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Missing Kayakers in Caso Bay - Time for Navigation Workshop??


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Navigation was covered in the Fundamentals I and II with MIKCo in June but, honestly, there were so many other things I was trying to absorb during the two days I felt like we just scratched the surface. I would welcome additional training/work in this area. What I learned was just enough to make me aware of how much I need to learn and how important these skills are.

So I'd be all for a navigation workshop and am willing to help out however I can in assisting with putting something together.


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It's amazing how fast the world can dissapear in coastal Maine! First rule of paddling Maine should be-no chart-no compass-no go! I really enjoy paddling by chart and compass in the fog,but without the proper equiptment,I'm sure it could be terrifying. It also doesn't hurt to have a GPS unit,with at least a starting waypoint,and maybe some secondaries as you go. This of course,is only a backup. Chart and compass,and know how to use them is primary. The other backup is a cell phone,or at least a VHF radio. This would have saved a lot of anxiety in this case,I'm sure.

I have done Ken Fink's navigation class a couple of times,and his "point and shoot" method makes kayak deck navigation relatively easy. I recommend his class highly if you see it listed.

It's always nice to paddle out of the fog,and land at your intended destination.

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Glad that the people turned up. At the GMSKS there were about 20 in Ken's workshop; I don't know how many in his second one. I know that he did not cover everything he wanted to in his first one. I had maybe 10 in my session and only about 4 in the GPS session. GPS is so easy that people have probably sorted it out, but I have found few that have sorted out the easy ways to get from GPS to chart and back again.

Having taught nav in both guide courses and in aca courses, the big problem is practice. It took a semester in college to cover nav many years ago in nrotc; the CG auxiliary / Power Squadron takes weeks to do a good job. To get my CG license I had to work to a degree, which is big deep boat stuff, and the key is problem sets. Some years ago we ran a test course for the ACA with a number of "name" instructors from the south. Stonington served up a couple of days of boatlength stuff, forcing everyone to really work. For self instruction spend lots of time with chart, protractors/ hiking compass, nav aids, parallel line stuff until fixes, bearings back bearings, course and speed calculations are second nature. Practice taking range and bearing to waypoints from your GPS to the chart. Practice using your hands to measure distance and bearings, make and use smart strings,etc. And have fun.

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Note that this article says 18ft kayak type outrigger, maybe it was an outrigger canoe?

from http://www.eagletribune.com/

Andover kayakers found

By Alex Quinones

Staff writer

An Andover couple lost in Maine's Casco Bay found their way to safety this morning after spending the night on one of the bay's many islands.

Michael Handa, 61, and Ellen Handa, 55, of 377 Salem St. in Andover were reported missing off the coast of Portland about 7 p.m. yesterday by the husband of Cindy McNett, 44, of Topsham, Maine.

McNett was with the couple in their 18-foot kayak-type outrigger when they failed to return home from what was supposed to be an hourlong trip from Jewell Island to Basin Point.

About 12 hours later, the experienced paddlers found their way to safety. This morning, the trio told The Eagle-Tribune about their night without shelter in Casco Bay.

An hour into their trip, Michael Handa said the fog rolled in and it was like being in a "big cloud." Rather than find their way home, the three decided to find a place to spend the night.

"We didn't want to keep paddling and find we had drifted out into the ocean," McNett said.

They circled the rocky shores of Bangs Island and found a clearing to pull up on shore. They had no sleeping bags or tents, and did not intend to spend the night.

But the weather forced them to stay. It rained several times throughout the night, forcing them to sleep on a rock that provided some shelter.

"What was uncomfortable was the passing rain showers. Half a dozen rain showers," Michael Handa said.

At times, the trio said the fog would lift enough for them to see house lights on nearby Chebeague Island. They considered getting back out on the water but decided to just wait until morning.

"We were worried the fog might appear again and we'd get lost again," Handa said.

At 6:30 a.m. today, the trio paddled up to the island. There, they found Will Vaughan, who was bailing out water from his boat. Vaughan took him to the home of his friend Bill Armstrong.

Armstrong was upstairs reading a local newspaper blurb about the trio's disappearance and was considering going out on his 30-foot boat to try to find the paddlers himself.

Armstrong said he found the paddlers cold and drenched. He gave them dry bathrobes, threw their clothes in the dryer, and served them hot tea while they waited for an 8 a.m. ferry ride back to the mainland.

"I know that if I am out on my boat, people will come to my aid," Armstrong said.

The Coast Guard deployed two rescue boats and a helicopter that had to be called in because of mechanical problems.

"They were out all night searching," said 1st Class Cadet Jared Harlow of the Coast Guard.

Harlow said the boats were called back in at 6:45 a.m. after the paddlers notified the Coast Guard they were all right.

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