Danger lurks where you least expect it.

25 Nov

rjimlad kayaking 

Since it was a brilliant summer day (apologies to paddling brethren in North America and UK) and the kids were bored stupid, we took them for a swim to our local marine playground, Marks Point. Since it has been ages since Sam has been in her boat it was a good opportunity to have a paddle and practice some basics.

The water was crystal clear and flat as a tack. Plenty of boats and people enjoying themselves. We got the boats in and paddled about, edging and bracing and just bumming around the islands while the kids swam. Now, Marks Point is just inside Swansea Channel which feeds Lake Macquarie and when the tide runs out it can move deceptively quick. I thought I would do some recovery practice and the second I rolled Eco over, the current dragged me out of the cockpit and within a second I was separated from the boat and being dragged away. Sam had to come about to stop me drifting out into the channel. I grew up in this area and spent my youth in the surf clubs riding skis and being all bronzed and lifesavery so I didn’t have my pfd on. STUPID. I’m not in my youth. In fact, I am 44 year old fat bastard who would succumb to exhaustion out in the channel if I couldn’t get to shore. Even with a foothold, the current made it impossible to stand. Fortunately, Sam’s assisted rescue was done pretty well and I spent some moments of contemplation in Eco pondering hidden dangers. We practiced some more assisted rescues but the energy I used on these recoveries had me totally buggered for the rest of the day and even as I write this, a day after, I am still tired.

Later, as we were packing up, some kids became separated from their inflatable boat and within a second were 50m away and in trouble. Fortunately, there were stacks of boats to pick them up but the current was playing havoc on anyone in the water. The trap is in the surface water which appears calm and fun to play in. It’s also very shallow in most places with clear, clean sand all along the bottom so it looks like the perfect Australian water park. It is if you’re careful and know how to read the conditions. Next time my pfd will be on. 

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Posted by on November 25, 2007 in Kayaking Rants and Raves


2 responses to “Danger lurks where you least expect it.

  1. Douglas Wilcox

    November 26, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Hello Brad, a valuable lesson. Yes we envy your sun. Our problem with sun is we see it so infrequently that we start shedding layers of clothes with the first blink of sun. Our problem is cold water, especially on a hot sunny spring day.

    It’s not just BAs we need we need thermal protection as well. There have been 5 or 6 kayaking deaths on the Scottish seas this year and I think cold water was a significant factor in each.

  2. rjimlad

    November 26, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    I’ve never paddled really cold conditions as we only get them in Oz around Tasmania. Even deep winter, June-Aug here, you blokes would laugh at us as water temperature gets down to 11-12 degrees in most places. In a plastic boat in summer you can fry above the cockpit and boil below. Heatstroke and dehydration are big issues here.


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