Anyone who reads a few of the posts on our blog Kayak Yak knows that some members of our paddle group are differently able. Not everyone is a tall, broad-shouldered and powerful kayaker like Freya Hoffmeister or Justine Curgenven. Among our own paddle group some of us have various disabilitites or differing abilities -- the polite words keep changing, but the intent is an inclusive wish to do our best at enjoying kayaking. We have each learned with practise how to play to our strengths and plan for our weaknesses.
Well, now the local newspaper has identified another preparation that can be added to the list, for paddlers with a prosthesis. The front page of the Times-Colonist carried a story yesterday about Rob Boyce, a man who went floating down the Cowichan River in an innertube last Sunday. At a particularly rough spot in the river, his tube went over a rock, and he collided with his girlfriend. When he and his lady got back onto their tubes and got their wits together, there was a problem. His prosthetic foot was missing.
And so another paddling preparation has been identified, for people with prostheses. A decision must be made before paddling, whether to wear the artificial limb and risk losing it, or to leave the prosthesis locked in a car or with one's ground crew. It would have been no fun for Boyce to hop along the rocky river bank with a cane, I'm sure. But losing a cane from his inner tube wouldn't have upset him like losing the $16,000 titanium and carbon fibre lower leg did. Boyce phoned the local detachment of the RCMP, just to let them know what had happened, and in the faint hope that someone might find his foot.
Amazingly, the artificial foot was found later that same day. On Sunday evening, James Walter was enjoying swimming in Cowichan River with a snorkel. During the summer he swims the river several times. Each time, Walter finds dozens of sunglasses and personal objects lost into the river by people in small boats and inner tubes. Sometimes he even uses scuba gear, to get to the bottom of the deep pools. This was a first for him, though -- finding an artificial foot! The day after finding the foot, Walter placed a Lost and Found ad for free in the Times-Colonist.
Ever alert, the staff of the T-C brought word of the prosthetic to the RCMP, worried that there might be a missing body to go with the foot. Word got back to the owner, and the foot was returned.