Friday, July 9, 2010

If Your Boat Don't Float....


To catch the world up here's the skinny about our departure day...

On June 26th at approximately 9 am Luke and I paddled our handmade skin on frame kayaks into Lake Superior. By 9:30 Lake Superior was slowly swallowing our kayaks.

We paddled out from under the Aerial Lift Bridge in Duluth, Minnesota after a fond farewell and a bit of media attention from Fox 21 news. In the canal under the bridge we were met with medium size rebound waves. Nothing two experienced kayakers and guides should fear. So why the stern look of such concentration on our faces? Hold tight, we'll get to that later.

Free from the canal and our nightmare of flipping upside down in the middle of it we entered Lake Superior proper. About a half an hour later I make a off hand comment to Luke about the fact that when I farted I made bubbles and I believe I've got some water coming into the cockpit of my kayak. Luke's response was straight to the point, "Yeah! Me too!"

So we paddled to each other and rafted up. Luke was worse off than I and when I looked at the rear of his kayak I informed him that his entire stern was under water. We were about a quarter mile from shore and made the quick and easy decision to make an emergency landing in Canal Park, the only beach within reach.

After stopping to raft up and pump the water from our leaky boats four times we finally made the beach.

Safe, we extended out stay at the hotel that we stayed at the night before and began problem solving. The next three days we spent fixing the leaking bulkheads and hatch covers. Once that was solved we still had a major decision to make. Our kayaks required so much concentration to keep upright that neither Luke or I felt like we could take a drink of water, eat a snack or film without first rafting up for stability. Thus, the look of pure concentration in the canal.

The fact of the matter is this: Lake Superior kills the ill-prepared.

Our dream was to see the entire shoreline from a kayak. The icing on this particular cake was going to be that the kayaks were crafts that we made. As it turns out, the crafts we built were not suited for this type of adventure, and we made the call after much deliberation to find suitable crafts to fulfill our dream.

After one phone call we had our new, to us anyway, Perception kayaks. Because it was so easy to acquire these new boats only reinforced the idea that we made the right call. It's good to know the universe supports you.

Our Superior Dream changed shape a bit, as often dreams do in the middle of the night. But, it is still the same dream, same challenge, same adventure.

Paddle On!


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