Monday, November 20, 2006

As Advertised
(Observations on taking a good dump)

All of us who flew in jet fighters went through ejection seat training. This included being shot up a set of railroad tracks while seated in an ejection seat mock up. The exercise gave us a feel (and it wasn't a comfy one) of just how violent an ejection would be and what we could expect to feel (I don't remember going up, just coming down the tracks and hurting evrywhere. I used to be 6'7" before that exercise...but I digress). The training must have been good because every time one of my pilots got shot down and had to eject and was rescued, each reported to me (as flight surgeon, I always got to interview them first, even before the base commander...but I digress again), "It worked just as advertised." In fact, the system never failled to work properly during the time I was there.

Jump ahead four decades, to yesterday even. I'm out with JB and Derrick (see pics on his site kayaking, and we're playing in the waves along shore. We try to surf, and that doesn't work. I spend most of the time just off shore taking waves on the beam (that's the side of the boat for you land lubbers). Sometime I catch foam and slide half way to the beach. Other times I luck into a breaker, maybe 2-3 feet high, and enjoy that great sensation of low bracing into it and coming up. Just before ending the outing, I got caught from behind by a wave I didn't see, and I was suddenly upside down.

First, I imagined yelling the Sh*T word (I'm submerged and the sand makes it too turbid to see let alone talk...but I digress yet again) and then started to plan my own rescue. The wave had me pinned against the fore deck, so I waited for the pressure to ease. As it did, I started to move my paddle to the set up position in preparation of wowing my buddies (and me) with a roll up in the surf in water that was now only about 2-3 foot deep. That's when the next wave spun the boat, and I (sans helmet) decided it was time to wet exit. So, as we used to say in the fighter planes, I punched out. And everything worked as advertised.

I had my paddle and I had my boat. And I kept the boat between me and the shore as the waves pushed us in. And I noticed something: I was warm and dry. My wet suit, along with all my training, etc, was working as advertised. The water temp was in the forties.

I'm still miffed that I didn't get to roll up, but glad everything went so well and so easily. Good equipment, taking care of it and good training pays off and helps one

Paddle safe...


No comments: