A near-tragic outcome to a kayaking accident at Coopers Cove on Saturday afternoon was only narrowly averted through the quick action of local mariners in the Sooke Region.
It all started when Scot Taylor, the owner and operator of West Coast Adventure College, was on his dock when a woman arrived, crying for help.
She told Taylor her husband had been on the water in a sea kayak when the small vessel capsized in rough seas. She told Taylor that her husband was not wearing a life-jacket and he had no survival gear on.
Taylor, whose school provides courses in sea kayaking, immediately put in a call to the Coast Guard. He then jumped into a sea kayak (loaded with survival gear) and it wasn’t long before he spotted the hapless kayaker.
The man abandoned his kayak and made it to shore where, cold and shivering, he perched on the rocks beneath the escarpment of the Galloping Goose Trail.
Meanwhile, Ryan Chamberlain, the owner of Vancouver Island Lodge, had become aware of the situation and arrived on the scene and between himself and Taylor, they managed to get to the man by scrambling up the escarpment at the Galloping Goose and then making their way down to where the man sat, who was hypothermic and beginning to lose consciousness.
Chamberlain and Taylor managed to get the wet clothing off the shivering man and, using the gear Taylor had brought along, got him wrapped in blankets and into a sleeping bag in an attempt to stave off further hypothermia.
“He was going to stage three hypothermia by then and declining fast. His arms and legs weren’t working and it was obvious he’d ingested a fair amount of seawater. He was in pretty rough shape,” said Taylor.