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Singles paddling with the herd

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    Peter Karwacki

    I studied the response from and to POBO and realized the problem.

    Here we have a newbie paddling the ottawa and despite the eddy full of boaters he was left to his own avails after getting trashed and ejected.

    No newbie should ever paddler "alone". It would have been much better to collar a couple of people in the eddy and point blank ask if they would watch his tail. Of course they could lie… but that’s another matter.

    This is also a naturally consequence of park and play… meaning no clubs. People go, paddle and leave, after dancing with themselves.

    If there are singles out there in the Ottawa Region may I suggest joining paddling clubs or finding a paddle mate or two. Paddle in a pack and look after each other.

    That’s the way we did it… in my day. There are strengths in numbers.



    I normally paddle with a club group but …

    I have also paddled by myself in terms of being in the eddy with a bunch of unknown boaters. I have never had a problem where I ended up swimming my fat ass out of my boat and did not get any kind of help no matter which river i was on. Just make sure you thank the person who comes to your aid.

    I have many times left the eddy to go help some unknown stranger swimming down the river.

    I try and say hi to everyone in the eddy. You never know when you might need a paddle buddy to run the river with. I met alot of really nice people last summer and hope to paddle with them this season.

    Once last summer i save a 10 year old rafter from a WT trip when he and his mom ended swimming in opposite directions at Butterfly. I happened to be in the right place at the right time and save him and told the guides to get his mother as I had things under control on my side of the river.

    The guide came over in his raft and thanked me. They also offered me a free lunch at their lunch spot around the corner. I thanked him and said sure after which I refilled my water bottle with juice and had a really nice dessert.

    I have also ferried guides from Esprit from one side of the river to the other when they have finished doing their live bait rescue setup at Garvin’s. They appreciate not having to get anymore wet than they have to. This has also led to more paddling buddies as I have gone down the river with them in their floatilla on other days when I would have had to wait and find others to paddle with.

    I have also met other guides who like to open boat which has also led to mid-week paddle buddies in their off time.

    Sure some park-n-play paddlers don’t give a crap about anything but themselves and getting on the wave but there are lots of others that do care.

    I also think everyone should put their name either on their boats or helmets. Its better to say hey Joe or Jenny than hey dude or dudette.

    Thats my two cents.

    Peter Karwacki

    You’ve made some really great points there.

    You just never know, the next rescue… may be your own because, shit does happen.

    A while ago I wrote this:

    Brotherhood of the River

    The river bred a family with the passing of the hours
    Time we’ve spent together testing mental strength and powers
    Since finding meaning in the days when paddling was unknown
    The sky now paints fresh colours – ones I’d have never seen alone
    We are brothers of the river and we hear the river’s call
    The roaring of the rapids on the rivers great and small
    traveled roads to find them, scanned from bridges rocks and trees
    Uncommon lust for life and love and curiousity
    All from different places found the river made us free
    swept us to the future where together we will be
    Paddling joined us brothers since we’ve shared the waters force
    Now the waves will take us higher than we’ve ever been before
    I’ve seen your spirits soaring and I’ve joined you on that plane
    Skirted danger by a hair then laughed like we’re insane
    times when one was shaken – missed a roll or eddy turn
    popping up between the waves saw confidence and nerve
    clinging to a grab loop like a hand reached out from far
    could not help but love you,
    river brother that you are
    You knew me on the water told me not to fear or hide
    but challenge limits that I’d set which kept me on the side
    "You can’t let fear defeat you when its in you to succeed
    Just do the things you know you can and on the waves you’ll be
    " I’ve seen your wide eyed wonder when the others seemed so calm
    and triumphed on the water needing naught from anyone
    I saw you making clutch rolls with a smile that warmed my heart
    It made me think of times back when I had my water start
    So we are brothers on the river fate has brought us to the flow
    we never question what we do and words could never show
    The miles we traveled shuttle, butts were square when cash was low
    The bars we closed, and quiet times when friendships could still grow
    Uncommon ties that bind us at the cost of liquid gold
    paddling in the brotherhood , whitewater tales we’ve told
    Seen the heron swoop and dive, the loons have tricked us too
    along the shores of Kipawa and Gaulley River Cruise
    Surfing on the glassy waves our boats have crossed and danced
    Moving with the river’s pulse, Stroked water with our hands
    Do you recall Big Sandy when we shot the waterfall?
    Thrilled at running Pillow Rock, as paddlers loved them all
    Now days are getting longer and the sunlight’s warmth is felt
    I’ll be waiting for you brothers as the ice begins to melt
    The feelings shared have been intense, they bubble from the core
    The sport that means so much to us, will takes us out once more
    the river’s calling brother can you hear it call your name
    come and join me paddlers we’ll be paddling it again
    When the river’s tide is running high and current’s flow is wild
    we’ll be crashing through the surf as one with joy and peace inside


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