Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lessons Learned/Re-Learned
Winter Paddling
I've often shown the view above on this site, and it is obvious that winter has begun here. Last Sunday I went to meet the group for coffee and took this shot of Sweet Sue as she came ashore all iced over.A few of the paddlers assumed she had splashed a lot and that that explained all the ice. Maybe so. Maybe not. I went out alone yesterday (dry suit back from Kokatat, but I digress) in perfectly calm water and returned in a similar state of mimicking a Popsicle. There were some problems of which I was unaware while on the water; problems that could have been a real danger to me:

1. My short tow line was iced shut. I could not get it open until I had the boat in the garage and things thawed out.

2. The quick release on my long tow (which I carry around my waist) was also frozen. Had I towed someone and had to make an emergency release......oh, well.

3. The plastic closures on my pfd were frozen, and I was unable to get the radio out until I got home and thawed the vest. Had I gone over and been unable to get back in (or lost the boat) I would not have been able to broadcast a may day. All this, moind you, without ever being so much as sprayed with lake water.

I need to remember the added dangers of winter paddling--especially alone--and reassess my solo outings. Just look what the ice did to JB's boat.Or, maybe it was just glad to see Sweet Sue.

Paddle safe...


JohnB said...

LOL!!! It (my toggle line) could have been windy too.

Actually, given that the air temp is colder than the water temp, and the water isn't below freezing, if you were to fall in/out and couldn't get back in, the "warm" water would make quick work of thawing all of your exposed frozen fittings. Sorta like thawing a frozen turkey by submersion in cold water--and in this case you be the turkey!

Michael said...

Right on John! Ancient Inuit water trick when out hunting, works every time. Of course, it helps when the hunter avoids gear that will jam when frozen. For example, use spring carbiners which won't freeze like the locking ones.

Captn O Dark 30 and Super Boo said...

I resemble that comment!!

Silbs said...

Good points. Leslie e mailed the very same idea. Actually, when I used by spare split, it was iced until I got the blades submerged.

steve said...

ice is best in scotch,
cant imagine such cold temperatures.
We think its cold when the water gets to a min of 16c in winter.
Youre all invited to spend winter with us here

Silbs said...

Steve, we've talked about it. I know my daughter (a citizen) would jump at the chance to return.