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Thread: Broke a rule, had a scare, everything turned out ok...

  1. #1
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    Default Broke a rule, had a scare, everything turned out ok...

    My wife and I have a rule about no kids on any river we have not already done, and we got reminded.

    We canoed Moose Creek from Petersville Road to Oilwell Road. I had never done it before, and heard it was an easy float.

    I was the only person in the 2 canoes who had paddled a river.

    For the first time since I bought my canoe 10 years ago, I rolled it... With 4 kids !
    My 8 year old grabbed branch, my sister in law got the 2 3 year old and the 5 year old was still sitting in the canoe as I dragged it to the gravel bar.
    The whole thing was a crazy blur. Fortunately the adults with me were fast acting, and water was only waist high and the current not to strong. That my daughter got herself to safety so quick was great as it freed me up to go after another kid.
    I sure felt like a bad parent. The good news is the kids still want to go canoeing. But my 3 and 5 year old have indicated they would prefer a lake!

  2. #2

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    Hey, don`t feel too bad. I rolled my skiff alone...did all the no-no`s on that run. Was boating alone breaking ice out to the main lake, didn`t have my lifejacket on, wasn`t familiar with the tiller lock on the new motor, no tether, and rubber boots on...hairball catching the boat and was a bit injured from being hit by the boat at full throttle...but lived. Leasoned re-learned as wiser for it.

    Count your blessings and enjoy those family trips...sounds like you have a great crew.


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  3. #3
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samwe View Post
    My wife and I have a rule about no kids on any river we have not already done, and we got reminded.

    We canoed Moose Creek from Petersville Road to Oilwell Road. I had never done it before, and heard it was an easy float.

    I was the only person in the 2 canoes who had paddled a river.

    For the first time since I bought my canoe 10 years ago, I rolled it... With 4 kids !
    My 8 year old grabbed branch, my sister in law got the 2 3 year old and the 5 year old was still sitting in the canoe as I dragged it to the gravel bar.
    The whole thing was a crazy blur. Fortunately the adults with me were fast acting, and water was only waist high and the current not to strong. That my daughter got herself to safety so quick was great as it freed me up to go after another kid.
    I sure felt like a bad parent. The good news is the kids still want to go canoeing. But my 3 and 5 year old have indicated they would prefer a lake!
    Scary stuff there sir,
    At least you were man enough to share with others......your mistake. I've had the feeling too, of being a bad parent when you get kids involved. What exactly was it that caused you to capsize? How many people total were in the capsized canoe? What brand and model of canoe is it?

  4. #4
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    You want all the info!

    My canoe is a Mad river Teton 16'. I think it is now called a Explore 16 TT.
    I was in the back, and my father in law in front. My sister in law was with the 4 kids in the middle. (There are so little it didn't seem like that many until now when I itemize them.)
    My wife, her mom, and my 10 year old were in the other boat, which was coleman.

    The Mad River has more weight capacity, and my father and law and I were the strongest padlers, so we had the small kids. My canoe is also more maneuverable.
    Now I am 6'2" and 255, and my father in law is much much taller than me and sitting in front, so his center of gravity was higher.

    Now it all happened so fast, but I think this is what happened.

    We were a little wide on the corner and bumped against a dead tree sticking out from shore (small 6" diameter thing maybe).
    Just before we hit it I leaned forward to grab it and slow down our impact (Almost broadside to the bank, and hittin the tree at a 45.)
    I think we still hit it harder than I thought we would as I had a pretty good dent in my canoe there that I think came from it.

    We tipped towards the bank and all went over. I remember taking a few steps down stream and scanning for floating kids, My daughter was getting passed by us and she was reaching for another branch and I helped her on to it. My sister in law and the 2 3 years olds suddenly appeared there. She claims she saw my 2 boys go under when the canoe rolled and when I rolled it back she grabbed one of them. I don't remember turning the canoe back over and though tmy father in law did. I do remember holding it so maybe we both did?

    At some point I had inventoried the kids with the sister in law more or less safe hanging on to the branch. It wasn't deep she was pretty much just leaning on it helping the kids to sit there. My 5 year odl was still in the canoe holding on to the thwart. I pushed it over to the gravel bar on the inside and got him out. I then joined my father in law in carrying the kids accross.

    Even immediatley after it was like remember a dream where you aren't quite sure what happened. It was good that we all reacted so fast, an the water was amazingly warm (for Alaska...) and the sun was out and it was the warmest day in a long time.

    Nature can be pretty unforgiving and when we make a mistake with no seriuous consequencse I think we should think about what we did wrong.

    If I had someone following me around with video cameras this would have been so much easier to analyze!

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I know the feeling! I rolled my 700AC off a cut bank in the dark and it landed upside down on top of my then 7yo son pinning him in a couple feet of water. It all happened so fast, I remember yelling for him to jump off as it went but he had no idea what was going on. I ended up with my leg pinned under it as well. Thankfully I had my cousin along and between him lifting and me pushing up with my one free leg we got the boy drug out from underneath it. Despite having a 600lb wheeler dropped on top of him pinning him to the bottom of a freezing cold creek completely submerged he only had a couple bumps and bruises. That was a slow easy ride on a very nontechnical trail. It never would have happened during the daylight but lost track of where we were just watching the trail in the headlights. I didn't realize we had already gotten back to where the trail ran along the creek so I skirted a mud hole (a bit too wide in retrospect) and wound up nearly killing my kid.

    Simple rules likely saved us both in our "bad dad" moments, helmets on wheelers and PFD's on boats!! Glad we can chat about it here rather than relive it in nightmares for the rest of our lives!

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    Glad to hear all turn out okay. My wife has gotten a little upset with me in the past because as a rule I never take her or her friends out on floats that I have never been on. I fully realize that rivers change constantly, but I still like to have the oars on experience so to speak before I take the lives of others into my hands. This is also one reason I don't take people out with me in the salt unless they each have a survival suit. Anyone that has anytime in PWS knows that you would be in serious trouble in the water unprotected. Even if you were reached in a quick 15 minutes, which would be about best case, a small child could still be overcome by the cold. I it ever came to it and you only had 2 suits and 3 people how would you decide who lives and who dies? Even if I got a suit and had to watch the one without, could I live with that???? As the Captain of the vessel I feel responsible for the safety and welfare of each person that I take aboard.

    As already pointed out, things can go bad in a blink of an eye.

    Steve

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    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    Hey Samwe,
    Everybody's OK, that's what counts, you did your job as well as can be expected.
    By my experience, all waters change so often, currents, tide changes, weather, etc. that you have to be prepared for change, so even if you had run it before without them you'd still have to be prepped for the unexpected. it's Always That Way.

    We all know Crazy stuff happens in boats, out in the woods, etc. when everybody gets to the shore, everybody is a LOT smarter and more prepared for experiencing more of Alaska, As It Really Is, Totally exciting but potentially Deadly even on the sunniest days.

    I think your kids are better off with a Dad like you than one who gives in to fear of "What could go wrong" and never gets them out there.

    I took my son out in our new Mad River Explorer 14TT this spring and intentionally rolled it, in 3ft deep water, with our survival suits on, and it was a real eye opener to see how shocked he was by how that felt. Much wierder than he expected. But he knows now what it feels like and is prepared for the somewhat worst case scenario as a result. Well worth it.

    Your story reminds me we have to do the same with only our lifevests on next, to get the Cold Wham Effect factored in there.

    Take Care, my advice is also, get in the water with those Survival Suits or lifevests ahead of time, to know what it's really like, you'll be glad you know, even if you never need to use them in an emergency.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Really Good for us All to be reminded
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Member Sierra Dragon's Avatar
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    Almost exactly the same situation for me this summer.. (adults though no kids)

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    I had to pull a canoe full to safety last summer on a float down the Eagle River. Our friends "broke the rules" by having a 2 yr. old, plus 2 dogs, plus 2 adults, plus far too much heavy gear in an old tattered canoe. They flipped in a similar fashion as below (right near shore), but they were in 6 feet of water and began showing signs of shock after about 30 seconds in the water. Luckily, I was right by them when they flipped, and I was able to grab the 2 year old and set her on my lap inside by kayak. The adults I was able to throw a rope to, and I pulled them to shore as well. It was a scary reminder to always scan the river, always wear your PFD, and to have a great amount of respect for our FREEZING Alaskan waters. One mistake here can unfortunately end a life. Sounds like we've all had a lil' luck on our side!
    If you recall all of the deaths around Anchorage/Kenai over the summer from drowning, you may also recall that NONE OF THEM WERE WEARING A LIFE JACKET.
    Safe boating all, and wear those PFD's!

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