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2017 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: swimming  (Read 1156 times)

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lightfoot

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Well as a newbie to the ocean in a kayak I'll share my food for thought.  I attended the Simply Fishing event this weekend and went into the salt for the first time with my kayak.  I've bailed on a few other events in the recent past because I lacked a little bit of gear I felt I needed. 

I didn't really hook up with anybody at the event but wasn't exactly alone on the water either.  I believe somebody said there were 82 kayaks on the water.  At times I was within 20-30 yards of another member, and other times there was at least a couple hundred yards of separation.  I've read on here multiple times to never go alone.  With that said, I learned that proximity counts too.

There was a little concern about the water conditions and wind the morning of the event and I was a little bit nervous because of it.  I watched others launch and followed their lead on how to get into and out of the cove..ie wash rock on the left.  I paddled out and followed a small group as they exited the cove and headed North around the point and started fishing once I felt comfortable with my distance.  Being new to this, I had no desire to paddle into the unknown at this point.

I spent a lot of time keeping my kayak pointed towards the incoming swells.  Later, I started watching others and realized that nobody really seemed to pay much attention to the orientation of their kayak.  I'm just guessing, but looking back, I'm thinking orientation didn't mean oblivious.  I found, much to my enjoyment, that I bobbed like a cork even with some of the bigger sets.   I started to become complacent.   

Later in the morning when the wind picked up I decided to call it quits.  I had shifted sideways with my back towards the swell to lash my fishing pole down for the trip back into the cove and the landing.  With that mistake along with a large swell I soon found myself in the water for swimming lesson number one.  It took only seconds to get back into the kayak and right back over the other side for swimming lesson number two.  Once again, back into the kayak quickly but with a little snafu involving the paddle leash.  I was in the kayak but found my legs bound up with the leash.  I thought about just cutting it with my pilot knife but a check at the swell showed I had time to not rush things and the situation was quickly resolved.

I paid a lot of attention to the landmarks around the cove and the location of the wash rock on the paddle out.  Things certainly looked different on the paddle back in and I based my approach on watching somebody else a couple of hundred yards ahead of me.  I cleared the was rock just fine but ran into the complacent, rookie mistake thing again and soon had a swell pick up the back of my kayak, kick me to the side and into the water for my third swim. 

This time I found my kayak capsized, and like an idiot had never tried to right it in practice.  I was at the center of the kayak and tried to reach over the top to flip it a couple of times without success.  I feel that I'm in pretty decent shape but after only a minute or so I found myself already tiring.  I tried grabbing the scuppers to support myself and rest but that really didn't work very well.  I also noticed my paddle starting to drift away and drug the kayak with me the short distance to retrieve it.  At least I remembered to unhook it from the kayak and didn't get tangled in the damned thing.  At that point I was friggin tired and just laid back to rest.  I managed to right the kayak by moving to the front and turning it like an axle shaft.  I  got back into the kayak about the time another NCKA member had paddled out to assist.  Thank you, whoever you are.  With my paddle, net and empty water bottle recovered I was soon on the landing.  I have no idea why, but my rod and reel stayed in the kayak.  :)

Well for a first trip I think I learned a lot. 

As stated, the buddy system and not going alone but also proximity to those your'e with. 

Being comfortable with where you are at and the conditions doesn't have to mean being complacent. 

Stay within your comfort zone, even if it's a newbie oblivious one. 

Others might not have this issue but at my age and somewhat limited flexibility I found that reaching behind the seat for stuff results in a balance issue while in swells.

Getting my legs tangled in the paddle leash was unacceptable and I'll have to look other options.

I watched from the bluff and learned how others didn't get dumped on the ride in.

My drysuit with the neoprene neck gasket has a cord/lock to tighten it down for a reason.  I failed to tighten it and ended up completely wet on my third swim.  I was dressed underneath for immersion and never felt cold.

I would guess I was in the water for 3-5 minutes or so on my last swim session.  I was in and out very quickly the first two times and never noticed it but I found it hard to breath while floating in the water.  Perhaps a little bit of panic?  I never anticipated that sensation.

That last fiasco was in shallow water and relatively close to shore.  Without a lifejacket I feel pretty confident I would have sucked water right off the bat.  It would have gone south quick with lots of people close by but unable to assist.

I have the base for my sonar mounted but haven't been on the water with it yet.  I need to re-evaluate it's location based on my oh shit kayak re-entry.

I need to find a better attachment point for my radio.  I bought a NRS Chinook and carry only "oh shit" stuff in it for ease of self rescue but the radio is currently not into the water secure.

A whole bunch of stuff I haven't figured out yet.


« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 08:45:45 PM by lightfoot »
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crash

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Wow, thanks for the debrief.  Glad you are ok.

Reaching behind you is a pretty common spot for people to go on an unintended swim. 


Alfredo

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You learned a lot today. Glad it all turned out ok and you're safe.

Thanks for sharing.
Al


Mojo Jojo

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Glad you got the chance to experience all that's involved with the big blue without becoming a statistic, also glad your willing to share your experience so that other "fng's" (all in fun) can take a moment to reflect on what happened to you and then ask themselves " what am I going to do WHEN ( not if ) that's happens to me. My first ocean swim was a rookie mistake and it can be scary, not so bad when there are others on yaks around but the one thing that stuck in my head was looking at the beach thinking if I couldn't get back onboard, could I swim that far. Thanks for the share stay safe with the buddy system and keep at it.
Ps. I found it relatively easy to push my Big Tuna over from the side I was on, but 17 years packing trash I got a little upper body strength. 


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yakyakyak

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Glad you got the chance to experience all that's involved with the big blue without becoming a statistic, also glad your willing to share your experience so that other "fng's" (all in fun) can take a moment to reflect on what happened to you and then ask themselves " what am I going to do WHEN ( not if ) that's happens to me. My first ocean swim was a rookie mistake and it can be scary, not so bad when there are others on yaks around but the one thing that stuck in my head was looking at the beach thinking if I couldn't get back onboard, could I swim that far. Thanks for the share stay safe with the buddy system and keep at it.
Ps. I found it relatively easy to push my Big Tuna over from the side I was on, but 17 years packing trash I got a little upper body strength.

^^^^ This!  Thank you for sharing and most all, 'glad all is OK. 

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LoletaEric

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Welcome to the Madness.  :smt001
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NowhereMan

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I'm glad it all worked out. And, righting the kayak always seems like the hardest part when I practice self-rescue, so I'm not surprised that was difficult. Definitely something to practice...
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Chinclan

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Hey Lightfoot,

I noticed you live in Dixon same as me.  Want to go practice self rescue sometime?  I live over by Tremont School. 

Ben
 


lightfoot

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Ben, practice sounds good to me.  I'll touch bases later this evening, heading onto the jobsite for a long day.

Mojo , it never crossed my mind to push it over from my side versus reaching over and pulling.  I'll give it a shot.

I worked out a super simple rod retention system last night.  I still have to reach back but it's a quick one hand operation.  I'll try and post tonight or tomorrow
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Live2Fish

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Good story.   Good lesson.  I found during self rescue. Time in the water is critical.   That cold water saps ur strength fast.  Also make ur gear float.  Especially rods.   So u can pull them out of the rod holders while yak is upside down. During a practice session I had a rod holder breaK leaving a 3" hole in the kayak where rodholder used to be.  It could have been disastrous.  So I keep the inside of the yak stuffed with large pool noodles and hand bilge pump handy.   

Glad ur safe brother!


chattich

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Ben, practice sounds good to me.  I'll touch bases later this evening, heading onto the jobsite for a long day.

Mojo , it never crossed my mind to push it over from my side versus reaching over and pulling.  I'll give it a shot.

I worked out a super simple rod retention system last night.  I still have to reach back but it's a quick one hand operation.  I'll try and post tonight or tomorrow
Thanks for sharing your experience. As someone who has practiced self rescue but hasn't ventured out onto the Big Blue yethe myself, there was very useful info in your tale. Thanks !

Definitely give it a go trying to flip your kayak from the side. I paddle a wider, heavier kayak so its by far the easiest way to get that beast to roll. I find it easiest to reach under the boat and grab the far handle with one hand. As you pull that handle towards you, use the other hand to lift and push away the side of the kayak that's closest to you. It's nice as well because the boat flips away from you rather than possibly coming down on you.
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seabird

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This report should be required reading for FNGs like myself. It seems like you had made enough correct choices before going out (having immersion gear and a pfd mainly) that things worked out well for you. It could have easily turned out differently if you didn't have both of those, as you pointed out.

Kudos to you for putting yourself in a position to survive, even if it wasn't perfect. There are plenty of people (probably even some at the tournament) that weren't as prepared as you were.



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Thanks for sharing your experience and glad you are ok.
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I was dressed underneath for immersion and never felt cold.

DIR.

+1 on righting your kayak by reaching underneath and pulling the opposite side to you while pushing up on the near side to flip it upright. Provided you can reach that far, of course.
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StephKillsit

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Robert thank you for sharing your experience and it was great to see you!  I did hear on the radio that two people went over board at Simply and was wondering who they were. Your experience has taught me a lot too. I need to practice self rescue still, don't know why I take myself out there in just paddle pants and a life jacket. Definitely not a smart thing to do. I got to comfortable I guess, seeing as nothing has happened to me yet. IF you are down to get a group together and practice sometime I would love to do that. I am also going to dressing for immersion better, I ditched my wetsuit because it just felt so tight to have on and was a pain to put on and take off (but maybe that was because of too many beers in the past  :smt044 ). I used to go out solo on the big blue but I never could get used to the thought in the back of my mind that anything could happen and I would have no help. Even though I carry an ACR Beacon and Radio you just never know. That's what I love about this group. You are always around people and they are a good group!

Seems like you remained calm through it all and that is important, especially for being in the water three times and not to panicking. Wish we chatted more, but I know there was a lot going on!

Thanks again for sharing your story!
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 08:49:11 PM by StephKillsit »
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