Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

My First Kayak Outing of the Year Proves to Be an Adventure!


Eager to get out in our kayaks for the first paddle of the year, my mate Kev and I headed to Elk Island this morning. It was gorgeous and warm, but there were still massive chunks/sheets of ice all over the lake. Anyway, we were about 15 minutes out when we were separated by a massive sheet of ice that spanned a considerable distance, and on my side I was coming up to a dead end. The ice was about 20 cm thick, and there was a long crack that looked fresh at one point, that we figured is had been recently just cut by a couple of canoeists we had seen take off in the same direction as we were preparing to put in...

So, I began to cut through this crevice, got halfway through when something happened to cause me to shift too far to starboard, which resulted in the water flooding over my gunwale and submersing my kayak under the water, lurching me overboard and toward the bottom of the lake, beneath the ice.

At this point I recall thinking firstly, I can't believe that this is happening - I have never capsized accidentally. The next thing was the shock of the water and the sensation of one of my shoes being sucked off by the water rushing in and my body rolling out. It was only about 25 m from the shore of an Island in the lake, but I am not a very good swimmer and I stupidly did not want to abandon my stuff. So I swam for it, pulling my submerged kayak and paddle in one hand, having the presence of mind to think "my wife is going to kill me for wrecking her camera", so I attempted to perch that over my shoulder (my cell is now dead as it was in a water resistant, but not water tight bum-bag, along with my wallet, etc.), and pushed forward. It took me between 3-4 minutes to make land. My partner was frantically making his way back the way we came in an effort to circumvent the sheet of ice so that he could reach me).

When I finally did reach shore - adrenalin pumping - I noticed that my left hand and knee were bloodied, caused by impacting the ice as I rolled out. Nothing major. My life vest was the main hero in all of this as it is what prevented me from submerging under the ice by making my buoyant and lessening the distance my body plunged. I was also freezing.

This is where my lesson in complacency and dumb luck can be reflected on. Never having, nor planning, to capsize on this day, I should have waterproofed my stuff better. Also, though we had contemplated bringing a few survival tools with us such as a flint, etc., we got lazy and that could have cost us. I should have know better with my training, and my partner was miffed at himself for his complacently in planning as well.

The weather was our greatest ally as it was a beautiful, sunny day. The wind did begin to pick up considerably, making the trip back a wee bit rough, but it could have been much worse. Also, the fact that this all transpired 15 minutes out as opposed to an hour or two, makes one feel a tad lucky!

In the end, I've got a few scrapes, have chills (either a smidge of hypothermia or a mild bit of shock), and I'm feeling that post adrenalin crash that makes you want to sleep. My stomach is also pretty queasy and I've got a smashing headache. I feel bad as my wife, daughter and I were supposed to go on a picnic with some friends this evening, and I've ended up staying home and told them to go on without me. Oh well, I'm still living and moments like this, as dark as it may sound, really does make you feel alive and like you... well... survived. Not something I care to experience on a regular basis, but it is a good kick in the pants!

...and as an end note, my wife was more upset about what had happened to me than her camera. I'm certain she's looking forward to getting a new one!

...and as for my new cell phone (my first one and less than a month old!)... I guess I'll have to let my friends know when I get a new one!

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4 Comments:

  • At 6:27 PM , Blogger Catvibe said...

    Yikes! So are you going to go paddling again anytime soon?

     
  • At 9:24 PM , Blogger Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

    Definitely! It's like any physical activity and you have to assume the risks. Having been in the Navy, a Correctional Officer and Rugby player, I have experienced some pretty wild situations and pretty nasty injuries. It's like falling off a bike - you get back on and keep going! Today was a wake-up that one needs to be prepared and to become complacent can be fatal. Life is about living and doing the things you really enjoy - carpe diem! :)

     
  • At 4:27 AM , Blogger Catvibe said...

    Good because Kayaking is awesome. I've done a little. I went with an outfitting group on a kayak trip along the NaPali coast in Kauai, that was amazing. And a few times in the Monterey Bay in California, which is like a meditative experience in the early morning. Blissful. But yeah, it seems to me that on one of my experiences we got to the docs without something key, like a lifejacket, I can't remember. We went out anyway, and nothing happened, but your complacency warning is a good reminder. I'm so glad you didn't get stuck under the ice.

     
  • At 11:15 AM , Blogger Minister of the Masochistic Truth said...

    That sounds like an awesome trip Cat! I love the San Diego region - hope to go there again and rent a boat...

    I guess I need to curb my enthusiasm. It was a gorgeous day Sunday with an incredible array of birds (swans, cranes, ducks, loons, etc.) on the lake, herds of bison along the shoreline and in the flats + saw a coyote and porcupine...

    It's hard to resist the call of the wild after a harsh, long winter...

     

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