Survivor Club

Rescue Map

Kayaking in Alaska

Name Hudson
Product Name AquaLink™ View PLB
Date of Rescue 05/20/2017
Saved By U.S. Coast Guard
Beacon Purchased From Hodges Marine, Oldsmar, Florida
Lives Saved 2 people

Matthew and Douglas were on the twelfth day of their sea kayaking expedition from Pelican to Sitka, Alaska. The route was along the outside of the Yakobi-West Chichagof Wilderness on the west coast of Chichagof Island. With a storm approaching, the kayakers were seeking a campsite that would be well above the high tide that would coincide with the storm. As they rounded the northern tip of the Khaz Peninsula, they encountered katabatic winds, but proceeded safely about half-way down the peninsula. Rounding a point, they encountered stiff headwinds. Matthew had fallen behind Douglas and was concerned that he would be blown back onto some rocks by the wind. He sought shelter in a small cove and beached his kayak.

When the wind subsided enough for Douglas to turn his boat around and check on Matthew, his paddling partner was out of sight. He immediately returned along the route checking the sea and shore, but was distracted by rocks and missed the cove where Matthew had sought shelter. He could not get a reply on VHF radio, owing to the rocky shoreline. Douglas continued his search back along the coast until he was several miles from Matthew’s position.

When Douglas had returned to the previous night’s camp and had yet to find Matthew, he had no choice but to activate his ACR Aqualink PLB. The storm was now closing in and the seas made a return search impossible. Neither partner had shelter, since the tent and poles were split between the kayaks, and the night temperature would drop to about 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The storm was going last several days, according to Douglas satellite weather forecast, which would put lives in danger even if Matthew had not found a beachhead.

Within 45 minutes after the PLB was activated, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter arrived at Douglas’ location and was able to land on the beach. Douglas indicated Matthew’s likely location on his chart and another Coast Guard helicopter was able to contact him on channel 16 of his VHF radio, locate him on the rocky shore and send down a rescue basket. All parties concerned were safe in Sitka within 30 minutes.

 

Your ACR Aquiline VIEW PLB has enabled to attempt expeditions we would not have otherwise considered, including the Shumagin Islands of Alaska's Southwest, Argentina's Golfo Nuevo and the northern coast of Baffin Island in Canada. Thanks, friends!