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What's Drifting

  • The Pages Creek Preserve
    The cleared lot on Middle Sound Loop was nothing unusual I d seen New Hanover County trucks parked t... read more
  • Quality over Quantity
    Quality over Quantity That s what was written on the dry erase board at the YMCA Pool I would stare ... read more
  • Something in the Water
    The water quality of the Cape Fear River was a major concern in 2017 There is no doubt that it will ... read more

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Tow Boat

There are a couple of pieces of gear I always have on my person while paddling. One is a PFD of course, and the other is a tow/throw bag. For a few years I didn't carry a tow bag with me. I did carry a length of rope in a dry bag, which was used a few times to attach my self to another kayak. .The tow bag resembles a fanny pack, but is stuffed with about 20 ft. of rope, the end of which has a carabineer attached to it. Once you strap it on, it's easy to deploy when needed. The question is, when do you use it? I try not to advertise the fact that I carry a tow bag. If the group assumes I'm wearing a fanny pack, hey..I know it's no kind of fashion statement. It's not that I don't mind towing another boater, in fact, I do it gladly.  The bag does come in handy when a kayaker tires out and needs an assist. Some folks gladly take me up on a tow. Others..not so much. If I see some one struggling, I'll sometimes offer a preemptive tow. Some take me up on it, while others prefer to go it on their on.  If the situation is hazardous, I'll attach the tow rope without asking or offering. Recently, while paddling a section of the Black River, a first time kayaker was headed right for a strainer,( a log or tree lying partially submerged in the water). It looked like a roll over waiting to happen, so I quickly paddled over and deployed the bag. Hastily paddling away, the rope snapped tight and she almost fell in line behind my boat. Almost..but not quite. Swinging back to her left she was headed for a sideways collision with the log. I reached around the back and frantically reeled the rope in, pulling her back in line just in time to avoid the log. Luckily, I rarely use the bag for those sorts of circumstances. Usually, as the Bard famously said, to tow or not to tow? That is the question.


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The cleared lot on Middle Sound Loop was nothing unusual. I'd seen New Hanover County trucks parked there over the last few weeks, so I figured it to be some sort of public infrastructure project. A f...


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Experience first hand what it's like to kayak with the Expedition Organization.

Scott Schmolesky has been kayaking for over 20 years and has been an instructor the last ten. Most recently he started the outfitter and guide service, The Expedition Organization which offers guided kayak programs in Southeastern, North Carolina. His paddling adventures have taken him through Australia, Europe, and throughout the U.S. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You can read more of his articles here.

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