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 Post subject: Heartbreak on the Wanipigow
PostPosted: August 11th, 2008, 8:33 pm 
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Location: winnipeg
This was to be a 1 week trip from Wallace Lake (Manitoba East Side)to the Gammon river and back.4 of my daughters coincided their holidays with mine, to make it a family trip.

We got to Wallace Lake in the early afternoon, loaded up the 2 canoes, and were on our way. As usual, there was a brisk headwind blowing, which made it a bit of a chore to get to the mouth of the river. We were paddling the Wenonah Sundowner, and the old Bluewater Prospector. Susan and I in the Prospector and the other 3 in the Sundowner. We stopped on the lee side of an island and had lunch, and when we got to the river, stopped on a rock to make tea/coffee.

We got through the first 4 rapids/portages with no surprises, but the 5th was the heartbreaker. Susan and I were in the lead. I stood up and had a look. It was a pretty clear shot till the bottom, where there was a rock in the middle, a shallow ledge on the left, and a good clean run on the right.

We headed down, but at the bottom, we got sucked over to the left side of the rock. Instead of letting the canoe scrape over the shelf, we tried to bring the canoe around to the other side. We got ½ way, and the force of the water pushed us up against the rock. We tried to free it, but it turned on its side and filled up with water. I was afraid Susan might get jammed behind it so I told her to let it go.

The current wrapped the canoe around the rock, and our stuff went floating off down the river. Susan went after it, and Annie came running down the portage and jumped in to help her collect our packs.

Meanwhile, back at the rock, I could only watch, as the canoe bent in half. The floor was touching the yoke, and there was a mighty CRACK as the left gunwale snapped in half. The Kevlar was torn ½ way to the bottom. The canoe was not moving, as the flow of water was pinning the bow and stern around the rock. I was pretty sure it was there forever.

In desperation, I tried lifting it in time to the pulse of the current. One, two, three, LIFT. I almost had it, but not quite high enough, and the river won that round. I knew I had 1 more chance before my back said no. This time on three, I got it high enough that one end emptied, and the canoe rolled around to the side of the rock. There was a “whump”, and the bottom popped back into shape. I lifted it out of the water (the water was about up to my waist) to empty it, and hopped back in to see if it was still seaworthy. It was paddlable, but somewhat worrisome to look at, as it seemed as if it wanted to finish tearing in half.

We made camp on the portage, and after some discussion, decided continuing on would not be prudent. I patched it up with ductape, and wired the gunwale together, and the next day we headed back to Wallace Lake. We went home and got the Sandpiper, and went back to the road into Caribou Landing. 4K.before Quesnel Lake, there is a creek on the right hand side of the road that goes to a pretty little lake called Big Clearwater Lake. We have a spot there that we really like, so we camped there for the rest of the week.

The canoe is repairable; it needs new gunwales, a yard or two of cloth, and a jug of epoxy, plus some spare time (which is always at a premium for me).

I really enjoyed the time with my girls, and we had a blast in spite of the unfortunate event.

Greg


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 11th, 2008, 9:12 pm 
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Joined: October 25th, 2005, 8:24 pm
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Location: Stillwater, Minnesota
Is the middle picture the rock where you wrapped it?


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 Post subject: My condolences . . .
PostPosted: August 11th, 2008, 9:28 pm 
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Joined: September 8th, 2006, 7:11 pm
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Location: winnipeg
Sorry to hear about your canoe. My prospector recently had a run in with a tractor tire. Epoxy really is amazing stuff, though.

There is an aluminum boat in Buzzard Falls (ELA) where the sides are pinned at the top of the falls, the bottom and transom is pinned further down, and the gunwales are washed out on the shore. The deck plate looks like someone with a pick-axe was angry! It could have been worse (as if that helps!)

Good luck with your repair.


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PostPosted: August 12th, 2008, 12:34 am 
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Location: Saskatoon
Heartbreaker to be sure. But .... you and the girls are OK, you still had a good time, you were still "out there", and you had an adventure that ought to be worth a few rounds.

Thanks for sharing the story.

Cheers,
Bryan

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 19th, 2008, 9:11 pm 
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Joined: April 6th, 2003, 9:04 am
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Location: winnipeg
Quote:
Is the middle picture the rock where you wrapped it?

That's it. It doesn't look like much,I guess that's why it caught us by surprise.

I think if it was an aluminium canoe,it would still be there.

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If you've got it spend it.If you haven't got it borrow it and spend it.A penny saved is a penny wasted.
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PostPosted: August 19th, 2008, 10:24 pm 
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Joined: January 1st, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Plainfield, Indiana USA
Wow! Glad to hear all of you are safe. Hope to be in your area next year possibly paddling the Grass.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 5:37 am 
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Hey Wapoose, good to hear from you again but not under these circumstances. Do you have a picture of the tear in the hull?

Everything is repairable. Like Mr canoehead says, epoxy is some amazing stuff!

Glad to hear everyone made it OK except for bruised pride and a broken heart.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 20th, 2008, 12:09 pm 
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Joined: January 11th, 2005, 4:58 pm
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Location: Manitoba
In the future, feel free to contact me about a moving water canoe course.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: August 25th, 2008, 8:03 am 
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Joined: August 22nd, 2008, 6:30 am
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Location: Louisiana (Cajun Country)
Had similar incidence happen to me in Arkansas on the Caddo river. Boat was no older than six months. Cracked both chines. Repaired fairly easy and nobody was hurt. My feelings were of course, but as somebody already said it could have been worse.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2008, 9:08 am 
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Joined: July 28th, 2008, 9:29 pm
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Location: Winnipeg
Gee we were up that way Aug8-15. You missed a nice trip. If you had gotten a little farther you would have seen the red canoe with the hole in it also. I would not have run any of that water as the chances of stranding yourself in that country are pretty good. We walked one spot....#4 I think...and even got into a bit of trouble doing that. The water was just too low to be messing around like that.
I can't imagine running the third one. As it was, my boat was missing a lot of glass from the keel when we got back. I am thinking of putting some metal down it to deal with the scrapes and bashes.

We left Wallace around 2 pm and stopped for the night at the 3rd portage as we knew that it was a longish ways to Leaf Lake yet and that was a nice spot to camp. The bottom of Leaf Lake was completely choked with grass and made for a tough paddle. The top end was blocked a bit too but we did manage to find a way through.

For those of you who may wonder, there are 10 portages to Leaf Lake and they are not long, the most being maybe 100 yards and some of the rest being maybe 20 yards or so. Makes me wonder why you would bother trying to run them when it is so easy to make the portage. I wouldnt like to try walking out from there.
Too bad your trip went sour, we had a fantastic time. I think I may just try your alternate site this fall, it sounds pretty easy to access by myself.

........Christy and Karin


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