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  kayaker death, Fairhaven, MA
  Posted by: tsunamikayak on Jan-13-14 11:35 AM (EST)

Anyone out there have any info. on the recent death of a kayaker out of Fairhaven, MA? The newspapers are not any help as far as what the kayaker was wearing, equipment he may or may not have had, etc. although they did mention that he was using a 9-foot boat (obviously a recreational boat, not a sea kayak) on the open water, so my guess is that he didn't have a dry- or wet-suit, which, of course, would be inviting catastrophe. He was duck hunting, and my guess was that he considered the kayak as merely another tool, not realizing that kayaking, especially in the winter, is a whole different skill set, with specific knowledge required. In any case, a terrible tragedy, my heart goes out to the family and friends.

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  It is difficult to discuss these
  Posted by: g2d on Jan-13-14 3:38 PM (EST)
before the facts are in.
  Don't know the details from Fairhaven
  Posted by: eckilson on Jan-13-14 7:55 PM (EST)
But we had two other duck hunters die recently on the Westport River after their boat capsized in the frigid water.

Interestingly, I was paddling Saturday in the Pawtuxet Cove here in RI, which is also a popular duck hunting area. I saw a lone duck hunter motor out of the cove into Narragansett Bay in a small boat wearing a sweat shirt and blue jeans, and not wearing a PFD.

Couldn't help wondering what he was thinking. He must have made it home, because I didn't hear about him in the news.

  "I'll never put on a life jacket again."
  Posted by: canoeswithduckheads on Jan-14-14 9:32 AM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-14-14 1:41 PM EST --

While we're given the underlying reasons to Quint's statement in the movie Jaws, and in part we might find some sympathetic understanding (especially with a toothy behemoth lurking off the woefully low transom), there is this strange tradition amongst seamen, deckhands, fishermen, that a PFD, or a survival suit for those frigid Bering Strait waters, will only go on as a last measure, when all other hope that the vessel they ride will remain above the gulping waves. Till then, oft clad in the cottons of work jeans and ratty old oil-stained hoodies, beneath heavy pvc slickers and overalls, they stand the decks, man the rod, perhaps, even in your cited case, aim the shotgun, sans any buoyancy wear, nor any shield/insulation to the icy waters that would quickly surround their overboard carcass with life-zapping chill.

I'm sure you, Erick, probably might see examples of these folks often, by standing on the stone jetty there at Galilee, as they motor past in their various vessels pointed towards the Block Island Sound. Tradition, as well as the occasionally overboard soul, often die hard.

Now, we paddlers, in our woefully low freeboarded and open/semi-open canoes/kayaks, sans PFD and/or spray cover, clad in our finest family room togs, out on the open bay or sound or sea of winter,...well, we're taking a tradition of stupidity to its all out depths!

Then again, I often find myself poling alone up seemingly benign creeks and rivers in winter, though with PFD, sans drysuit and helmet. One bad fall with noggin' knock, or bad foot entrapment, and I suppose my foolish soul will find unwanted release from its soon-to-be grayest-of-matter carp fodder.

Guess this mortal being, even in all its unbearable lightness, shackled to free will, will only maintain limited buoyancy for an indeterminate time.

Well, to the cavalier sea adventurer, as that fine artist/poet/musician sings it:

Oh, you slipped away, from the harbor side,
in the mornin' bright and clear.
And your sails were filled, with the risin' wind,
and you laughed for all to hear.
But you never glanced, at the ragged dance,
of your lovers on the quay.
Don't call on them, when the winds rise high,
on the dark and the rolling sea.

Oh, you set your course, for the furthest shores,
and you never once looked back.
And the flag you flew, was a pirate cross,
on a field of velvet black.
And those landsmen who, you but lately knew,
were left stranded on the lea.
Don't call on them, when the storm clouds rise,
on the dark and the rolling sea.

Oh, I have no need, of a chart or creed,
you told your waiting crew.
For the winds of chance, they will bear us straight,
and you spoke as though you knew.
So you paid no mind, to the warning signs,
as you gave your words so free.
Don't change your tack, when the timbers crack,
on the dark and the rolling sea.

Now the thunder rails, in the great mainsails,
and the stars desert the skies.
And the rigging strains, as the hands of rain,
reach down to wash your eyes.
And your oarsmen stands, with his knife in hand,
and his eyes spell mutiny.
Don't call my name, when your ship goes down,
on the dark and the rolling sea.

Al Stewart

  Yes, but what matters is dying while
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jan-14-14 2:07 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-14-14 2:25 PM EST --

"doing what you love"--Every time I hear that tired-ass phrase, I wanna puke...I don't know about most of you, but when I go out to paddle or anything else, I don't want to die doing it(and I usually paddle in what your Average Joe would consider somewhat risky conditions). In fact, from all I can tell of the Great Hereafter, I don't want to die--period.

"Hey Charlie...Given a choice: Would you rather go painlessly and quietly at home in your sleep reaching old age, or would you rather miserably kick-the-bucket by slowly freezing to death from hypothermia and cardiac arrest?"

"Oh Bob, I most definitely would rather die capsizing my boat in the icy waters--After all, boats and duck hunting is what I love most in life!"


..You'd think at least one of the three guys who were in their fifties (in the RI case)would've donned some safety protection beforehand(the main guy worked at Cabella's--An outfitter ferchisakes!) In the other case, with the 21 year old, it might've been just youthful bravura mixed with ignorance...Like texting while driving. But I'm betting no immersion wear or PFD in either case. We'll see.

Only the ducks survive--They get to frolic another day free from being roasted and drenched in orange sauce, until the "Dynasty" Jethros catch up with them.

What a waste.

  thank you thank you thank you
  Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-14-14 3:58 PM (EST)
I despise that phrase.

"They were doing something they loved".

Well, I bet they learned never to do THAT again!
  Posted by: bignate on Jan-14-14 5:20 PM (EST)
It's a trite statement, and one I see a trotted out a lot when someone dies on a river. I suspect that if the recently deceased had foreknowledge of the outcome, they'd have chosen to stay home that day, rather than die doing what they loved.

I think a better way of expressing the sentiment behind the expression is to say that they understood the risks and made a conscious choice to do what they did because of what they got out of it. Of course, even this is an overstatement in far too many cases where the paddler(s) had no idea of the risks that they were facing.
  Its impossible to assume anything
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jan-14-14 5:34 PM (EST)
I knew of a paddler that knew he was ill, that he could die, and who paddled that day and went ahead and died on the river.

He deliberately chose not to die at home.

We all are grasping at straws. What happened happened.
  I don't get it, kayamedic.
  Posted by: spiritboat on Jan-14-14 7:52 PM (EST)
-- Last Updated: Jan-14-14 8:02 PM EST --

You're comparing apples and oranges.

The kayaker you knew was already under something of a death sentence, was he not? He had direct intention to go ahead and do what he did(but I bet he probably still wore a PFD???). Plenty of people opt-out of terminal illness everyday in all kinds of ways, to do their own brand of suicide--Are they "doing what they love" too?

Some years ago, I had a friend who left for New Zealand to paddle some Class V for a few weeks. When he left, I said to him, "You watch your ass down there and come back in one piece." He said, "You bet I'm coming back." Well he did come back--In a coffin...He was pinned after going down the wrong chute on the wrong river. It took days to retrieve his body. Many said at the time of his funeral(and even told the press)
"He died doing what he loved." I said, no he didn't--He would've loved to come home and bragged to us all about what a great trip he had. And yes, he was well aware of the risks involved and assumed them, then proceeded to do what he loved to do anyway...But dying was never his intention. He prepared as best he could against possible calamity, but couldn't prepare against unforeseen calamity. And that's where things differ with the duck hunters...No one can believe those duck hunters were properly prepared in the safety department to at least offset the probability of being killed "doing what they love."

Big Nate's second paragraph nailed it exactly.

But yeah, what happened happened.

  painlessly and quietly or misadventure
  Posted by: capefear on Jan-14-14 5:24 PM (EST)
If only those two were our choices, we'd all have it made.
  My first choice
  Posted by: pgeorg on Jan-15-14 7:28 AM (EST)
would be to do what I love and after that die quietly at home in my bed.

My second choice would be to die while doing what I love.

My last choice would be to forgo what I love because it is risky and then die quietly at home in my bed.

  The kayakers car was in Fairhaven
  Posted by: kayamedic on Jan-13-14 10:15 PM (EST)
the body washed up in Falmouth. Been missing near two weeks. The boat washed up on West Island.. The body probably went with the current and the boat with the wind. There is a good bit of real estate between the three points. He was hunting it seems.
  Posted by: Kudzu on Jan-14-14 9:26 AM (EST)
It looks like it would be more accurate to say that a duck hunter or a student was drowned.
  common thread
  Posted by: jbernard on Jan-14-14 6:18 PM (EST)
I live here in Westport where the two duck hunters died and only a few miles from Fairhaven where the young man in the kayak died. The deaths of the two older gentlemen in the Westport River seems like a "simple" accident caused by an underestimation of the conditions at the river mouth. It was extremely windy (>30 kts) and had been for at least 12 hours, causing a very high sea state at the river mouth where the boat flipped.

The young man in Fairhaven could be a simple accident but there is much less known about what exactly happened. Maybe there'll be some answers to come out of the autopsy.

In addition to all being experienced hunters/outdoorsmen one thing they had in common was they were all very bright, successful people. Didn't help though.
  weather a factor
  Posted by: teimac on Jan-14-14 6:43 PM (EST)
New Years Eve weather
Actual Temp 27 Lo 18

I live midstate and I was freezing my backside off



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