Monday, August 24, 2009

Pelicans and the Great Get-Off

Yesterday was a pretty nice day outside, and seeing as how I had not gone kayaking for a while, I set out to. The 15 footer does not fit well in the back of my truck, and I intended to go south, in the canals, so I loaded up the 10 footer and headed down to Pep Boys to splash [there's a small floating dock that you can get into a canoe or kayak easily from - Derek has been there.]

The ten footer is a Pelican Pursuit. Plastic, injection molded, fairly light - around 40 pounds. Nice beginner and utility boat, nowhere near as fast as my other boat, but just the thing for a leisurely paddle. Pelican also makes plastic watertight cases, and they are awesome! I will explain why presently.

I wanted to head down the canal and get out at the dock on Princess Anne Road, where Nikki and I first kayaked together, back in December. Nikki was not along for this trip; we have broken up. I wish her great good fortune, but we are not currently kayaking together. It's about seven and a half miles, and I went with the current as we had just passed low tide and the flood was on. Nice, relaxing ride, and I did not tax myself overly.

South of Dam Neck Road, there is an awful lot of debris in the canals. Sadly, Virginia Beach does little to maintain their waterways [one feeder canal has a water pipe going across from one side to the other, about two feet above the water's surface!! Gotta go around....] At one point, there was a collection of several logs and branches, and much assorted other crap. Next thing I knew, the boat was rolling severely to the left. Sadly, no photographic record exists, for I surely wore a priceless look as I slid into the [dirty, smelly] water. No kidding, the boat was submerged most of the way with it's bow straight up in the air! [In retrospect, I think that my paddle lanyard, which is on my left, got tangled and somehow upset the apple cart. I've replayed it in my mind several times, but this incident did not unfold in slow motion!]

I clung to the log and managed to free my boat and laboriously get it to the bank. My paddle was tethered, so it came along for the ride. Whew! Getting the boat up the bank was quite an undertaking as it contained a lot of water. Note to self in the [hopefully unlikely] event that it happens again: Drag the boat out stern first. A Pelican Pursuit has a nice drain plug in the stern, but none in the bow. Tired [heavy!]. Wet and in a bad mood. My aqua shoes are great for water, but the soles allow sticks and stones to annoy the soles of my feet. Bugs. My hydration backpack has floated about ten feet down stream and lodged against the bank, so I used my paddle to hook it through one of the arm straps and retrieve it, setting it next to my boat.

All the while, I saw my Pelican Case floating along with the current. This is actually good news, for it contains my wallet and Blackberry phone. Thank goodness it did not sink!! Anyway, the Pelican case is wonderfully watertight and floats - mine cost $12, if I remember correctly. So, I take my paddle along and go off walking along the shore. About 200 yards away, there is a small feeder canal, which I have to cross in order to keep going. There's a log stretched across, so I walk across it, using my paddle kinda like a gondola pole. You guessed it - it the middle, I lose my balance and fall into the canal. Great. Keep walking. About 100 yards ahead there is another collection of logs and branches, stretched across the main canal. Sure enough, there it is. My Pelican Case is resting against a log. Near the far side of the canal, maybe twenty feet out. Too deep to wade out [maybe eight feet?]. So, back to the boat, managing not to submerge or tip whilst going over the bank into the water [Thank you, Lord!]. Down to the logpile, and unceremoniously snag my case. My wallet and phone are dry. Seriously, get a Pelican case. Get a Pelican boat, too - good stuff!

I decide to head back [in retrospect, Princess Anne Road is only a half-mile ahead, but I had expended a lot of energy and wasn't overly clear-headed, and I stand by that decision]. Getting back through the logjam where I had rolled was a nervous moment, but went without incident. By the way, I had not mentioned it, but I always wear my PFD [life vest] when in the boat. I am sure one might point out many errors in my narrative, but going without my PFD is not one of them. I won't drive without wearing my seatbelt, and I won't kayak without my PFD. On the way back, I have to fight the current for a while, but once high tide has passed, eventually the current favors me again.

Yes, I am tired and stiff [and sore!] - after all, it was a 14 mile journey. But, a good workout and a good experience. The mud, leaves, sticks and smelly stuff all washed away nicely. No injuries, no equipment damage, and nothing lost. Whew! A good day, all in all. I consider it fun. [and, yes, I'll be kayaking again. Soon!]


Pelican Cases said...

This post is the perfect example of the great features and capabilities that are provided through the purchase of any pelican case. It even reminds me of a possible testimony on behalf of a satisfied Pelican customer. Not only is it a great story, but I also want to go Kayaking now too (something I have never experienced).Best of wishes with the sport and I can't wait to hear about the next adventure.

Charles L. Wallace said...

Thank you, PC. I swear by Pelican products, both at work [protecting sensitive electronic gear from the elements at sea] and at home.

It HAS been difficult to schedule kayak outings recently [it's football season, and the baseball pennant races and playoffs have been going on!]. I can hardly believe it has been two months since I have gone out!

Tomorrow, I am going out on the same canal as the one I mentioned in this posting. I'll be using my Pelican Pursuit 100 [it's a whole lot easier to haul around than the 15 footer!] which, by the way, is the perfect kayak to begin kayaking in. Stable and inexpensive, and adjustable to differently sized people. I highly recommend it. :-)