Letter: Kayaker lucky to be alive to tell his story

I finally was able to make it to shore after about a very long and scary five minutes…and pull myself out of the water.

To the editor:

Last Thursday [June 16], I ventured [down Mission Creek] from the KLO Bridge to the mouth of Okanagan Lake in my kayak and found the trip very relaxing and non-dangerous.

To have more of a challenge this afternoon [June 21] I started at the East Kelowna/Hollywood Road South Bridge and after about five minutes flipped my kayak after being driven into a steep bank and thrown into the fast-flowing water.

I underestimated the swiftness of Mission Creek in this particular area and struggled while being swept down stream battered and bruised from hitting the creek bottom rocks in a futile attempted to get to shore. I did have a leg rope tied to my ankle and to my kayak which snapped and possibly saving my life because I was being dragged by a now semi-submerged kayak.

I finally was able to make it to shore after about a very long and scary five minutes in the cold water and able to grab hold of a rock and pull myself out of the water.

Although having lifejackets in my possession, it wasn’t being worn and I find I’m fortunate to be alive and writing about this and possibly warn other people about this danger even though the spring run off has pretty well run it’s course.

The last I saw my white and blue kayak it was being swept downstream along with my unworn lifejackets probably floating somewhere near the mouth of Okanagan Lake.

I’m feel very fortunate not to have drowned or seriously injured because of my stupidity in (1) not wearing my PFD, (2) not wearing a helmet and (3) doing a solo trip.

Jeff Bryde, Kelowna