thing. I used my binoculars to scout-bad idea and something I don't usually rely on. I did notice a line of white (i.e. a ledge) which should have set alarm bells off as it was visible from quite a distance. The canoe was new and we couldn't test it at home because the shallow and rocky rivers there would have damaged it. A combination of these last two points could be a recipe for disaster. The rapid was much more pushy and more technical than we had expected. It required all of our concentration to maneuver the fully loaded boat. Mike was in the front; I was in back. We usually choose these positions for technical, low volume rapids, because Mike has quicker reflexes and better eyesight. But because he is much heavier we avoid this arrangement for high volume rapids. The rapid was fast and there was a nonstop progression of large boulders we had to maneuver around. Still, it was nothing we hadn't done before. Almost immediately we went through a small hole and a wave came over the bow. The weight of the water plus Mike's weight held the front of the boat down compared to the back. The next wave across the bow filled the front part of the canoe. Because of the lack of rigidity of the canoe I had no idea only Mike in the bow was swamping! Mike looked back at me (something he never does in rapids) with a look on his face I have only seen twice before (once when we were trapped in a forest fire and almost died) but I didn't know what was wrong. Next thing I knew he was in the water and my end of the boat filled with water. This particular rapids had huge boulders (7 or 8 feet high) with deep water (6 to 9 feet) in between. We were moving down fast, in the middle of a river which was at this point about 30-40 feet wide. We had to hold onto the back of the canoe to try to guide it to the main shoreline without letting it broach-a disaster for such a fragile canoe. The salesperson claimed it could still be patched up even if shredded from wrapping-but somehow I doubt it. Even taking a breather resting against a boulder was a bad idea because of potential damage.

Kira, our dog, was standing on top of a pack in the swamped canoe, not sure what to do. Near a boulder I grabbed her lifejacket handle and lifted her onto a boulder. She started barking wildly, afraid we were abandoning her in the middle of a long, fierce rapid. What a place! I wonder what was going through her mind when she saw us moving downstream quickly and realized there was only one alternative-jumping into the froth. Usually we leave Kira to run on shore for tough rapids, and she meets us at the bottom. At this point, she was the least of our worries, because she knows how to swim in rapids and her excellent lifejacket provided much needed floatation.

When we got to shore I asked Mike if he was ok. We were both fine. It seemed like just another lunch stop, only our clothes were wet. After a hot lunch we moved on to portage what remained of the rapid. After more climbing over deadfall and breaking through a thick wall of willows to reach the river again we were exhausted. The long swim and tension in the water had totally worn us out even though we weren't outwardly perturbed in any way by the mishap. We camped right then and there; that's the nice thing about traveling with just two people and a small tent.

Aftermath.
Nothing inside a pack got wet and we didn't lose anything, which was a good test of our packing strategy. We didn't even have anything tied into the canoe as we were afraid of floating packs tearing the vinyl boat to shreds. Luckily the water and air were relatively warm (both 60F?), but we were very well dressed (I was in one layer of poly pro, one of wool, and one of Gortex.)

What did we do wrong? We failed to scout because we were just feeling lazy and the portaging was extremely rough because of deadfall and continuous coverage thick bushes. There are no portage trails in this kind of country and caribou trails go in random, wrong directions. We had become complacent about rapids and had ignored telltale signs (such as a ledge and big waves) in a type of rapid we had paddled many times before. After the swamping we weren't at all scared, after all we have swamped and dumped many times before back home in hot summer weather while practicing on a local river. Paddling with just one boat means we should take little risk but we somehow ignored our usual rules (scout any questionable rapid in its entirety, the conservative opinion wins, etc.). Most importantly we had failed to test our new boat in a way to understand its limits.

We had no fear immediately after the swamping, but the event actually affected me quite deeply. I immediately acquired a strong aversion to paddling anything more than a class I, especially on cold (40 F) rainy mornings and those to find a portage just before a falls. Finally about 4 days later on a very dark overcast day we were just starting about the 5th portage of the day when Mike refused to go on. He said he was going to paddle the canoe and if I wasn't going to join him I would have to carry the packs myself (he couldn't solo with the canoe fully loaded). I was very scared and didn't want to paddle the rapids. But, the portage option seemed worse: totally dense (even more dense than before) brush with lots of deadfall. I paddled. As soon as we were in the big waves I enjoyed it-it was a blast! Big waves but no rocks, and the only obstacle was a wall we had to avoid by serious backferrying. I like to think the subconscious manifestation of our first swamping on a Northern river has left a scar on me so that I won't become complacent again. But, we'll see.

Sara Seager (and Mike Wevrick)
(published in Up the creek: true stories of canoeists in trouble, edited by Doug McKown)
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Old 02-03-2011, 03:53 PM   #253
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Koksoak

Seriously though, mad story! Your wife seems VERY cool...and tough! Yourself as well.

Scary stuff out in the "No one around for miles to hear you scream" wilderness when things go wrong.

I take it the canoe survived?
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:32 PM   #254
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Here's the interesting thing, though. Most of the old-school fishermen who I grew up with were some of the worst when it came to safety. They'd only do the bare minimum to be compliant with USCG regs, if that.

.
USCG compliancy is a sore topic in my family as well. Safety things though, different story.

Details like keeping the lines neat, schooling newbs on where NOT to be when the gear is running out, Epirbs checked and maintained, backup radar gear, engine maintenance, pump maintenance, spare parts etc was all priority, even over the fishing gear. When my Uncle became a Captain he required everyone on the crew to have a survival suit. It was their choice to have one or not, but if they did not they did not sail.

To each his own. That's one thing I really like about kayaking is that each person is repsonsible for their own gear and person.

I suppose I should encourage unsafe paddling because then when someone dies I can get a good deal on their used stuff!
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Old 02-03-2011, 05:06 PM   #255
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Originally Posted by boxxxer View Post
Scary stuff out in the "No one around for miles to hear you scream" wilderness when things go wrong.

I take it the canoe survived?
Being almost asphixiated (sp?) by a forest fire (on a different trip) was scarier.

Yes, the canoe survived although we had put on on quite a few patches. It is one of these: pakboats.com



The skin is just a rubberized heavy synthetic "canvas"
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Old 02-03-2011, 06:20 PM   #256
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Being almost asphixiated (sp?) by a forest fire (on a different trip) was scarier.

Yes, the canoe survived although we had put on on quite a few patches. It is one of these: pakboats.com



The skin is just a rubberized heavy synthetic "canvas"
I believe Hans Lindeman did his two solo trans Atlantics in a kayak version of that style boat. A Folbot I believe it was. Sturdy boat!

Edit: It was a Klepper....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hannes_Lindemann




You are a lucky man to have a wife that will go with you on those types of trips. Best I can get my wife to do is camping in New Hampshire at standard family campsites with day trips on lakes like NewFound lake.

Last edited by boxxxer; 02-03-2011 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:28 PM   #257
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^^Our first big trip together was her idea: 2 months mostly in the "Barren Lands" northwest of Hudson's Bay. That was 17 years ago and we are still together
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:06 PM   #258
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Old 02-04-2011, 03:22 PM   #259
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I finally caught up to the end of this thread. I have the barge to end all barges: Pelican 130T. It's 13 feet long and 35" wide - it's pretty stable but not so much that I feel comfortable standing up in open water.

I bought the tandem thinking I'd prefer not to be alone on the water, but I'm still trying to get my wife hooked on fishing. I think I went on 7 excursions my first year and am waiting for this weather to break in Houston so I can get back out on the water. I can paddle and handle it by myself, but two people make it a little easier.
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:20 PM   #260
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So what separates an inexpensive kayak from a more expensive one?

I want a fishing kayak (so I'll likely buy a SOT for ease of dismounting, wading, and then mounting again) to use mostly on lakes with some use on relatively slow moving (less than 1mph) rivers. People online seem to drool over the Tarpon 160 (16', 28" beam, 72 lbs, polyethylene hull) by Wilderness Systems with a street price around $1,050:



Gander Mountain seems to have a Tarpon 160 copy-cat. Its a Castaway 150 (15', 28" beam, 75 lbs, RAM-X hull) by Pelican with a street price around $675.



I can't see the one that's 35% less expensive being that much different based on the specs. Do more expensive kayaks usually have better seats, ergonomics, customer service, etc?
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Old 03-12-2011, 02:58 PM   #261
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I can't see the one that's 35% less expensive being that much different based on the specs. Do more expensive kayaks usually have better seats, ergonomics, customer service, etc?
The seating is definitely better on the Tarpon, which can be an issue on long paddles. I've got a Wilderness Systems and the seating is very nice compared to the less expensive kayaks I've used. Also the more expensive kayaks tend to track better, (better hull shape, or a drop-down skeg or rudder.) so you paddle more efficiently.

A great site for reviews is Paddling.net
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Old 03-12-2011, 06:25 PM   #262
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A friend and I are paddling 11mi each way to an island in the Chesapeake Bay this summer. Water temps will be in the mid 70s by that time. We're only bringing with us necessary items to camp, like a tent, sleeping back, fishing rod, bait, water, tinder, sunblock, bug spray. If we don't catch food, we aren't eating for two days. Should be fun!
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Old 03-12-2011, 07:19 PM   #263
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I am thinking about ordering this Advanced Elements inflatable kayak from amazon.com:

http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Elements-AdvancedFrame-Inflatable-Kayak/dp/B000J2Q0C6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=sporting-goods&qid=1299975506&sr=8-1

Would this be a good kayak for a beginner? Unfortunately, I have no means of transporting hard shell kayak (no space), so inflatable kayak is the only option I have.

Thanks,
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Old 03-12-2011, 08:19 PM   #264
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If we don't catch food, we aren't eating for two days. Should be fun!
At least bring some instant coffee and granola bars
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Old 03-12-2011, 09:45 PM   #265
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I went fishing at Fayette County Lake today for about 6 hours with a buddy. Pulled in 5 largemouth bass 13-17 inches, he got none. Dang rookies!

We paddled about a couple of miles, some into 3 foot chop and wind. He's not much of an athlete, so I usually just have him stow the paddle and let me be the engine.

Beautiful day to be in Texas!
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Old 03-14-2011, 09:50 AM   #266
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At least bring some instant coffee and granola bars
Nope, that's part of the allure of the trip. I want to leave all types of the comforts of home behind, within reason. I guess it wouldn't hurt to bring breakfast food, probably not crazy about eating fish for breakfast.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:47 AM   #267
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So what separates an inexpensive kayak from a more expensive one?


I can't see the one that's 35% less expensive being that much different based on the specs. Do more expensive kayaks usually have better seats, ergonomics, customer service, etc?
Kayaks are really you get what you pay. I've been selling Tarpon 160s for almost 7 years now and its a great all around boat for sure. Yes, the tarpon has an amazing seat (Wilderness Systems has amazing seats all around). They also have great customer service as well. If you're looking for a kayak that you will buy once and never upgrade from or have to worry about anything withI'd go with the Wildy Tarpon 160.

Compared to that other kayak youre looking at, the Tarpon definitely has a seating system that is 10000000 times better then that other one. The difference in seats alone is the difference between being comfortable for a few hours or a few minutes. Also, many boats seem to have the same specs but will react completely differently once in the water. From personal experience I can definitely tell you that the Tarpon 160 is worth every penny as a fishing boat.
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Old 03-18-2011, 12:52 PM   #268
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To be completely honest with seating, That Wilderness System seat feels more comfortable than the seat in my much more expensive Riot Tourlite 15 kayak. The Riot seat is pretty amazing, but Wilderness System seems to have got things just right with that seat, and I have a 36" waist, which is on the higher end of who they design the seats to fit.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:05 PM   #269
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Anyone tried paddleboarding? I'm on the fence.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:19 PM   #270
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I'm starting to plan a 40 to 60 mile trip on Lake Superior with a few buddies this summer. I want to do Munising to Grand Marais and possibly farther to the mouth of the Two-Hearted River. I want to try to make this a 4 to 6 day trip.

I'm looking for other options as well, as Lake Superior has some odd weather patterns.
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:59 PM   #271
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Anyone tried paddleboarding? I'm on the fence.
Have friends that surf with them and been out in the ocean twice on one. I wouldn't mind getting one, it's a different experience. They are out of my price range right now but something I am definitely interested in. Difficult at first to find a comfortable stance and rhythm but after I got settled, confident and comfortable it was a blast.
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Old 03-21-2011, 06:00 PM   #272
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I still really want a tandem kayak.
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Old 03-31-2011, 08:16 PM   #273
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I've narrowed my kayak choices down to two (although that could expand at any time).

I've found out that the Perception Sport Pescador, sold at big box stores for $550, is actually the last generation Tarpon 120. Wilderness Systems and Perception are owned by the same parent company, and they decided to re-badge the previous gen Tarpon as a Perception. I do not know if it has the Wilderness Systems seat that everyone raves about



The other kayak I've been looking at is the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13.



Both cost about the same.

Pescador advantages
Includes a seat (add on cost for prowler)
Should be more maneuverable (12' vs 13'4" Prowler)
Fit and finish looks better
Moveable vs. molded foot pegs on the Prowler? How much of a difference does that make?

Prowler advantages
Longer by 1'4" (should be faster and track better, both have a 28" beam)
Lighter by six pounds


Here's a little about me and my planned use. I'm a light guy (155 lbs) with a 32" waist, so I don't want something that's built for fat asses. First and foremost this kayak will be for fishing on medium sized lakes and lazy rivers, although two annual fishing trips to the Chesapeake Bay or Great Lakes is possible. I'll use the boat mostly for fishing, but I might want to do some overnight camping trips once or twice a year.
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Old 05-08-2011, 11:54 PM   #274
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So can anyone recommend me a drytop and base layer thats good for summer kayaking (touring, open water trips)?? I haven't had any luck with UnderArmor (seams cut into my arms and are very annoying, does not seem to wick water away right).

I have all my cold weather stuff good to go but the summers are getting pretty dam hot in NY and I need a setup that I can comfortably wear for a trip a few miles long in a very hot and humid spray skirted fiberglass boat.
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Old 05-09-2011, 12:08 AM   #275
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A drytop for summer paddling? How warm is it going to be? If it is warm, and you aren't planning on taking a swim, and you aren't doing some 30 mile open ocean crossing in rough water by yourself, that seems a tad bit like overkill to me.
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