Submitted by Clint Johnson, Warden, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site–On July 27, at 2:15 pm, Prince Rupert Coast Guard received a distress call on Channel 16. Two kayakers had beached themselves at Collison Bay. Both of them were dehydrated after being unable to find fresh water for several days.
The coast has experienced the fourth driest spring since 1948 at 2-percent below normal values. Those with some history may remember that 1954 was the driest, with rainfall at 40-percent below normal, and 1997 was the wettest at 48-percent above normal.
Luckily for the two dried-out kayakers Tyson Brown, our patrol officer, came to their rescue. After being dispatched by Rescue Coordination Centre via Jasper dispatch he arrived on scene to assist. There was a large swell hitting the beach, so Tyson, who was on his own, had to nose his boat onto the shore exposing himself and his boat to a series of breakers. Despite being swamped with a ton of water, he was able to maintain control of his boat, and hand over four gallons of fresh water to the kayakers, and interview the two to determine whether they needed medical attention. Maintaining both his and the boat’s safety throughout this ordeal is a testament to Tyson’s exceptional boat handling skills.
The kayakers, both fit and in their twenties, decided that with the water Tyson provided they would be in good enough shape to continue to paddle down to Rose Harbour.
If you plan to visit Gwaii Haanas this summer, remember water is in short supply. People should be packing more than would normally be expected. Even reliable spots like Huxley Island and Louscoone Inlet have dried up at certain times this year. Thank you Tyson for your excellent work!
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