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Things that are of interest, but don't really fall under the "Latest News" category.

Originally published on my personal blog in 2012 at http://pawistik.blogspot.ca/2012/05/cold-water-boot-camp.html

Recently I read the updated story about a paddler that died on April 1st, 2012, in a lake in Washington state. In the article, one of the people interviewed mentioned a "Cold Water Boot Camp" video that they make their paddling students watch. A little googling brought me to http://www.coldwaterbootcamp.com. Wow, what a great website. Watch the video contained in the download section (for me, it worked best to download a high quality version and watch it offline), it's a 10 minute program that delivers the message. There is also a 30 minute version on DVD which I am considering ordering.

The video program features Winnipeg professor, Dr. Gordon Giesbrecht, aka "Dr. Popsicle." Dr. Giesbrecht has been informing outdoors people like me on the dangers of cold water for quite a number of years. I've seen several of his videos on YouTube and even on the Rick Mercer Report (this video is hilarious). However, this was the first time I've seen his Cold Water Boot Camp program.

Be sure to also watch some of the individual videos under the Boot Campers section. They are very informative. There are a number of things I took away from those individual videos and interviews - for one thing, the messages coming directly from the individuals really hits home. Another thing I noticed, is just how much effort it takes the rescuers to get the swimmers out of the water. Watch as they pull the swimmers in and imagine how it would be for another boater (canoe, kayak, motorboat - take your pick) to assist you if you were in the water. And in this case it was trained rescuers pulling a swimmer up onto a very stable boat with a low, smooth rounded gunwale. Doing the same thing into a kayak, canoe, or a fishing boat - good luck. Also, when the swimmers are pulled from the water and interviewed on the boat, note how bloody cold they are, and how they actually get colder than they were in the water.

There are a couple of important take home messages that I'll be better incorporating into my own paddling lessons after watching this video, some of it I knew already and all of it has been reinforced:

  1. It's not hypothermia you need to worry about, it's cold shock, then incapacitation.
  2. You will never live long enough for hypothermia to be a concern without a life jacket or PFD on.
  3. It's ALWAYS cold water season in this part of the world.
  4. Swimming in cold water is very, very hard.
To summarise the effects of cold water and the time you have to deal with the situation, Geisbrecht coined the phrase "1-10-1", a phrase that many of my students have heard me recite.
1 - 10 - 1
1-10-1 is a simple way to remember the first three phases of cold water immersion and the approximate time each phase takes.
1 - Cold Shock. An initial deep and sudden Gasp followed by hyperventilation that can be as much as 600-1000% greater than normal breathing. You must keep your airway clear or run the risk of drowning. Cold Shock will pass in about 1 minute. During that time concentrate on avoiding panic and getting control of your breathing. Wearing a lifejacket during this phase is critically important to keep you afloat and breathing. 
10 - Cold Incapacitation. Over approximately the next 10 minutes you will lose the effective use of your fingers, arms and legs for any meaningful movement. Concentrate on self rescue initially, and if that isn

I don't do Tumblr and don't even really know what it is, but I stumbled across the Tourism Saskatchewan Tumblr recently and I have to say, I like it! It probably something to do with the current paddling background they used and the large amount of outdoor, especially paddling, content. Great stuff, check it out! http://tourismsaskatchewan.tumblr.com

A while ago over on my Northstar Expeditions blog I posted a series of photos showing myself and my friend  Jay running Otter Rapids (Churchill River, northern Saskatchewan) in a canoe in 2007. It's an awesome series of photos taken from shore and really shows the fun to be had in Otter. One of these days I'm going to run it in my 18' Sea Kayak.

No, we haven't sunk in this photo (yet), we're merely in the trough between waves. Head to the full post to see the rest of the photos and learn the outcome of these brave adventurers.

This Is Me screen-kayak

This is the video diary of a novice paddler that kayaked from Vancouver heading for Alaska. It's about 2 1/4 hours longer than I knew a youtube video could be, but it's well worth it if, like me, you enjoy living vicariously through the grand adventures of others. It's an epic video to document an epic trip. I really enjoyed listening to his reflections and tales of his journey. Watch it in HD if you can. p.s. You don't have to watch it all at once!

Like practically every other paddler out there, I have a bucket list of places or routes that I really want to paddle. I figured I'd start to write some of them down here. They are in no particular order and I'll probably add to it over time. Some are kayaking destinations, some more suited to canoe. This list could really be much longer, but it's a start.

  1. Circumnavigate Lac La Ronge (Sask). On my personal blog I wrote about the idea of kayaking the approximately 290 km of Lac LaRonge a while ago and it's likely to remain on the "to do list" for another year or two. 
  2. Clearwater River (Sask). Recently, there has been talk about mining the bitumen (tar) sands to the north of the Clearwater, a Canadian Heritage River, and we really should paddle this one while it's still pristine, and to show that there is value in pristine wilderness. 
  3. Broughton Archipelago (BC). A post on WestCoastPaddler.com has my interest piqued to visit this area in the northern portion of Johnstone Strait, NE of Vancouver Island. (Update: Here's another report on the Broughton Archipelago that I enjoyed: http://allisonoutside.net/2012/09/the-broughton-archipelago/.)
  4. Mackay Lake, Bartlett Lake (Sask). I was there a couple of years ago by snowshoe (see Mark's blog post). I'd like to go back by canoe. Not as grand as most other destinations in this list, but the chance of me getting there in the next year or so is rather a lot higher. 
  5. Coulonge River (Que). My Great Great Great Grandfather was George Bryson, Sr. who was a lumber baron in the Ottawa River Valley. He logged the Coulonge and built the timber slide past the Grand Chutes. 
  6. Haida Gwaii (BC). The Queen Charlotte Islands and Gwaii Hannas National Park is a place my wife and I would love to paddle. 
  7. Bonnet Plume &/or Peel Rivers (Yuk). The awesome mountain rivers of northern Yukon are places I'd like to see first hand. The Bonnet Plume River is part of the Canadian Heritage River System. (I have at least seen the Yukon River in person.)  
  8. Cree River (Sask). We were hours away from starting this trip when my Grandma died and we pulled out. So, it remains on the list and we are just as eager to paddle it. 
  9. Belize. A fellow I know has spent a couple of winters teaching kayaking in Belize. Seeing his pictures has caused me to have Belize on my list as a paddling destination. 
  10. Nahanni River (NWT).  Another Canadian Heritage River System river. The Nahanni has been on my list for as long as I've been dreaming about paddling. 
  11. Lower Sturgeon-Weir (Sask). In 2005 we paddled a section of the upper Sturgeon-Weir from the Hanson Lake Road to Amisk Lake at Denare Beach. We were on Amisk Lake a couple weeks ago (photos and report coming soon?) and visited the river where it leaves the lake in a C2 rapid that looks like a lot of fun. 
  12. Lake Superior (north shore) (Ont). Bill Mason's films have tempted me to that largest of lakes for 20 years or so. Reading reports by the likes of Bryan Hansel (http://www.paddlinglight.com/) have only added to that desire. 
  13. South Saskatchewan River (Sask). We've paddled sections of it close to Saskatoon, but I'd like to paddle the rest of the way to The Forks. Given how close it is to home and how often I paddle it, you'd think I'd write about it more, but here is one post from a night paddle in '02, snowshoeing on the river in '09, kayaking on the river last January, and again in March.
  14. Newfoundland. Beautiful, scary, rugged, cold, awesome. I don't even know it well enough to say what part I most want to paddle or where to start. But the awe-inspiring coasts of Newfoundland definitely beckon. Lee's writing helps to fuel the awe. 
  15. Broken Group Islands (BC). We were there in 2010 and I want to go back, explore more and get to the outer islands more. 
  16. Kazan River (NWT). Another Canadian Heritage River System river. Back in the summer of 1992 I worked at a fishing camp near the headwaters of the Kazan (located on Obre Lake, we worked upriver to Snowbird Lake and downriver to Atzinging Lake). A group of European paddlers came through the fishing camp one day. I've wanted to go back to the Kazan by canoe ever since. 
One destination that made the list even though I already paddled it, the Broken Group.  It will be great to go back by kayak to really explore the outer islands. A Level 3 Sea Kayak Skills course from SKILS is a high priority on my "to do" list and it often runs in the Brokens.

What our Students are Saying about Us

"You were very informative and I would recommend your class to
anyone considering taking up kayaking."

- Marvin Doepker, Saskatoon

What our Students are Saying about Us

"I wanted to stop and tell you that you are among
the best instructors I've ever had."
- Pool Student

What our Students are Saying about Us

- Donelda Gowan-Moody, Saskatoon

"Thank you very much for the paddling instruction.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Our son says that kayaking is AWESOME!"