Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966


Gillnetters rescue struggling kayakers


On Sunday, Sept. 15, a friend and I were paddling kayaks north toward Letnikof Cove. We’d been out for a half-hour before we realized the wind, waves and currents were more than we had reckoned on. Gary Graham brought his fishing boat, came alongside and asked if we were okay. We still thought we could manage. Gary said he would keep an eye on us. An hour later, he came by again, by which time we were separated, still struggling with waves and making little progress. I was tired, thirsty, losing my ability to focus and make good decisions, and just plain scared. I said, “Help.” Gary immediately called for someone able to pick us up, told me to hang on and said help was coming. A few minutes later, Brad Badger arrived on the Osprey, hauled me and my boat out of the water and went off to meet Gary, who was by then with my paddling partner a little farther up the inlet. With both of us on board, Brad took us into Letnikof Cove, helped us unload the boats and parted for the fishing grounds with a wave, accepting only our heartfelt thanks for his efforts.

Gary and Brad, we are so grateful to you both. I shudder to think what might have happened to us without you. Your kindness and generosity were the absolute highlight of three mostly splendid days of paddling in your magnificent part of the world. We can never thank you enough.

Jan Horton

Whitehorse, Y.T.