Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Waste of Time, Money and Water

An honest refreshing look into the Illusion and trap that is our egotistical house LAWN.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Good bye Kevin, you were a good man!

Kevin Bair
In the last few days a good buddy of mine Kevin Bair, a paddling friend from my time spent in Phoenix Arizona, Died on a River in Colorado. It was a shock to us all, every one who new Kevin, as he was such a safety freak, though as Jens Jensen Wrote " Even though we all felt that Kevin was capable of making this run, he didn't successfully complete it. I personally think that the lesson is that even if you (and others) consider yourself to be a Class V boater, you can't count on boating at a Class V level when you are tired and you haven't been on the water in a few weeks. Class V boating by definition has very little room for mistakes, and any mistake can be fatal."JJ

Jens Continues with a report.

"I asked Kevin if he was okay, and although looking nervous, he said that he was - and that he had run harder stuff than this before. He just needed to get his head straight first. He was grinning when he said that he had to admit though, that he was a bit jazzed to be running something that Ryan chickened out on."JJ

"It is so ironic - that Kevin was such a safety nanny to everyone he boated with.....I think that if he could, Kevin would look at this tragedy with his engineering mind and try to figure out what safety lessons could be drawn.......We are all devastated. Kevin's kindness, generosity, and genuine concern for everyone's safety and well-being touched many lives. We are heartbroken to lose him."JJ

the incident went down a bit like this

Durango Colorado
4th of July Weekend, 2011
In Memory of Kevin Bair

As written By Jens Jensen And  Drew Beezley

"A group of us had been contemplating a trip to the Kern River in Southern California for the 4th of July. Several of us wanted to do the Forks of the Kern, a class 4/5 run. Water levels were too high, so the trip was changed to Durango Colorado.

Colorado; "We did the Upper Animas on Saturday. It's a 26 mile, Class IV/V, very cold challenging run. The final 2 miles are in a tight canyon (called the Rockwood Box) which is particularly challenging. The box is often avoided by riding out on the train or hiking out on the railroad tracks" JJ.

On Sunday a group of six headed up to South Mineral Cree: Kevin, Pete, Jens, Ryan, Johanna and Jim McComb . "We were all aware that this was Class V. Kevin, Pete, and Ryan suited up. The rest of us had no intention of attempting this run. We scouted and planned for quite some time before anyone put on the water.  The run is less than 1/2 mile long. It begins with a 20 foot waterfall followed by a series of four or five pool drops, then a tight S turn slot with a small narrow pool called the Cauldron with an exit gap approximately 6 feet wide. It continues on for another quarter mile of less significant drops after the slot.
After we all walked and discussed the entire route several times, I helped Pete and Kevin rope their boats down to the entrance pool above the waterfall. Ryan said that he just wasn't feeling like this was for him for today and opted out...... and although looking nervous, he (Kevin) said......that he had run harder stuff than this before. He just needed to get his head straight first. He was grinning when he said that he had to admit though, that he was a bit jazzed to be running something that Ryan chickened out on." JJ
"Ryan and Johanna set up to take pictures on an outcrop in front of the waterfall. I stationed myself with a throw rope at the top of the S turn slot. Jim McComb was at the exit gap with ropes. He tied one rope off to rocks prior to the runs. A group of locals were coming down the hill to do the run behind us, but hadn't arrived when Pete and Kevin began their runs. Pete did a clean line off the waterfall, matching the consensus route. Kevin took the waterfall to the left, doing a quick correction just before dropping off. ..... Kevin was off of the planned line - but the waterfall drop was successful." JJ

The Cauldron; 'Both Pete and Kevin looked good for the stretch for which I had a view. Their lines looked clean and almost identical. Pete went first. We passed OK signals back to Kevin after Pete cleared the slot.....After Kevin disappeared from my view I gathered my rope and several of Kevin's things...... After climbing up a few feet I spotted Kevin's boat upside down in the gap (above the next drop). I dropped everything and started running to Jim's position." JJ
" I learned later that Kevin over corrected a right brace causing him to roll to the left at the bottom of the slot. He did a quick roll which also rotated him 90° putting him in parallel with the gap and horizontal to the flow. Just as he got upright, he pinned nose to tail across the gap with his upstream edge down." JJ

Drew Beezley (one of the locals coming down the hill) writes: "Cruise and I had just walked up with our boats on our shoulder in time to watch Kevin run the Cauldron.  He looked good at the entrance but the got flipped at the main crux of the drop.  He rolled up but then got broached upright.  Cruise and I then put our boats down, grabbed our throw bags and ran downstream."DB

" Before I started running out of sight of the scene (which is what you have to do to access the Cauldron from downstream) I had one last view of Kevin, he was still upright and had just grabbed a rope that was deployed from above on the left.  When Cruise and I arrived downstream Kevin was upside down and still broached.  Cruise waded across the creek and began climbing the wall.  I set safety in the river left eddy.  When someone from Kevin's  party came up behind me I asked them if they had a throw bag.  They did so I told them to stay there with a bag and I waded across to try to assist Cruise." DB

"By the time I got there Cruise was already being lowered to stomp on the boat.  I ended up trying to access the boat or Kevin from downstream in the river right eddy by climbing around the wall in the water.  About that time is when the boat came free.  Then I assisted Cruise into the eddy with me. Kevin had been pulled out of the water by the guy (Ryan) who had relieved my position in the river left eddy.  We then struggled to remove Kevin's pfd so we could start CPR. "DB

CPR was administered continuously once the PFD was removed, even after the Emergency Services arrived, though Kevin never once showed signs of coming back. eventually the paramedics called off the CPR.

'I've been boating commercially and privately for about 17 years, but I have never had to deal with a situation like this one first hand.  Those moments happen so fast out there you just have to work with what you have been trained to do.  I know that our training kicked in and we did what we were supposed to do as fast as we could given the circumstances.  I just wish it would have worked and I know we all wish the outcome would have been different." DB

  I remember fondly paddling, laughing and shooting the shit with Kevin over the years. We have all been hit hard by this incident, whether because we were there or because we knew Kevin Bair. Those of us who do not paddle, perhaps Question the the sanity of the sport, those of us who do Paddle, take a fresh and slightly empty look (now minus Kevin) at our sport, though know that Kevin would not want us to stop boating. Perhaps though he would want us, as the safety Nanny he was, to learn from this and be safer. I know for me personally I will look at the river with more respect, listen to my gut more; though also be at peace with the choices Kevin made and know that I myself (and most of our friends would agree) would much rather go out doing something I love and striving to be the best I can, than creeping along to a ripe age wondering what if. Yes we can be safer but there is a point where being to safe means you no longer really live; real risk and death, are inevitable in a Real life worth living.

Peace to you my friend, may we paddle again together one day on the great river in the sky.
Jaime Sharp

Kevin Running Brush Creek in California (the last time I boated with him)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

John Butler Supports Saving the Kimberley Coast From Industrialisation

Day 27
Today many people joined the Goolaraboloo Family at Millibinyarriat  to show support at the beginning of the Lurujarri heritage trail. Everyone was welcome to come together and celebrate Reconciliation. The trail is an annual event which has run for many years as a way of bringing cultures together and sharing the stories of the song cycle which includes the Country proposed for the gas plant. Over a week Traditional Custodians guide people from all culture to walk the trail and learn. This is a shining light of reconciliation and cross-cultural learning.  Founded by the late Paddy Roe Law Boss for the James Price Point region, who earned the honor of Order Of Australia for his contributions to culture and reconciliation. The trail and the protection of the Law is continued by Joe Roe and family. A Gas Factory cutting the songline would destroy culture and damage Country – Joe Roe and his family have a cultural and moral obligation to stop this travesty from going ahead. THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES.

Today at the blockade we seem to have returned to the pattern established over the past few weeks. Convoy parks up the road. One car comes to blockade. Today 2 Police oversaw discussion with Woodside hired security. They were told that they would not be allowed through to clear or drill. Soon after they all turned around and headed back to town.

However later in the day police have headed out to assess the situation and numbers at the blockade and Waldaman camps. This is ominous but people are positive that the community will be strong in the face of any attempts to clear or drill at James Price Point.

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