Dan 07963 852 547

Steve 07706 244 891

ORCA

CANOE BUILDING WORKSHOPS

IN THE LAKE DISTRICT - POOLEY BRIDGE

             AAAAARRRGGH!! WORST CASE CANOEING SCENARIOS

The events below are all real life scenarios from our canoeing escapades....

CANOE BUILDING WORKSHOPS ​ IN THE LAKE DISTRICT - PENRITH

CASE #1 ...  HIPPO AMBUSH

 

Situation..

Malarial swamps of Lake Malawi, Africa. Canoes surrounded by a pod of 30 or so hippos (hippos are extremely hard to count in the water due to their vertical 'lava- lamp' like shuffling) 

 

How to escape..

Look for widest deep water gap between hippos

Steer canoe as quietly as possibly through gap using a smooth trailing rudder

If hippo appears in gap (this is likely) stop canoe calmly 

Pick another gap (your options are decreasing)

Repeat until safely through or, if hippo charges ... PADDLE LIKE HECK FOR DEEP WATER

The other hippos should move out of your way KEEP PADDLING using good forward paddling technique

AN ANGRY HIPPO WILL CHASE YOU FOR SOME WAY (or approx 2 -3 minutes..this will seem like longer due to circumstance)

 

 

CASE # 2 ... STALKED BY 18 FOOT CROCODILE

 

Situation..

Evening bass fishing trip on reed-fringed Zimbabwean lake, cut short by 18 foot crocodile...no paddles on board (due to complications!) and only hands or fishing gear to use as makeshift oars.. Breeze blowing canoes toward croc. (crocodiles appetites are encouraged by the smell of a potential meal)

 

How to escape..

Note which way croc is facing

Open popper on sheath knife 

Keep away from head end

Use fishing rod as paddle

Try to head downwind of croc

Keep splashing to minimum 

Keep heart in mouth

'keel bob' the canoe when past croc

Exit canoe FAST at landfall (this is the most dangerous point)

 

 

CASE # 3 ... DAN'S CANOE BACK-LOOPED ON SURF WAVE ON SHARK INFESTED SOUTH PACIFIC

 

Situation..

South Pacific coastal canoe expedition, Waitangi Bay, North Island, New Zealand.. Perfect back loop on rogue wave whilst attemping deep water shelf crossing.. (A perfect back-loop in a fully laden 18 foot expedition canoe is a rare sight).

 

How to escape.. (You can't really)

Shout to your partner to abandon ship..

Check belt knife is secure

Throw yourself overboard, sideways away from canoe

Try and keep hold of your paddle

Upon surfacing, look for your partner

Pull them from underneath the canoe if they are trapped

Kick yourselves free of canoe

Gather loose floating gear for a makeshift life raft

Get a fix on the horizon, kick to shore

Pick up the pieces of your canoe rig as they drift onto to shore 

Open survival cannister

Start driftwood fire, cook a meal and cool off

Fix your canoe with your repair kit

 

 

CASE # 4.. CAPSIZED AND PINNED BETWEEN TWO TREES ON SPATE RIVER

 

Situation..

Winter, River Exe, Devon. 3 paddlers in a single canoe, pinned against fallen tree..canoe swallowed and taken by river. Second tree smashes into snag from upstream, sandwiching group.

 

 

How to escape ..

Advise your parter(s) as to your predicament. they should well know it.

 Keep a firm hold of the tree directly in front of you (the tree may in fact, have a firm hold of you)

With your free hand, reach as high as you can for a stout branch

Lift one of your feet and 'stamp' the water to find a foothold

Using hand and footholds, pull and push yourself upward using a jerking action

Climb up in to the snag.. Do not renter the water!

Rescue your partners (or vice-versa)

Using your belt knife, cut your way to the bank 

Get moving to halt onset of hypothermia

Rescue canoe using personal rescue line stowed in rear of bouyancy aid

 

CASE # 5 .. TAKEN HOSTAGE ON CANOE EXPEDITIOJN

 

Situation ..

7 members of Orange River canoe expedition taken hostage, Gabon, Africa 

 

 How to escape..

Keep calm and try not to anger your captors by hurling insults

Stick together in your party if possible

Do not believe promises they may make as to your release

Pay caution if filming your captors, do not make it obvious you have a camera

Take encouragement in the arrival of the media

Keep cool, no heroics unless necessary

Upon release, take a holiday, maybe a canoeing trip 

 

 

CASE # 6  .. NIGHT CAMP DESTROYED BY HURRICANE

 

Situation..

Day 4, Oranger River canoe expedition, South Africa. Camp destroyed by hurricane in 10 seconds, when away collecting firewood. Tents blown 1 km upriver

 

How to escape..

Take up saw and axe

Cover face as for lake fly swarm (below)

Run back to camp as quick as you can

Take stock of gear and party members 

Pack tents and loose items if possible

Retreat to a sheltered location 

Send a recovery team to search for missing canoes and tents

Re-make camp 

 

CASE # 7  CAMP ON SINKING ISLAND

 

Situation..

Canoe group camped on flooding island, River Tay, Scotland, late October, 2 am.

 

How to escape..

Retreat to highest point of island

Build a floodsignal fire 2 feet below level of camp 

Check all torches are operational and ready

Keep canoes tethered, close by

From downstream point of island, scout for clear passage downstream in the event of total flooding 

Fix flood markers between river and camp at 1 metre intervals

Put a scout on duty to keep watch on markers

Just defore dawn, pack canoes and be ready to push off

Dawn - leave island

 

CASE # 8 CHOKING LAKE FLY SWAM

 

Situation..

Caught in a choking fly swarm, Lake Malwai.

Lake fly swarms are deadly, they swarm in their billions in a black clound, smoke stack fashion, up to 1 km wide..

 

How to escape..

Note direction a wind..if any

Pull shirt over head making sure you can still breathe

Paddle into the wind keeping as straight as possible

If no wind, paddle as straight as you can guess at.. you will be blind until you exit the swarm

Count your strokes and periodically check for a line of sight through the swarm

Paddle as fast as your breathing allows until free

 

CASE # 9 NEV PINNED AND TRAPPED BY HIS OWN CANOE

Situation..

River Greta, autumn trip. Canoe pinned on large boulder, broadside to current. Nev's foot trapped. Canoe folds in half.

How to escape..

Take up nearest throwline 

Throw over a stout limb of overhanging tree

Attatch to highest end of canoe

Heave on line to partially hoist end of canoe 

Signal to Nev to brace for movement

When canoe breaks free, 'slew' canoe into nearest eddy

Fold canoe back into shape

Get a fire on and warm up