Someone very near and dear to me
fell out of a kayak into a cold winter river
today, while basically diving for my friends $300 glasses that just fell in. Of course my camera was in my pocket and got soaked - more on that later. Well anyway my kayak girlfriend is moving to Alaska tomorrow so we went for a last hour and a half paddle on the Deschutes River here in Central Oregon, with snow along the bank in places, but not much current as the dam isn't letting any water out now, otherwise it might have been far worse. So Karen had teased me about my unfashionable kayak gear so I wore a pair of cotton sweat pants, a tee shirt, a thin jacket and Sorel boots.
My wet suit top and my kayak jacket and my goretex pants were in the back of the truck along with my helmet and the skirt for my kayak
. My life jacket was behind my seat.
There was no leash on my paddle that floated away, no flotation in my kayak that inverted and nearly sank then filled with mud later when I tried to drag it out of the river. It had so much mud in it that the mud had to be removed so it would float. Meanwhile the mud at the rivers edge that I was standing on was frozen on top but deep and soft if I broke through. Did I mention abandoning my kayak and holding onto the rear of Karens and kicking while she paddled toward the shore. She then caught my kayak but it took all her strength to get it to land 200 yards down stream. I of course had to walk down to it, pull it out and re-float it. Its a good thing I am in excellent shape.
So anyway I had no gloves, life vest, water proof bag, zip lock for wallet or camera, paddle leash, kayak skirt, kayak jacket, wet suit pants, neoprene booties, no leashes on our glasses, no flotation in the ends of the boat, and no emergency or survival gear. Fortunately it ws 65 degrees out, not sure of the river water - maybe 45.
Reminds me that the only time I ever got hit by a rock climbing, my helmet was safely in the back of my truck 500 feet below me.