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A Duct Tape Special

After years of looking at newsletters, I finally joined the local canoe club and paddled a little Mohawk on several trips. I prattled happily about my entertaining paddles on small area rivers with the club. My child's piano teacher listened patiently and offered to let me use her sit on top kayak on the next trip. I set off proudly with her boat in the back of my truck.

At the Tai Tai River I quickly took the lead in the speedy little kayak and then to my amazement I sank to the bottom of the river. I pulled the craft out on a sand bank and a kindly soul stopped and duct taped the 4" by 4" hole which had appeared in her hull. Once again I took off paddling at a rapid clip only to sink to the bottom of the river again when another hole appeared. Rescued by a nurse who fixed the hole with medical tape, I set out again only to sink less than thirty minutes later when another hole appeared. Apparently the kayak had been left in the sun and had become super brittle. Club members who tried to fix the latest hole found their thumbs sank into the hull and made new holes as they tried to repair the damage. In an isolated site on Eglin Air Force base, I desperately looked at the women paddling a large aluminum canoe and considered abandoning my pitiful patched boat. A true paddling enthusist arrived and wrapped duct tape circles around the entire hull so that I could finish the trip.

Years later club members still remember the day of the disintegrating kayak that used every roll of duct tape carried by the thirty paddlers on the trip and emptied the club first aid kit of all its medical tape. I returned the boat to my piano teacher who was totally appalled. She said thank heavens it was you and you can swim. Today I paddle a new Hurricane Tampico, but the little sit on top has made me a legend in the West Florida Canoe Club.

Submitted by Susan Guttmann, Pensacola, FL

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