Smithville Lake – Kayaking Misadventure

“Ahhh, sunrise in 12 minutes, I’ll be able to get some great pictures of it coming up over the lake,”  I thought while pulling into the Smithville lake parking lot.  

My goal this morning was to put another notch in my lakes-in-Missouri-I’ve-kayaked-on belt.  I also wanted to get some nice sunrise pictures while out on the lake.  On the spiritual side I thought doing my devotions on the kayak would be nice.  In God’s creation and all – what better place to read my Bible?  On the less spiritual side, a person always needs to have a fishing rod with him when in his kayak.  Anything less is unmanly.  This was going to be a great morning and all before I went into the office.

I only had 12 minutes now before sunrise.  The kayak had to be on the water.  My camera, paddle, life jacket, Bible (Oh – I forgot that at home – so much for the spiritual side of this trip), and fishing rod had to be loaded.  I needed to park the van.  Then I needed to paddle out about 100 yards from shore to get the good sunrise shots.

“Hmmmm, I thought that storm was supposed to have rolled by already. Oh well, as long as it doesn’t lightening.”

On a side note, I was amazed at how stable my new kayak was the first time I took it out last week.  I’d always heard how tipsy these things were.  There was only one time that it seemed that way – when I was getting in.  The rest of the first day it was stable Mable.

Back to today – everything was going according to plan.  Kayak tied up to the dock.  Loaded with everything. Van parked. Life jacket on.  This would be the first time I had entered my kayak from a dock.

“Hmmm, those clouds might just prohibit any good sunrise shots.”

After evaluating the best way to enter the kayak, I decided on a method.  I would put one foot where it was supposed to go, place my left hand on the far side of the kayak, and keep my right hand on the dock.  I would then kind of drop my hind parts down into the seat.

In one deft move I performed my entrance maneuver, rolled the boat over, and was completely submerged in lake water.  It wasn’t even 5:25am yet!!  Normally it takes me several good hours into an adventure for a misadventure to happen.

My rod, journal (I did remember that), camera, tackle box, and paddle were all in the water or lying on the bottom.  My billfold is drenched. Sigh.  I fished everything out and put it on the dock.  Ahhhh! The camera still works!  Sunrise shots are still possible.

All wet items, except for my clothes, were returned to the van.  I thought I should keep my clothes on.  A naked, kayaking pastor might make the front page.

I paddled out a few hundred yards.  “Hmmm, lightening,” I thought.  Better go back.  I took a few pictures of the clouds, the dock, some geese and my feet in the end of the kayak as proof I actually did this.  The camera case was drenched so I left it in the van.  It’s hard to find a place for a camera out of a case in a kayak.  “Well, I’ll be back at the dock in a few minutes, so I’ll just put it on my lap,” I thought.

“Ehhhh, lightening is getting closer – better hurry.”

It was a relaxing 5 minutes on the water. Back at the dock I quickly hopped out.  Wait. What was that plop? Arrgh!  The camera is now in 3 feet of water.  The trip was turning into an expensive misadventure.

I loaded everything up and dragged my drenched body into the van.  Upon pulling out of the lot, the sun just peeked through a few clouds.  It was beautiful.  One quick picture to wrap up the morning.  Ohhh – the camera didn’t take well to being under the water.  Sigh.

Psalms 116:6 “The Lord preserves the simple…”

(Credit to the Ocean Kayak Company for the picture on this blog.  For some reason, I don’t have any pictures of this trip to post yet. The Frenzy kayak is identical to mine, but the person in it is more experienced and the location is not Smithville Lake, MO)

(For more information on Smithville Lake, go to


Smithville Lake – Kayaking Misadventure — 45 Comments

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  40. Shawn,
    Great story, I could boat with you anyday. I have done the same trick, and left my glasses in 60 ft. of water, trying to beat a storm home. Glasses were a week old, and not insured. There are always lessons to be learned.


  41. Don’t worry too much about your camera. I get the same days. I like the way you want to have devotions, quite dedicated. I use a pelican water proof case for river rafting, they are tough and rugged, although when they come out of my raft in a rapid and hit a rock they sometimes come open and everything is wet.

  42. Ah, yes. The quite common water re-entry.
    In our group, the tradition is always to call out “I meant that!” in case there are any on-lookers. And if it’s not too late, keeping that camera in a ziplock baggie full of water might save it. Prevents corrosion from starting until you can get it to a repair shop.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  43. Pingback: Talkayak - Kayaking News and Information » Smithville Lake – Kayaking Misadventure

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