PaddleWise Discussion on Ice Swimming




Date: Tue, 5 Jan 1999 13:24:52 -0700
From: Sharky 
Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] Ice Swimming

Clyde Sisler wrote:
Application of a dose of Canadian Ballast Rocks (TM) would certainly solve
that problem. ...

Actually that is the answer.

In my younger days I worked as a commercial diver (hard hat).  When people 
used the old canvas coffins (brass hats and canvas and rubber suits you see 
in movies), they wore lead shoes (17lbs each).  The back of the legs could 
also be laced up to keep your feet from 'blowing up' and rapidly returning 
you to the surface, which is contraindicated.

I don't know about the Gortex dry suits since the dry suits I've used were 
either canvas (see above) or neoprene, however, you lose most (I believe it 
80%) of your body heat through your head. When I was in the water for hours 
I had a dry head (because of the gear I was using) and although I got cold, 
it was manageable.

My suggestion would be to wear whatever is most comfortable for the main 
activity, under your dry suit, and then wear a hat.

Warmth from a dry suit does not come from its' insulation, it comes from 
the fact that you're dry.  Water transfers heat something like a 100 times 
faster than air.  So if you're wet from sweat inside your dry suit because 
you wore too many clothes, you'll end up colder than if you wore less and 
sweated less.  IMHO.  (When standing around on deck we used to vent our dry 
suits by either holding the neck ring open or the wrist gaskets open to 
prevent the build up of sweat inside the suit.)

Sharky


Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 14:25:22 -0600 From: Patrick Maun Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] New Year's Paddle Michael Daly wrote: >I paddled on Jan 1 1998 with some folks in Windsor ON on >the Detroit river. This was an annual event for them and some >paddlers had considerable experience with paddling in ice >infested waters. One fellow had a pair of Philips screwdrivers >under the bungies on his fore deck. He had drilled holes in the >tops of the handles and ran lines through them. The other end >of the line was tied to a snap hook that was hooked to the bungies. Last year, a group of us built some of these using wooden dowels drilled wil a hole and filled with a penny nail. Throw on a metal eyelet on the end and attach some cord and you have essentially the same thing with even more 'biting power'. I would stick some cork on the nails to keep the nails from puncturing clothing. Using these, you can drag yourself up an ice shelf after a dunking during backcountry skiing or kayaking.. Patrick Maun
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 16:32:21 -0500 From: "Richard Culpeper" Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] Ice Swimming In the mid-70s I came across a book promoting winter camping using closed cell foam. The author went into great detail as to how to cut and tape pieces of ensolite together to make a winter suit, and then went on to explain that it was imperative not to perspire. He recommended that one should put on the suit and then sit quietly in the snow, avoiding all motion. I thought that this was too dull an activity to become popular, but then about fifteen years later I came across a study which found that sitting was the most popular form of recreation -- not sitting while talking, or reading, or watching the TV -- just sitting. It was then that I realized that the author of the winter camping book was a man ahead of his time. On related notes, lately there has been a thread on the BWCA/Quetico list concerning whether or not one should tote other parties' packs on portages - -- the consensus seems to be no. Just a few minutes ago I received an e-mail from a friend saying that he and his partner will be out skiing tonight, even though the temperature will be -30 less an additional wind chill warning, and that I should not be surprised to come across them frozen into a snow drift like popsicles. Putting all this together, I have come to the conclusion that snowbank sitting will become a popular winter recreational activity as we end the millenium (just as flag pole sitting was a popular summer activity in the 30s), and I would urge all PaddleWise readers to respect the wishes of those whom they might come across laying about in drifts. Please don't try to warm them up or feed them. Just let them commune with nature. Richard Culpeper Ring-ding-ding-ringa-ringa-ding-ding www.geocities.com/~culpeper
Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 02:01:38 -0800 From: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com Subject: [Paddlewise] more on ice, etc > >I paddled on Jan 1 1998 with some folks in Windsor ON on > >the Detroit river. This was an annual event for them and some > >paddlers had considerable experience with paddling in ice > >infested waters. One fellow had a pair of Philips screwdrivers > >under the bungies on his fore deck. He had drilled holes in the > >tops of the handles and ran lines through them. The other end > >of the line was tied to a snap hook that was hooked to the bungies. > > Last year, a group of us built some of these using wooden dowels drilled > wil a hole and filled with a penny nail. Throw on a metal eyelet on the end > and attach some cord and you have essentially the same thing with even more > 'biting power'. I would stick some cork on the nails to keep the nails from > puncturing clothing. Using these, you can drag yourself up an ice shelf > after a dunking during backcountry skiing or kayaking.. Looking at this reminded me of an article and sidebar I ran in my newsletter in 1992 about Gail Ferris, a Connecticut paddler who now lives in Greenland. Some tips in the sidebar are relevant here. START SIDEBAR, FOLDING KAYAKER JAN/FEB 1992... GAIL'S GUIDE TO DEALING WITH ICE AND POOR VISIBILITY Have you done much winter paddling? How do you like that sheet of ice on a banked beach? Gets in the way of launching and landing, doesnít it? Gotten lost in fog lately? Or been out after darkness has set in, and realized the limits of your night vision? Such conditions, which are scary to most of us, are the meat and potatoes of Gailís paddling. The area around Gailís home in the town of Stony Creek is prone to ice buildup on its shores because of fresh water streams meeting the cold waters of Long Island Sound. Gail often paddles in darkness or fog. Sheís worked up some sound techniques for dealing with these. Icy Landings and Launches Gail has two tools that are indispensable for getting in and out of the water at tricky, iced-over shorelines and boat ramps as well as an interesting technique when the tools donít work or have been forgotten back home. Gail carries an ordinary garden hoe to use as a hook to help pull her on to ice and to ease passage into the water. She has one with slightly rounded edges so as not to cut the fabric deck of her folding kayak. One with a shortened handle is best. You would be surprised at how well a hoe works under icy conditions. Not as good as a mountaineering ice axe but a lot friendlier to your skin boat. Another device is a childís plastic toboggan, the kind that rolls up. How does Gail use this? If there is too much distance to be traversed on ice, she ties the toboggan to the bow of her boat. This keeps having the hypalon hull of Klepper from being scratched by jagged sharp edges of packed ice. The technique that works for getting up on an icy shore or ramp when tools arenít handy is fairly simple. Gail carefully climbs out of her cockpit. She then straddles the boat. Now she can push or pull the boat between her legs a foot or two at a time while her booties are relatively well planted on the ice. By virtually sitting on the boat she avoids a nasty spill. It would be virtually impossible to get enough traction if she were pulling from either end of the boat. All of the above are aimed at getting in or out of the water at an ice-filled shoreline. But Gail also uses the hoe while on the water when going through tight ice floes. The hoe gives her some purchase on the ice to pull her kayak along through leads a lot better than would her paddle, which could easily get nicked by the ice. She has actually found that it is preferable to go backwards through such ice with the hoe, or with her paddles when there is enough swing room. Her experience tells her that she has more power going backwards than forward whether paddling or hoeing. In A World Of Limited Vision Obviously, a compass is your best friend but there are other things that help you too. At times of limited vision, in fog or in darkness she experienced during early morning commutes from Rodgers Island to her regular job, Gail relied on several techniques. First, Gail observed, especially in dark early morning hours, that her straight ahead vision was quite limited but it was marginally better to the sides and at angles. Next, she used a seat-of-the pants approach to read the seas around her. If it was a following sea, which was often the case entering Stony Creek harbor, Gail read the waves. If the space increased between waves, she knew a larger one was building up behind her and to steel herself for it. Of late, Gail has been feeling out another technique, distinguishing wave patterns. I was with her on a day paddle on her turf in late December and we came upon a phenomenon which could be of use when you canít see anything or are not in sight of land. Gail had earlier observed that waves tend to stack up when they meet land, after coming across a long distance or fetch. What you experience in your boat is sharp up and down movement rather than rolling as you would with sea swells. This is a phenomenon well known to Polynesian sailors who have traversed hundreds of miles without benefit of compasses. Up and down waves rebound off of land and can be felt quite far out. Clearly, in the confused world of power boats and tight land contours that surround us, the pattern is not so pronounced as on broad reaches of the Pacific. But the phenomenon exists and it may be worthwhile seeing how much so in your neck of the woods. ...END SIDEBAR hope you enjoyed, ralph diaz - -- - ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Ralph Diaz . . . Folding Kayaker newsletter PO Box 0754, New York, NY 10024 Tel: 212-724-5069; E-mail: rdiaz@ix.netcom.com "Where's your sea kayak?"----"It's in the bag." - -----------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 14:23:43 -0500 From: Steve Cramer Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] more on ice, etc rdiaz@ix.netcom.com wrote: > > Another device is a childís plastic toboggan, the kind that rolls up. > How does Gail use this? If there is too much distance to be traversed > on ice, she ties the toboggan to the bow of her boat. This keeps having > the hypalon hull of Klepper from being scratched by jagged sharp edges > of packed ice. Neat idea. If it works on ice, it'll work on other surfaces as well, although with more friction. I happen to have a few scraps of HDPE laying about. I'll just fabricate a little drag pad that I can strap on the bow. Who needs those $200 carts? Sometimes I'm so clever I scare me. Steve - -- Test Scoring & Reporting Services Sometimes, you never can University of Georgia always tell what you Athens, GA 30602-5593 least expect the most.
Date: Thu, 07 Jan 1999 16:00:39 -0700 From: Steve Jernigan Subject: [Paddlewise] ice on flatwater (long winded) Hi All! So I got me a new (used) canoe for Xmas. Just had to try it out, so at the first opportunity I haul it to the nearest likelyhood of finding open water, which happens to be a large reservoir 'bout an hours drive south. When I get to my usual put-in, I'm greeted by an impressive view across the wide expanse of ice covering the entire western part of the resv. Now, I can see that the main body of water to the east is open, and I'm just about to bite the bullet and pay the entry fee to the state park / marina when a couple of duck hunters appear. They tell me that the next cove to the east has open water, and ask me to chase a few birds their way. Being reluctant to share the boat ramp with the big boys, (and mostly being cheap), I toss the canoe over a shoulder and march off thru the mud -n- snow. Paddled east into a bit of a headwind for a couple of miles, hugging the shore and staying in the lee as much as possible. Meanwhile, the breeze has freshened into a fairly steady ~20 MPH wind from the east, so naturally I'm thoroughly enjoying the return trip, so much so that I blow (literally) rite past the little inlet with open water from whence I had departed. I set up to crank around into the lee of the last headland before my (usual) put-in, and THE ICE IS THERE!!! I'm already further from shore than is prudent, so I really get serious about making this turn and THE ICE IS THERE TOO!!! I can see the solid/liquid interface by where the waves quit off in the distance, but up close, and in the partial shelter of the headland, and with the afternoon sun in my eyes I'm having a hard . time . distinguishing . just . . where . . . GRUUNK!!! Now at this point I should mention that my new (used) boat is rather rounder in the hull than my usual steed, and this, coupled with the unfortunate fact that I have lost a tequila-drinking contest with The Lady the night before and so am about 1/2 hung over, has already stressed my equilibrium nearly to the breaking point. Luckily, I have already scrubbed most of my forward momentum, and so the impact is more of a slide than a blow. In fact, my port chine actually comes up onto THE ICE nearly spilling me out to starboard. Thru no fault of my own, I slide back into the water with the canoe still under me. Wide-eyed, I thrust against THE ICE with my paddle, which of course promptly slips and very nearly precipitates me into the water to port. I sit very still while the adrenaline surge subsides and my pulse rate drops back to something less than 200. Once I can see clearly again, I take stock of my predicament. I have inadvertently followed a V shaped lead for about 50ft before running aground (a-ice?), and now find myself surrounded on three sides by THE ICE, with the wind striving to push me back up onto it. Carefully probing with my paddle I find that I am floating in very shallow water with ice directly below me as well as on both sides; perhaps I have flexed the ice sheet coming aground, as it appears to be quite thin, perhaps 1/2 inch. My spare paddle is one of those aluminum shafted things and I have frequently cursed (but never repaired) it's loose grip, and I soon hold it reversed, sans grip, and use the open end to pole myself backward with my port chine bumping and grinding queasily along THE ICE. With a final shove I push away from THE ICE, reverse the paddle (grip? we don' need no stinkin' grip!), and spin that sucker around like a top. Belive me, a brisk headwind with 1 1/2ft waves never felt so good. In no time at all I find myself sitting in the local McD's wolfing a McGrease burger and contemplating mortality. Suppose I'd have gone swimming? The water wasn't particularly warm or anything. I was wearing my PFD, but was dressed for the 50F air temperature (jeans, sweatshirt, gortex shell jacket) with all of my warmer stuff (and two-way radio) in my dry-bag tied in the canoe. Where I grounded was only about 200ft from dirt, but that was 200ft of ice. Nearest approach to shore via water more like 1000ft. Crawl across 200ft of 1/2 inch thick ice, even if I could manage to drag my fat butt up onto it? Not likely! Swim 1000ft in ~40F water? Attempt to empty and re-board an unfamiliar boat already noted to be somewhat tippy? Hmmmm! Best I can figure,someone watches out for the fools in this world! The other thing I decided is that the reason I experienced difficulty determining where liquid met solid was (I think) because the wind was pushing waves up over the ice. Scary! Be careful out there folks! ByeBye! Steve J.
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 19:41:24 -0500 (EST) From: Neil Somos Subject: Re: [Paddlewise] ice on flatwater I don't have superior skill, or a lot of experience. I don't trust my ability to avoid trouble. I don't even trust my luck (what little I might have). So whenever I go out on the water on anything other than boats big enough to have their own life-rafts, I always make sure I am prepared to take a swim, whether I am planning on swimming or not. I guess what I trust is taking reasonable precautions against what might be a worst-case scenario. So, how do you avoid having to use superior skill? Use good judgement. How do you get good judgement? Learn from experience. How do you get experience? >From having poor judgement! I'll beat myself up for making mistakes, but as long as I never make the SAME mistake TWICE, I figure I have still managed to learn something. neal
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 1999 14:35:44 -0000 From: Larry Mills Subject: RE: [Paddlewise] ice on flatwater (long winded) If I could add a story to the Be Careful Out There group, in about 1972,3,4, while I was living in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., there was a canoeist named John Oakley who put in on the Chippewa river (100 ft. wide, 10 ft. deep most of the way) one day in January. He rounded a bend and came to a wider spot where the surface had frozen. While running his canoe up the ice and breaking through, the boat flipped and he was thrown into the water out in the middle of the wide space. He was not wearing a PFD or much in the way of protective clothing. Someone happened to discover him in the water and called the rescue folks and his wife. She put her own canoe into the river and got to him in time to hold him up until the rescue team could get to them with a boat large enough to pull him in and get him back to shore. He survived. So, what's so remarkable about this? Oakley is a champion marathon long distance canoe paddler. In 1972 he won at least one leg of the three-part international canoe championship that takes place in NY, Michigan and Quebec. He owned a canoe livery on the river and was familiar with every inch of the water in the area. His skills far exceeded those necessary to safely paddle this river. He survived because his wife was also a champion canoeist and given her level of ability was able to get to him in time and because he was in such terrific physical condition. And because he was lucky. And because he was lucky. And because he was lucky. He made some bad decisions and it almost cost him everything. If this might happen to someone at his level, every one of us is equally if not more susceptible to proving Darwin was right. So do be careful out there. Larry Mills Warm & dry. Purchase, NY