Valöträffen 2011 was really nice but this year, I am most happy that everyone came home alive. During the sunday a kayak incident occurred that could have ended very badly. Thanks to a very good initiative and resolute action, particularly from Jonas Forkander, it all ended well.
Johan reaches the man in right time to save him. About 1 km from Valö.
On Valö there was an older gentleman who we didn’t know that well has been paddling for many years. He decided to paddle home alone on Sunday morning. The conditions were modest winds, estimated at about 8 m/s, and small waves. He had packed his kayak with the cargo on deck. His start was wobbly and it was with concern that we saw him paddle away. No one intervened or tried to stop him from paddling straight away which afterwards had been the best option. Instead, just after a few minutes, Johan Forkander jumped into his kayak and started to paddle after the man. Just when Johan reached the man, about 1 km from Valö, the old man capsized. He could not evacuate from the kayak, probably due to stress but somehow he managed to got hold of the bow of Johan’s kayak.
Johan is coming back with some of the cargo that was carried on deck. The weight of this bag was about 10 kg.
Shortly afterwards, Johan got assistance from Jörgen and four other paddlers. Everything ended happily, and we helped the man to re-pack his kayak and he had a rest on land before heading home. After re-packing the kayak was much more stable and everything went much better.
Jörgen heading out to assist Johan in the rescue. Later on Anders, Margareta, Mona and AnnMarie helped them as well. Good job!
We discussed afterwards how the situation could have been avoided. It is difficult to take decisions against the free will of man. Not that many of us really knew the man. He wanted to paddle home and obviously he had managed to paddle to Valö in similar conditions. We got us a real eye-opener. In retrospect, we should have stopped him and re-packed his kayak straight away.