I apologize because I am sure this has been discussed somewhere else on the board but I must have missed it. I stumbled on this video of a kayak found by the coast guard on Feb 28 after the owner did not return.
I first want to say my thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and I am only posting this in hopes that we can all learn from the incident and prevent future accidents. I do not want this post to turn into verbally bashing this person. Obviously he made a mistake and paid the ultimate price. Believe me I have made many mistakes and bad judgement calls, so I am not here to judge, but passing this on in hopes it will cause us to think twice before we go beyond our limits.
What really grabbed me is the first thing I saw in the video was that he had a paddle leash attached, and paddle floats deployed. At the end you can see he had charts attached to the deck and appeared to have a deck compass and spare paddle. Further research on the net and I found the following account from newhampshire.com in the Hopkinton News section..
At one point the Coast Guard had checked on him during the trip when someone who saw him head out in the kayak was concerned that the seas were too rough. The Coast Guard offered to bring him back to shore, but said Wood declined and decided to make the trip alone.
Wood had lunch on Smuttynose Island on Friday, Feb. 27, and notified the Coast Guard around 3 p.m. that day that he was on his way back to Odiorne Point in Rye, which is where he had parked his Subaru Outback.
...it is very sad. A bad decision that ended this person's life. I cannot even imagine how cold it was, but I am sure the water in February is brutally cold. Even more sad that he was warned and decided to go against those warnings. Further research revealed that this person made this journey often. I imagine he was much like myself when I paddle to St. John or Buck Island. It's home, so I feel comfortable. I've done it often, so I feel like I know what I'm doing. Often it is easy to ignore that no matter how close you are to home (from Buck Island I can see my house) you are still offshore and it's still dangerous. I'm guilty- are any of you?
I remember having to call off a trip from St. Thomas to Puerto Rico because of bad weather. We had done radio interviews and gotten all this attention, and I have to tell you the last thing I wanted to do was have to tell everyone we backed out. I remember 4AM standing on my porch watching the storm which had finally started to ease up, and watching the water and looking at the weather radar and satellite images from the net trying to decide if it was a go or not. I could see a break in the clouds. We had a tough decision to make. By first light there was a bigger break in the clouds and literally a ray of hope, but with radar showing a small band of storms still left in the east, we decided it was a no-go. Saving the time off for when it was needed, I went ahead in to work. I stood in the parking lot and watched the sun come out and called my partner to say "Man, we could have gone!" We even discussed paddling to Culebra and making a decision from there. Again we decided to play it safe and stay put. Well well well... 30 minutes later all hell broke loose- lightening bolts every few minutes, torrential rain, and the seas kicked up again. Thank goodness we didn't go out. I remember watching a mega yacht heading towards Culebra, barely visible and then just disappearing into a squall, and thinking that they would never have seen us if we were out there.
I say all that not to say "look at me, I am so smart," but actually to say "Wow, I nearly made a really bad decision." I see a lot of posts on this site from people wanting to paddle the coast. It's easy to think you are near shore so you are safe, but I always say if your toes aren't in the dirt then you're offshore. Many kayak accidents happen within sight of shore, and at times even in sight of onlookers. I hope people will look at this video and think twice when they go out. Also I urge people to paddle with a partner. When people post on this site wanting to make a long journey alone or in open water, refer them to this post.
Safe paddling to all!