Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kayaking: A Little Too Exciting!

The good news is that nobody got hurt, well at least not seriously.

It was a beautiful day for kayaking. We loaded the 4 kayaks onto Craig and Liz’s truck and headed off for Patagonia Lake State Park, about 60 miles southwest of Benson.


We launched the boats using one of the boat ramps and set out on a new adventure.


Don noticed a Blue Heron in the reeds. I got a great picture but the bird let me know his opinion of being photographed by taking off quickly and yelling loudly!


The water was calm and peaceful as we paddled under the pedestrian bridge to the main body of the lake.


Don was enjoying the peace and quiet.



Craig climbed out of his boat to go off in search of a geocache, which he quickly found.


I noticed one of the Coots seemed to be following Don.



As I got closer, the Coot turned around to face me and came close. He seemed to be looking for a handout, so he might have been fed by people and was hoping to get lucky again.



We saw several Cormorants in trees and on the lake.



When Liz floated by, the birds took off. Although our boats are quiet, I’m sure the wildlife is occasionally annoyed by our intrusion in their space.


Craig sure attracted lots of bovine attention!


We enjoyed our picnic lunch near the swimming beach.


After lunch, we decided to explore the west end of the lake, and headed toward the dam. Craig & Liz went off in search of another geocache, while Don and I leisurely paddled toward them and noticed a fellow with a sail on his kayak.


We caught up with Craig & Liz and were discussing their second successful cache find of the day, when Don looked back and saw the kayak/sail capsize when the wind got a little stronger. We all immediately headed toward him to help out.


That’s when things got a little too exciting. I moved alongside Craig to tie a rope to his kayak so he could tow the overturned kayak to land. I leaned over a little too far and was surprised to find myself in the water, too! It happened just that fast – one minute I was tying a perfect square knot, and the next I was totally wet!

I didn’t take any more pictures, and I didn’t even know if the ones I’ve posted would be retrievable from the memory card until later because the camera was totally submerged while still on a leash around my neck. Fortunately, my little Fujifilm waterproof camera really is waterproof! And my life vest did its job of keeping my head above the chilly water.

Don, Craig and Liz all worked to get Mark (the sailor/kayaker) and me to safety, asking a nearby power boat operator to come lend a hand as well. They found a rocky bank where we could climb out and start drying off, and got our boats emptied of water. Then we all paddled our way back to the dock. It was definitely time to call it a day, as the wind was growing stronger and the waves were big enough to cause problems when we had to paddle across the lake. A big wave horizontal to a kayak can easily tip it over.

Cold, still a little wet and shaky but not hypothermic, I was glad for a change of shirt on the lake (thanks, Craig), then my own dry shirt back at the truck, and some dry sandals. I changed in the restroom and was grateful for a blower hand dryer that I could stand next to for drying my quick-dry pants.

When we got home, I took a long hot shower and enjoyed green chile burritos that Liz made for dinner.

We took away some lessons from this experience. Always wear a life jacket when you’re going in a boat, keep the paddle on a leash attached to the boat, tie down or leash other items like cameras, sun block, water bottles and lunch packs, and don’t try to hang onto the boat after it has capsized. Some extra clothing, drinking water, and rope come in handy, too.

Don’s concern on the lake was first for my safety, but also whether this event would ruin kayaking for me. No, I’m looking forward to the next time, but will be wiser about trying to reach too far sideways!


  1. So glad everyone is okk
    ~Betty and Joe l

  2. Glad to hear you are okay -- dunking from a kayak is no fun!

    Aren't koots funny? Have you seen their feet? I swear they have clown feet!


  3. So glad you are okay. Those things can happens o fast and nothing you can do once you start to go over. Take care and stay warm (and dry!)

  4. Lessons learned and shared with other. Thanks! Glad you are ok and hope you are back on the water soon.

  5. We have lessons every year with our WIN's group on how to get back into a kayak after it flips. Knock wood so far we haven't used it, but do know that it doesn't pertain to a canoe. That just fills with water to the rails.

  6. I just discovered your blog, i love the picture of the cows!

    And I'm so glad you're all right and undaunted by the spill. Life happens, it's whatbwe do with it that counts.

  7. Glad you are ok and that it wasn't colder. Great photos!


  8. So glad you are okay and not put off by kayaking!

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  10. Great recap and lessons learned. Having all those "leashed" items, life jacket, back-up clothes, etc. was great. If Nick has a workshop on kayaking in Yuma, maybe you can share your experience.

  11. That is toooo exciting! You have to love those powerful dryers at Patagonia. I've never been in a kayak, but I have gotten my head wet outside of a canoe a couple times. Good your ok. Good lessons too. Thanks for sharing.

  12. How fun, up until it got exciting. But this will be a grand story to tell around a campfire. Glad you guys are none the worse for wear!

  13. Glad you survived the tipover ~ scary!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  14. Glad you made it safe and dry, and love your "never give up" attitude!! Enjoy your next trip too! Hugs!

  15. Sure glad you weren't kayaking in alligator territory!! Must have been quite a shock getting dumped into that cold water. Glad you're o.k. and ready to hit the water again.

  16. Auntie - I think you should stop hanging out with Craig. He's wild. Love to all critters in your future travel. XOX


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