Slippery Otters Paddling Club

Slippery Otters Paddling Club

Promoting paddling sports to foster an appreciation for their benefits of fun, adventure, and fitness.

We have made our way to the Pacific Coast.

It is warm and sunny here, and the sunset over the Pacific was beautiful last night. Yesterday was so special. I will be writing all about it. My notes from…

It is warm and sunny here, and the sunset over the Pacific was beautiful last night. Yesterday was so special. I will be writing all about it.

My notes from yesterday:

  • Big water
  • After the flood
  • Huge trees littering the banks
  • Muddy water
  • It is a river reborn. The river is still finding itself as it cuts new channels and forms new rapids still unnamed.
  • Thunderstorm
  • Constant rain
  • We were almost naked to the elements
  • The darkness, lightening and thunder set the stage
  • A natural soundtrack with special effects
  • When it ended everyone was so psyched, so excited
  • It was badass!
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FAQ: Are your mentions from endorsements?

FAQ: Are any of the businesses and people that you mention in your blog compensating you for your endorsement? Great question, and the short answer is no. I am not…

FAQ: Are any of the businesses and people that you mention in your blog compensating you for your endorsement?

Great question, and the short answer is no. I am not paid by anyone or any business for what I share on my blog. I am not paid for endorsements and I am not getting any discounts from the companies that I do business with. If I ever do, I will share that in my blog entry. I would love to monetize this platform but right now all I am focused on is producing good content. I love to write and I hope to become a better writer. When I have a negative experience I will share it on these pages but I will not name names in this public forum. When I have a positive experience I will share names and contact information. I have been asked to review a few products. When I do write a product review I will tell my readers that I was given a product to test and review.

Zane

Photo: Rio Pacure, Costa Rica 

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New Year

How will you remember New Year’s Day 2018? I won’t have any trouble remembering that day. My beautiful wife and I were in Costa Rica. We had already spent a…

How will you remember New Year’s Day 2018? I won’t have any trouble remembering that day. My beautiful wife and I were in Costa Rica. We had already spent a few days in Monteverde where Stephanie discovered the love of bird watching. I paddled a new river (leaving that for its own post) and we settled in Jaco to enjoy the New Year’s Eve festivities at the Croc Hotel. They put on a great party with a wonderful firework show. The next morning wife and I are heading out to do some kayaking/bird watching around Damas Island. As we prepared I went out on the balcony to fetch our water shoes. We were staying at the Crocs Hotel and Casino. The owners put in a pool with two crocodiles in it for the visitors to see. My room was on the third floor directly above the crocodile pool. I grabbed my phone and took a few pictures. I was very careful because I had taken the protective cover off my IPhone just a couple of days earlier and now it was slippery and easy to drop. No, I didn’t drop it into the Crocodile Pool while snapping pictures. I set the phone down on a chair. Then when I picked up the shoes I bumped the chair and the phone fell onto the balcony floor where it seemed to pick up speed as it flew off the edge of my third story platform and plunk it landed in the water with said crocodiles. The big male that was basking on the island jumped in immediately to chase down my shiny phone, but I guess it was too thin for him to grab once it settled on the bottom of his lair. It might surprise you but none of the maintenance guys was interested in retrieving my phone. I was told I would have to wait until the Crocodile guy came into work the following day. That next day when I walked by the front desk all of the reception clerks were smiling. They had my phone and the darned thing still worked.  My phone was recovered from the crocodile pool. It still works! This is the last pic I took before I dropped it!

 

Pura Vida!

 

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Rerun…

When I hear those words I immediately begin to think about TV and those Summer reruns. This was not a summer rerun. This was not Netflix or a DVR recording….

When I hear those words I immediately begin to think about TV and those Summer reruns. This was not a summer rerun. This was not Netflix or a DVR recording. This is real and real is always unique. Two days ago, we ran this same river. Then it was dark, stormy, and the river was as wild as I had ever seen. That was then and now is now. Things have changed.

The Naranjo River is changing. It is a different river than the one we ran two days ago. The trip we took on 30OCT17 was wild, badass. In the first five minutes we were inundated by large waves. The river has moved. Those waves aren’t there. At the put in, the Naranjo River has shifted from downstream left to right in two days. The rapids have been remade. They are being redesigned by the river. Some of the waves, rapids, drops, and holes that we experienced are simply gone. They have been replaced. Boulders have shifted, channels have moved. The rock and sand are still moving. This river is alive and undergoing change. This is nothing new. This is what wild rivers do at the end of every rainy season.

Two days ago, it was storming. There was lightning, thunder, dark skies, and steady hard rain. Today the weather was sunny and clear. It was easier today. Rio Naranjo has changed. There are new dangers as the riverbank is undercut and trees fall into the water. These fallen trees become dangerous “Strainers” that a raft, kayaker, or swimmer can get tangled up in. Strainers want to scrape the rafts clean and hold everything underwater. Fortunately, they are few and our guides easily avoid them. This was an easier trip. The rapids and the weather gave us no trouble. No one swam a rapid today. There were no “Supermen” flying through the air. No rafts flipped. There were waves, drops, and hydraulics. We had to paddle hard. We were always paying attention but, today were also able to relax between the drops and appreciate the landscape and wildlife that we passed. There were Tiger Herons and Cormorants and monkeys! The trees over our heads were full of a troop of Squirrel Monkeys. This has been an amazing trip. It was challenging. We are training as a team and we got better on this trip. We are stronger and as a group we understand why we have to work together and why we have to focus. I am glad we had a raft flip earlier on this trip. Now everyone on my team knows what it feels like to swim a rapid. They know that the “International Swimmer’s Position” isn’t something you do 100% of the time. They know about those rocks. They came to know some of them intimately. We have a lot of fond memories from Costa Rica/Halloween 2017. One of my favorites is the story of how Mitch went flying through the air, landed in the water, clamped his eyes shut and assumed the “International Swimmer’s Position”. His hands gripped the front of his life jacket as he tried to catch his breath. Then he heard the guide telling him to get up. He did not understand, after all he knew that if he stood up his foot could become trapped and he might break an ankle or be pinned and drown. The guide and others kept yelling at him and eventually he opened his eyes and discovered that he was lying in a puddle at the edge of the river. We reenacted the scene for a photograph the next day. We will never forget it. I won’t forget seeing Stephen’s body draped across the bow of a safety kayak and I still count helmets in my dreams as I did after that flip when I was accounting for everyone.

I always say, “There is no adventure without adversity.” We had some adventure. We learned a lot. We learned about whitewater rafting, safety, and each other. We have taken another step towards being prepared for bigger more challenging rivers. What a perfect way to end our five days of paddling in Costa Rica. We are sore. We are tired. We are smiling!

Pura Vida!

 

 

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“Do you guys want to die today?”

Whitewater rivers are often a series of drops followed by a pool. In the pool above the rapid where the raft flipped, Jose, my friend/driver, yelled to the guide in…

Whitewater rivers are often a series of drops followed by a pool. In the pool above the rapid where the raft flipped, Jose, my friend/driver, yelled to the guide in Stephen’s raft. Jose’ told him that the lifejackets on the four guys needed to be cinched up. Jose said, “Do you guys want to die today?” The guide tightened them up and two minutes later they were swimming. It is a Happy Halloween.

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The raft flipped!

The raft flipped. Everyone was swimming. It happened at the top of a very long rapid which means it was a long swim, a very long bumpy swim. It wasn’t…

The raft flipped. Everyone was swimming. It happened at the top of a very long rapid which means it was a long swim, a very long bumpy swim. It wasn’t my raft. It was worse than that. It was Stephen’s, Melvin’s, Mitch’s, and Jordan’s raft. First I saw the guide. Then I saw 3 more on a beach. One was missing. Stevie…

We are turned around paddling upstream when I first see the safety kayak with a body draped over the bow…

Stephen is holding on. Our guide picks up a paddle, gets us in position and pulls Stephen into our raft.

Everyone is well. I cannot describe what happened next.  We beached our boat and then it was hugs, laughter, and gratitude. It was a day we will never forget.

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