First Paddle on the Puntledge and Dead Salmon
By Paul Kowatch
Well I did it, my wife bought me a Pirouette S for Christmas, my first white
water kayak. I have paddled an ocean kayak for about a year and wanted to get
into the fast stuff.
I decided to first try a roll in Comox Lake, and with cold water running up my
nose and the beginnings of an ice cream headache I managed a wet exit. Slightly
disappointed we went to the Puntledge for some white water. After putting in I
ran a few wave trains without mishap until we came to a feature locally called
"the dice", I had been told to go river left to avoid them but ended up going
sideways over the drop and into the hole. I actually did a pretty good brace
downstream until swimming for awhile.
We then carried on to Puntledge Park and Kevin played in some waves and I
practised eddy turns. I need more practice as I didn't lean enough and was
re-introduced to the water. So I got back in the boat and this time was starting
to get cold and even had trouble putting the spray deck back on.
We then set off for the last feature and the take out, I went backwards down
some waves and was feeling good until the last take out eddy turn, I again
didn't edge the boat enough and swam again, and had to crawl over a mountain of
dead salmon, remnants of the spawn, to get out. I was smelly, shivering and wet.
Oh yes I was grinning like a fool.
I know what I did wrong and even had a good idea when I was doing it but calm
rational thought left me when I hit the water. This all happened yesterday,
tomorrow I think I will go and practice my roll again (in the ocean, it is
warmer), and have tentative plans to paddle on Sunday.
So if you happen to see a 38 year old "newbie", hurtling by in a red and white
Pirouette S, don't take it personal if I don't wave, I am trying to not drown.