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Dumping Your Canoe on Rapids

by  Jim Baird

Okay, well, we got another big rapid here. Seems the lower portion of the rapids section on the Kesagami has got a lot of bigger water, tougher rapids, and with all the rain we've been having, we got some huge action going on here. Check this out. I'm gonna be running this one, too. Can't wait. I'm gonna hit this one right about there. Okay? And that's sort of where the tongue is, where the water's pushing through. And then I'm going to do whatever I can to get left, so I don't take in too much water. But it should be a wild ride.So, that last rapid didn't work out so well. Meant to hit the tongue, hit it way too far right, immediately dumped me, washed down the rapid, managed to swim a little bit, slow up, wait for my canoe, grabbed the throw bag and tow it to shore before it went down the next drop right behind me. Which would have sucked. A lot of people think, "Oh, why do you need a throw bag if you're soloing?" Well, it's because you clip the long rope part of the throw bag to the canoe and then if you dump, you grab the bag and you swim to shore. If I didn't have this, I wouldn't have been able to swing the canoe into an eddy.

It's a spectra rope, I think it's a 60 or 70 foot throw bag, made by North Water. Saved my butt today. It was kind of scary. So, a little bit humiliating, a little bit of a wake up call, little bit more respect for the river needed. Especially when I'm out here by myself. But actually, you know, the way that dumpings go, it wasn't that bad. The water's high, which makes it intense, it makes the waves big, but it sinks the rocks pretty deep. And a nice, big eddy on the left. More than enough time for me to pull over and bail, which is what I did. So, lesson learned. Try not to dump again.

This video is Episode #12 of a great series by Adventurer Jim Baird that follows him on his solo journey down the Kesagami River in Northern Ontario.

More of this video series is available here: Field & Stream

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