Yak fisho pulled from water in Hauraki Gulf

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:21 pm

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/arti ... d=12311942

Sounds like no intentions left with shore contact, "...And nobody knows". SAR only activated after public discovered the empty kayak.
No idea why he didn't initiate search himself if he had cellphone and PLB on him.

If he had a VHF, he could have had a boat with him in minutes, or at worst talked Eagle in to his location...
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kingiFiddler
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Wed Feb 26, 2020 6:37 pm

That's what shits me about journalism these days - they can get away with utter bollocks and incompetence. Obvious questions for anyone not having gone through journo school to be asking are never asked. Even if they are asked but never answered they can at least advise that.

I don't trust being able to get a call out or text out on cell phone when in the water bobbing about with cold wet hands. The PLB - yeah, why not use it? Was it on his person?

Could he just not catch up to the yak in that sea/breeze when turfed out? Was the paddle tethered to the yak?

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:24 pm

More than a breeze looking at the whitecaps in the footage, kayak likely already a couple of metres away and gaining by the time he surfaced and got his bearings... I'd have the cowstail clipped on if solo in those conditions.
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kingiFiddler
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Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:28 am

But it's OK because the coastguard dude said the rescued dude did everything right , 'cept stay with the yak...and wear your life jackets kiddies. He pulled a PLB out of the centre consol as proof the yakker had taken one but didn't address why it wasn't used. Nobody addressed the factors that caused the emergency in the first place. Maybe someone here knows this guy and can fill in the blanks so we can all learn?

I've got a carabiner on a long tether (wound up but easily unwinds under tension) that stays clipped to the back of my seat (easy access) for if it gets ugly. Haven't needed it but it's there, easy to reach and tether me to the yak. Made the mistake of trying it out while playing in the surf, got tipped out, spat out the back of the wave and then dragged for what felt like a very long time by the yak. If I ever try that again it'll be a long surfing leg-rope for some give. But the dyneema tether is really only there for ugly seas and I pack up and head in long before it gets that bad. I gather if people are wider when it cuts up rough they could be in for a long haul, but I don't think this guy was 'out wide'.

We don't know if he checked a forecast before heading out, decided he'd stay fishing in the crap as weather deteriorated but it got the better of him on the paddle back in, got turfed out while fishing, anchor got stuck, paddle broke or was knocked/blown out of his hands, etc. Apart from "stay with your yak" and "wear a life jacket" that coastguard dude might as well have told us to "wear sunscreen kiddies" for all the good it did for anyone. Also, thanks to the pitiful excuse for journalism, we learned next to nothing.

Casualtyward
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Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:57 am

My thoughts exactly - so many unanswered (but obvious questions). If only it was Prince Harry, the media would have been right up in his grill and we'd know more than we needed to about the incident.

I don't remember the exact forecast, but I know it was such that I didn't even think about taking my kayak out over the weekend (and I've been dying to get out for weeks!). I stayed at home and BBQ'd. I was worried the wind would be cooling my BBQ too much (or might blow an ember away). The white caps are enough to suggest that once he went over the side his kayak would have blown away pretty quickly if he wasn't connected to it somehow. I don't have a tether, but my rods and paddle are leashed and I'm usually holding one or other.
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Marc N
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Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:40 am

Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:24 pm
More than a breeze looking at the whitecaps in the footage
Yes, from my sailing days, that's 15~20 knots.

An experienced Kayaker would have used one or other of his " cellphone and PLB".
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Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:47 pm

Chatted to a few much more experienced kayak fishers than me, topic was about fishing windy conditions safely while drifting
The consensus was.... if you get tipped out of your yak & not tethered to it, you have zero chance of catching up with it, even if you drop your pfd to give chase

Luckily it was a safe ending to the kayaker

Casualtyward
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Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:50 pm

The kayaker himself posted to the NZ kayak fishing group on Facebook group

People have been asking what happened with the kayaker rescue on Sunday. The media didn’t explain why. I think my story could be useful in this group.

Here is what happened.
For a bit of exercise on Sunday, I paddled from Browns Bay to Rangitoto and back. It was mainly across a SW wind. At some point on the way back, I noticed that the wind had completely unzipped the storage bag in the back of the kayak (Viking 400 Light) and it was full of water from the wave splashes. I tried hard but couldn't reach the zipper to zip it closed. I decided to fix it from the water. I attached the paddle to the kayak and slid into the water. I was used to getting off the kayak many times before, especially when going spearfishing but I didn't realise how powerful the wind was. When I turned around, the kayak was 1m from me and was moving. I did a desperate swimming sprint but ... the kayak was quicker. Within a couple of minutes, it had disappeared from my vision, together with my PLB and phone! I still had my old VHF with me in my life jacket. I tried many times to do a Mayday call on channel 16 and 64 but nobody heard me. All I could hear was noise and some voices from time to time.
The waves were carrying me out to the Hauraki Gulf. I decided that I might strike the top tip of Whangaparaoa or Tiri if I could swim across the wind towards Whangaparaoa. That was my last hope because in such weather there were no boats around to save me. I knew that my wife would call the police when it got dark. So realistically, I could expect that any search will only start next morning or 15 hrs later. I knew that my chances were extremely slim because even top of Whangaparaoa was 10-12 km away. I started swimming and kept going until the heli spotted me.
How were they alerted? It turns out that a wonderful man Gavin spotted my drifting kayak from his launch and ALERTED! the Coastguard.
Pure luck on my side. I am feeling as if I already stole this lottery ticket.
I hope I learned my lesson, although maybe a bit the hard way.

PS

GPS in the kayak was on and recording whole time. Below are the screenshots. I added a red star (the place where I left the kayak) and red arrows to show the direction. At some stage the kayak turned over and stopped recording. Later it was taken out of the water and the GPS started recording again.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm
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Kotare II
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kingiFiddler
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Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:46 pm

Thanks for posting that.

He was very lucky.

Sold my chilli bag for the same reason; water gets in if I'm not careful, way more than I'd like and it's slow to get out. Fark that. Everyone's mileage may vary but I consider it a major safety issue and won't ever have one on the yak again.

Any reason why the PLB wasn't on his person? It's doing SFA in the yak.

Any reason for no tether to yak, especially in those conditions?

Checked the forecast but decided to go anyway?

Gave nobody a time when home?

Why wait until slipping into the sea to tether paddle to yak? Was the plan to try and hang onto the paddle with one hand while dealing with the bag with the other? Somewhat sketchy in those conditions.

Why wasn't the Mayday call on channel 16 received? Too close to cliffs?

so many questions.

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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:18 am

Firstly, massive respect for the guy putting his hand up and allowing both sides of the story.
I tip my hat to you, sir.

The issue with the VHF would likely be low aerial height - transmitting from in the water, especially in swell gives poor, or no, line-of-sight to repeaters (supported by the reference to occasional voices). This is why I recommend a 5W minimum, preferably with boost to 6 or more. Aerial alignment is also important and holding it horizontal as all the trendy FBI types do on TV is no good.

I have been forced to take the plunge a couple of times to sort issues onboard. The key is a personal tether being available.

The takeaway from this is your safety kit (PLB/Phone/pinpoint flare) is no good unless you can get to it.
...and keep the bag zipped until you need it.

End of the day, no tears at home - and despite the 'exciting' journey, that's a good ending.
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Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:40 am

Great that this episode ended the way it did. Thanks for sharing, important lessons/reminders for all. I'm an inveterate tetherer... If I were to launch in the bath I'd be hooked up to my yak.
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kingiFiddler
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Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:25 am

Thanks HLD.

Anyone know of a handheld vhf antenna extension that is useable in a kayak without being a drama or getting in the way, can handle being in the water in a man-overboard scenario, and provides a signal boost that is actually worthwhile?

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Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:54 am

Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:18 am
The issue with the VHF would likely be low aerial height - transmitting from in the water, especially in swell gives poor, or no, line-of-sight to repeaters (supported by the reference to occasional voices). This is why I recommend a 5W minimum, preferably with boost to 6 or more. Aerial alignment is also important and holding it horizontal as all the trendy FBI types do on TV is no good.
There also has to be vessels out there to hear it. Don't think many people were around because the weather was unpleasant.

I don't understand why he had his catch bag in the first place. It doesn't sound like he was out fishing, just paddling around for fitness. And why leap off the kayak and pop up a metre away - wouldn't you just slip off the side with one hand still on the 'yak?
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Tue Mar 03, 2020 10:48 am

Casualtyward wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:54 am
Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:18 am
The issue with the VHF would likely be low aerial height - transmitting from in the water, especially in swell gives poor, or no, line-of-sight to repeaters (supported by the reference to occasional voices). This is why I recommend a 5W minimum, preferably with boost to 6 or more. Aerial alignment is also important and holding it horizontal as all the trendy FBI types do on TV is no good.
There also has to be vessels out there to hear it. Don't think many people were around because the weather was unpleasant.

I don't understand why he had his catch bag in the first place. It doesn't sound like he was out fishing, just paddling around for fitness. And why leap off the kayak and pop up a metre away - wouldn't you just slip off the side with one hand still on the 'yak?
Yeah not sure how that works, always grab the boat!

Adding an extension to your VHF antenna may work, but where I keep mine (Front pocket of my PFD) it would be whipping me in the nose every 2 seconds! Not sure which VHF he was carrying, but they vary massively in quality... Its like buying a bike helmet, the cheapest may "Work" until you actually NEED it.
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:53 pm

We did trials on aerials and whilst height trumped orientation, it wasn't practical in dense bush [read swell]. This is where the wattage and orientation comes in. Having done radio checks with handhelds whilst in the water, I can say that 3W is pretty much a waste of energy when you need it.

His dismount may also have been exacerbated by a swell that snatched it out of his hands. I have taken many people for self rescue training and they are always surprised when they surface and see their kayak heading off at 1m/s...in a light breeze. Plus a lot of (damn near all) kayaks these days have sidelines so tight you couldn't get your fingers under if you tried - but they do look sexy! My decklines hang like a 90-year olds (or 19 yo) trousers but there's plenty to [easily] grab or loop an arm under (I also replace the knife-like 4mm lines with 6 or 8mm too).

As far as the catch bag, whenever I do my ratrun (45km, outer Bay of Islands) I always go prepared to kill any hapless fish I stumble across. Just that his was open to catch water (not sure what brand, but never had wind unzip mine). I also see a lot of kayaks with USA style racks and holders, and baskets, and sticky-outy bits. Fine for (some) lakes, although there is always the natural reluctance to consign expensive gear to Davy Jones for the sake of an easy re-entry. A real life example of this is the number of 1S divers recovered off the bottom, still wearing weightbelts...some still hanging onto their catch bags full of Paua or Scollies, to the bitter end.
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Tue Mar 03, 2020 9:24 pm

Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:53 pm
Plus a lot of (damn near all) kayaks these days have sidelines so tight you couldn't get your fingers under if you tried - but they do look sexy! My decklines hang like a 90-year olds (or 19 yo) trousers but there's plenty to [easily] grab or loop an arm under (I also replace the knife-like 4mm lines with 6 or 8mm too).
Too many don't have decklines. Decklines, the "seatbelts" of kayaks. My decklines have a short length, 30 mm? 40mm? of 25 mm pipe on them. The water pipe has two holes drilled right through, parallel and only just the rope's diameter. This pipe slides along the rope from the bow-loop, both sides through the holes and tensions the decklines as much as is needed.
As far as the catch bag,.....
Not catch bags but what we'd have if we had them and we use them as deck bags, bags made from green mesh as used for garden plant shelter. A fine-ish mesh which won't hold water but holds anything else needed on deck, towline, radio, muesli bars.... They have Velcro fastening so no zips to fail. We have had some failure with them, wekas tend to bite holes in them.

kingiFiddler
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:46 am

Thanks for that info HLD. I've yet to buy a VHF but if I do will keep that in mind.

It's not just rogue waves but user error that make me at least tether rods, etc. It's for that reason I sold the zipped taggit fish bag after a few outings. There are other options that won't potentially trap water/weight for those of us not doing big hours on the water. I just don't trust myself to keep the zips completely closed, etc. Just like I still tether the rods, etc on a flat day - don't trust myself.

In my case preparing for the worst case scenario involves assuming I am the main point of failure.

Heck, I've tipped myself out on a calm, flat day just looking at a rod tip, forgetting where I was, losing my balance and over-correcting into the sea. It seems to me that in most of the kayak emergency scenarios I read about, if human error isn't the first failure, if often comes a close second.
Last edited by kingiFiddler on Wed Mar 04, 2020 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Marc N
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 8:34 am

Marc N wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:40 am
Hairy Little Dwarf wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 10:24 pm
More than a breeze looking at the whitecaps in the footage
Yes, from my sailing days, that's 15~20 knots.

An experienced Kayaker would have used one or other of his " cellphone and PLB".
I'd like to apologise to the swimmer, for the comment above, about using his cellphone and PLB. I am, after reading the above thread, mortified about how quickly the 'yak got away on him. Thankfully he came out of this OK.

If you want to see some good hunting and fishing carry on, there's this Josh James Kiwi Bushman on the utubery, that chronicles things like, going out with the bung missing, running out of fuel kilometres off the West Coast, getting a fishhook through the finger etc, though these may have been staged for views, they seem real enough....
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Hairy Little Dwarf
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:06 pm

No reason to apologise bud.
No point having all the 'Get out of jail free' cards if they're in the kayak departing at a high rate of knots....

I read an article last year about the lengths people will go to, to get views once they're monetised on The Tube.
Fish hooks in fingers is the bottom end of the drama scale.

This, however, wasn't one of them.
This was someone who genuinely didn't correctly assess the [potential] situation.

As an aside, I winced at a comment on another group that should know better, that suggested if he wasn't wearing a PFD, he would've been able to catch the kayak.... In that scenario, I'd put money on the table that at 3am, he'd sell his soul for a PFD as he said his goodbyes, alone, in the dark...When you've been on the other (body recovery) end, you have little sympathy for logic like that.

If in doubt, don't go out
If you find yourself watching the sets/whitecaps for more than a few minutes - don't go out.
If you find yourself at constant unease, clip on and head in
If you find yourself beyond your experience, clip on, radio (yes, radio) it in, and head in.
If in over your head, activate EVERY rescue resource you have before it becomes critical.
and never [NEVER] remove the PFD.

Search and Rescue will never think less of you. Guaranteed.


HLD
Phoenix Hornet - Specialty Assault Craft

Dad! Dad! Look at his fish! It's way bigger than anything you've EVER caught! - Nosey 7-8yo boy on opening my icebox to father strapping down his $XXX Stabicraft 759(?) - Gold. Pure Gold.

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Marc N
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Thu Mar 05, 2020 7:37 am

"If you find yourself watching the sets/whitecaps for more than a few minutes - don't go out."

Yes, the last two times, I've been out to Piha, to go through the hole in the rock at dawn, I went home without getting my feet wet.
Yu Co
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