/, Creek, Fort Lauderdale/Lesson Learned – Safety First

Lesson Learned – Safety First

 
Launch Location: George English Park. There is a sandy beach launch area in the corner of the park next to the Sunrise bridge that is perfect for launching kayaks. This park also has boat ramps. If you don’t have a trailer and don’t mind a more rocky launch area you can park and launch over by the tennis courts and park for free there.
  

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Parking: Parking at this location is pay by the hour and the machine takes cash, plastic or pay by phone. You can also park over at the tennis courts for free and either walk over to this location or launch from the tennis courts location.
 

Personal Notes: Went kayaking with the weekly Wednesday night paddle group. Our plan was to ride the incoming tide up Cherry creek and then turn around in the lake that is at the end of the creek and ride the tide back out.

 

Things didn’t go as planned…

 

There is a very low bridge at 38th street with a strong tide current that you need to lay back in your kayak to fit under and the couple that was in a tandem kayak capsized going under the bridge. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but one of them wasn’t wearing proper foot wear and got cut very badly on the oyster bed that is under the bridge. We all docked in someone’s back yard, got out our first aid kit, and called a cab so that they could go to the hospital to get stitched up.

 

But the fun didn’t stop there…

 

The group didn’t want to wait until the tide changed and decided to turn around and fight the tide going back under the low bridge while someone towed the couple’s tandem kayak back to the launch area. I tried to talk them out of it since I’ve paddled this creek before and knew that fighting the tide going back under the low bridge was a bad idea but got out voted.

 

When I emerged from under the bridge I was blocked by the kayak in tow that had turned sideways, got caught in the current and capsized. I had proper foot gear on, use a paddle leash and always have everything secured so it wasn’t a big deal, did get some cuts on my hand though, and just got back in my kayak. One other person got suck sideways and when another paddler went back to help them he lost his expensive paddle.

 

Christy and I drove back to the creek after returning to the launch area and used our spotlight to look for the paddle hoping that it had ended up in one of the two lakes at the end of the creek but trying to see a black paddle at night on a dark night was just about impossible.

 

The person that lost their paddle went back the next day using a paddleboard and spotted their paddle almost in the same spot that he had lost it. He said that it floated right up to him as if it was coming home to him, talk about luck!

 

The husband of the couple required stitches in his foot. He will make a full recovery and we managed to get all of their gear back to them.

 

The couple of cuts in my hand from the oyster bed were uncomfortable for a few days but no big deal.

 

Going to pickup some 3M reflective tape for our paddles and other gear so that things will be easier to spot at night.

 

This experience confirmed my belief that using a paddle leash is a good idea since I didn’t have to worry about chasing after my paddle in addition to hanging on to my kayak and getting back in, but this view is not shared by everyone.
 
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Description: Cherry creek is a short urban paddle that opens up into two lakes with very little boat traffic other than other kayak or canoe paddlers.
 

Kayak Rentals Availability: Rentals are not provided at this location.
 
Amenities: There are public restrooms over at the tennis courts. A hose spigot is provided and there is a 7/11 across the street along with a shopping mall.

  

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