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whitewater play advanced paddlers 2 days
Ottawa River - Keith gets worked by Phil
Saturday, August 11, 2001 to Sunday, August 12, 2001
length: 16.0km, 2 days
difficulty: advanced

leader: nobody
organizer: Kalin Pallett
participants: Chris Mack, Keith Nunn, Nicole Mack, Kalin Pallett, `Mad' Mike Marr (Phantom), Jonathan Elliot (Quake), Ann, Wendy Gilmour (with Ann in an Evergreen Starburst), a large number of c-boaters from the US

An excellent trip to the Ottawa and my first time. Aaah.

I escaped a Baskin family reunion at Baskins Beach and tagged onto a group of other c-types who were gathering at the Ottawa Roiver for some fun on McCoy's, the Middle Channel and the Main Channel. We met at River Run near Cobden (my boyhood home) and madethe shuttle upstream to McCoys and the start of adventure.

The trip was nominally led by Kalin Pallet, an avid c-boater on the whtewater scene. He was paddling and a Dagger Quake and other open canoes included Chris Mack (Dagger Rival), `mad' Mike Marr (Dagger Phantom), one other Quake paddler, Jonathan Elliot, and myself (Dagger Genesis). In oc2 was Ann and Wendy in an Evergreen Starburst. There were a large number of closed c-boaters from the US up for the fun as well.

I gave McCoy's a miss on Saturday, because, I confess, I was intimidated. It's big. More on that later. I watched rafts crash through it for a while and pondered their place on the river.

Most of the rest of the group ran the top of McCoy's by 'threading the needle' between the two holes (Sattler's and Phil's), although a couple tried the scary ferry and wound up visiting Phil in his hole.

We ran down the middle channel on Saturday saving the big stuff for Sunday.

The middle channel was fun and provided a good challenge. It's the obvious choice for open boats at most levels, but at -2 is almost too low to run.

I don't have any particular moments that stick out on the middle, but it was fun. Lower no name was pretty dry and I wound up scraping down a few metres of it.

Mad Mike was a great guy and led me out of there in time to meet my wife, horribly late for dinner. Oops. This was the first time Mike saved my bacon.

On Sunday we returned. I barely made it in time to meet the group.

Today, I decided I'd run McCoy's! I picked the most straightforward line: "threading the needle to get between Sattler's hole amnd Phil's hole. I blew it. I missed the line and didn't realize it in time to straighten out. Phil grabbed me side ways in a very sticky part of the wave, forced my airbag out, held me in a side surf and spat me out. No roll attempt as I was busy hanging onto my glasses. I tried to tow my boat to the far shore because that's where the safest eddy was, but a Genesis with one airbag is a heavy thing indeed.

I was saved from my own stupidity in fighting the ferry current by Mad Mike who pulled out my boat and threw me a line. Exhausted, I rested and watched the others play for a bit before heading downstream to eat some lunch and wait for the rest of the group.

Well rested when the others arrived, my confidence was still feeling a bit beaten up. The next rapid is Garburator, a big fat wave with some serious standing waves on the outflow. I missed my intended line, but got some great airtime on the way over the standing waves. I stayed upright and in control and confidence returned.

The rest of the day was mostly one large, rapid after another with some interludes to to hit sweet eddies real high and surf and try some spins (not very realistic in a Genesis).

Butcher's knife was an especially cool rapid with a somewhat technical line and a very swirly rapid at the end called brain douche, because it has a habit of sucking kayakers to the bottom.

Coliseum was awesome and although I didn't quite make my line, I came through damn near dry. No mean feat on this big rapid.

The last stop was a nice wave a Farmer Black's. A great waver for surfs, spins and other stuff. Mad Mike managed to get his boat all the way out on an ender. A very significant task for an open boat, even one as short as a Phantom.

I was tired, but wanted one more surf before we paddled out. Error. Front surf quickly turned to sidesurf to front, to other side to over. A quick lunge for the glasses and ... failure.

Shit. Stupid idiot. Forgot the Chums strap, but should have tied them to my helmet. I am paddling with a group, but I'm driving solo in a rented car.

Ok. It's daylight. I can still see large objects like boats and cars. I can't read signs or maps, but I know the route (having driven it three times over Sat and Sun). I can see stop signs. I don't see any other options. I drive back to Baskin's Beach as soon as I can so that I can get there in the daylight. I make and get told I'm a stupid man. Not really surprising.

After dropping $350 for new glasses I am wiser, but poorer. Was it worth it? You bet! This is one awesome piece of river.

I recognise that this trip is beyond most of you in your canoes, but Chris and I think a six-person raft filled with real paddlers would be a real hoot. This river is big, but it's safe and I know you're up to it! Who'd like to take a raft trip in the new year? Hmmm?

posted by: Keith Nunn

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