your alpacka: great swimmer escort

'Tis the season for swimming in lakes, and your Alpacka has a role to play.

A week ago, a big group of friends did a 1-mile, cross-lake swim here in New Hampshire.

We had about a dozen boats out to escort them–a few canoes, a row boat, a half-dozen kayaks, and me in my Alpacka dory (using the kayak paddle, not the rowing frame).

It was a pretty rough day on the lake–windy, and decent-sized waves that made breathing a challenge for the swimmers. Crossing-times were record lows, and one swimmer dropped out.

The Alpacka turned out to have a bunch of advantages as a swimmer-escort:

  1. unlike canoes and row-boats, it doesn’t feel threatening to a swimmer in the water. It isn’t hard-sided, won’t scratch or scrape you, doesn’t feel like it looms over you, etc. Swimmers can get closer to you without worrying that you’re about to run them down.
  2. it’s easy to climb into. Again, unlike canoes and row-boats, it’s low to the water and not hard to get into (the dory easily accommodates two, but any of the alpackas would provide room for an exhausted swimmer in the bow).
  3. it’s more stable than a kayak. Really skilled kayakers probably don’t have to worry about this, but some of the people out that day were day-trippers in sit-atops, and I heard one of them warning a swimmer that he didn’t feel stable enough in the waves to have the swimmer hold onto his boat for a rest. I’m not a skilled pack-rafter, but the boat itself is inherently much more stable, and I had no concerns about people holding on to the grab-ropes or the bow tube.

I had also spent the previous couple of days goofing around with my boat to try to see how hard it was to flip over; how much water I could get into it and still float (answer: even with two people and as much water as we could get in, it didn’t seem to notice the load); whether I could flip backwards by doing a “wheelie” (never could, but maybe the right bow-wave and a freak head-wind would do it); what it’s like to climb into an empty boat or a boat with one person in it, etc.

I found this invaluable learning-time as well as a hell of a lot of fun; nothing makes you more confident about dumping and righting than dumping and righting a bunch of times.

So, just a thought about another way that your Alpacka can get you into the swim of things.

This will be one of the major purpose of my raft once it arrives :smiley: The GF loves to jump in the water and this will allow me to stay dry yet stay close to her in case of any mishaps.