By The Skin of Your Chinny Chin Chin
Recalling my ride in the car of doom from yesterdays post I was reminded of the same situation that came about when a friend with a two person kayak asked me to join him in paddling from Altoona to Rice Island on the Columbia.
I’ve kayaked the Columbia in my kayaks before, but this was the first time I was going to be at the mercy of an unsafe craft of someone else. This was a wooden framed kayak that was skinned with vinyl. I’m not talking about thick vinyl like in vinyl siding, but rather the vinyl that was used on cars with vinyl tops or maybe Nalgahyde furniture. It was thin and stretched tight over the frame. Rips were repaired with duct tape.
I felt uneasy at first, but my confidence grew as we got into deeper water. I was warned to look out for submerged pilings. A piling could rip through the craft with ease leaving us in the drink in little time.
When we returned to shore I realized that several of the duct tape patches were separating from the skin. Another hour in the water and we would have been swimming. The owner wasn’t bothered a bit. He ripped off the failing pieces, dried the vinyl and applied more tape. I never went back or attempted another trip with him. I found out the other day he is still alive and still paddling. That is truly amazing.