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Thread: Kayak Hitchhiker...

  1. #1

    Default Kayak Hitchhiker...

    Here's a question for you sea kayaking types...

    The family and I had packed up the skiff (22ft aluminum with outboard) for a 2 night camping trip about 60 miles out of town. Due to commitments, we didn't leave the dock till around 4:00pm and figured on getting to the cabin around 7:30pm or so.

    An hour into the trip, in an area where boats are starting to thin out, we see a kayaker waving us down. I immediately head over to her and ask if she needs assistance. Her story was that she was not happy with her traveling companion and had turned around to go back to town on her own. She asked if we would give her a ride back to town.

    Doing so would have made us scrub one day of our trip, and lose out on one nights rental fee.

    I asked her specifically if she was in distress, to which she answered "no." We offered to take her to the nearest bay (we were in a Sound, near open ocean) which always has lots of other boaters from town anchored up.

    She started to get a bit testy, tried to guilt us about 'what if she got into distress' and refused the partial ride we offered.

    At that point, we said goodbye and left.

    I'm not feeling too bad, but want to know the kayaking communities thoughts?

  2. #2
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Guilt trip

    Unless she was in distress or physical harm, no foul.
    Sounds like maybe she may have been the problem with her traveling partner.
    Did she offer to pay for the trip back to town?
    was she friendly and grateful you stopped?
    or did she expect you to drop your plans?
    ..
    It was decent of you to stop and check on her, and offer a trip to a safe and boater populated area where she could probably find someone headed in anyway and get safe passage back to town.
    Thats my take anyway..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  3. #3
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    Thumbs up Samaritan thing -

    Concerning the details of your post ---

    I will chime in to say you likely were spot-on with responding to the waving boater of any sort, establishing good communication, in addition to your course of actions upon finding something that was not apparently some true distress situation... to mention avoiding other people's personal problems/issues plus opening yourself to liability.

    Ya basically did the good Samaritan thing, gained perspective of their situation... and made a good call in my opinion.

    Not a bad notion would be to ask if they have a float plan & w/ who --- and 'possibly' notify Cost Guard or relay a message to Harbor Master of what you responded to, what time, maybe a GPS waypoint, what you did/said, and the outcome of the solo kayaker's 'situation' when you left. Also a good idea to briefly write all that stuff/details down for your records and for others involved.

    Hope this lends a hand -

  4. #4

    Default

    Thanks for the input gents.

    I'll admit to losing a little sleep that night, but not much.



    Good advice Brian, for future encounters.

  5. #5
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    Default kayak hitchhiker

    That happened to us once and we got on the radio and just called around for any boats heading back into the bay if they could swing by and pick them up.. we gave them there coordinates and headed on our merry way...

  6. #6
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianW View Post
    Here's a question for you sea kayaking types...

    The family and I had packed up the skiff (22ft aluminum with outboard) for a 2 night camping trip about 60 miles out of town. Due to commitments, we didn't leave the dock till around 4:00pm and figured on getting to the cabin around 7:30pm or so.

    An hour into the trip, in an area where boats are starting to thin out, we see a kayaker waving us down. I immediately head over to her and ask if she needs assistance. Her story was that she was not happy with her traveling companion and had turned around to go back to town on her own. She asked if we would give her a ride back to town.

    Doing so would have made us scrub one day of our trip, and lose out on one nights rental fee.

    I asked her specifically if she was in distress, to which she answered "no." We offered to take her to the nearest bay (we were in a Sound, near open ocean) which always has lots of other boaters from town anchored up.

    She started to get a bit testy, tried to guilt us about 'what if she got into distress' and refused the partial ride we offered.

    At that point, we said goodbye and left.

    I'm not feeling too bad, but want to know the kayaking communities thoughts?

    I guess you got a taste of why someone would just leave that gal solo..........good for you.

  7. #7
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    Default I hitched once

    Fun story,
    We were 50 miles or so from Whittier, not in any distress, we just had whitewater boats that are not much fun to paddle in flat water. We had paddled a river into the sound and were prepared, but not excited to paddle out.

    We had a radio and called a boat in sight. They asked around for us and after about half an hour a bowpicker stopped to give us a ride. He was VERY tired and about 5 minutes into the ride, he asked if we knew how to run a boat. My friend who fishes answered "sure", not expecting what happened next.

    With no instruction, the owner traded the Captains chair for the one bunk in back. We quickly figured out the nice GPS/ Radar and the wheel was just a wheel so we were sailing away toward Culross where after 20 min. of running it was starting to narrow up and my friend leans over and says "do you see a throttle?" After a minute or two of panic, we found them. They were on the left side of the chair, about seat level. It all turned out just fine and we can chuckle about it now.

    ---
    BrianW - I'd say you handled it just right, no doubt if the party split on the trip there was some mental stress, but if they were in no physical danger or distress, you're in no way obligated to give free rides out there. A radio relay to others would be appropriate if you had one. There are a number of Taxi's that would have provided a service for fee.

    If someone is waving you down, it is vitally important to check in on them. Hopefully crying wolf won't become a pattern.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    I guess you got a taste of why someone would just leave that gal solo..........good for you.
    My wife, who is a much better judge of people than I am, told me the same thing. Her demand for a ride all the way back, and not just to a higher traffic spot to catch another ride, was her downfall.

    The girl was having a bad day, but was not in any peril.

    If we had been going her direction, we would given her a ride without hesitation.

    I guess I still feel a bit bad. But the opinions here sure help.

  9. #9
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    Default

    BW,

    This is dredging up an old post, but here's an opinion from someone that's paddled in your neck of the woods: You did just fine.

    Lady paddler needed to learn:


    1) How to paddle along with her paddling companion, even when she's not getting along with paddling companion. Leaving in a snit to paddle solo in the northern Pacific is not a sound survival strategy.
    2) To have a VHF handy, so that she politely ask for assistance from vessels that are headed in her direction
    3) Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, should a vessel come along that offers partial assistance.

    Scott

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