Our first trip on a river with actual splashing water and
a kayak with a larger seat opening proved one thing to us.
We need to be able to bail water out of there!
I looked online and found bilge pumps, but that seemed too simple.
I looked some more and found Kayak Bilge Sponges.
And most importantly, a DIY for how to make them myself.
I have grommets, a sewing machine, and something to tie them up with, so for another $10 in sponges and synthetic chamois, we have now got two kayak sponges.
I started with two sponges and a 3 foot square piece of damp chamois that I cut in two.
The chamois has to be damp or it is very hard to work with.
I fitted the sponge to the chamois and then sewed up two sides.
Because the chamois was damp it didn't want to pull through the feed very well, but it worked.
I didn't get a picture of stuffing the sponge into its new home, but it was a hassle.
The damp chamois and the dry sponge wanted to stick together, but I finally got it right.
To get the open edge shaped the way I wanted it I clipped it right up to the edge of the sponge.
I used the zipper foot on my sewing machine and made a double seam across the top.
Honestly, the first pass was too far away and I realized I could get closer with that zipper foot.
So then I had to make the other one the same way.
Looks good though!
I added the grommets and had some cotton belts that worked perfect.
That lets us tie them to something in the kayak in case they float away in the tail.
How did it work?
Great! This is after our last float (June 25th).
They survived and still look good.
There really wasn't too much to get excited about though.
This is pretty much the most white water we saw.
None of us had ever floated that section before so it was an adventure.
If you are wondering, this was on the Greenbrier River.
The water was deep in some places and shallow, but floatable in others.
There were almost no rapids, just ripples.
We did hit some rocks and had to watch for them or get turned sideways.
FabHub got turned by a rock in one drop off and got pretty well swamped.
That was the only time we had to use the sponges.
For the record and because I am thinking about it:
June 25th, we put in from some private property below Alderson and got out at Talcott.
Alderson gauge was at 2.97.
Hilldale gauge was at 1.80.
Both considered Lower Runnable by the people who measure such things.
When we run Fort Springs to Alderson we like the gauge to be between 3.5 - 4.0.
Our June 3rd trip in kayaks was 3.51. Splashy and fun.
We have done less than 3 (too shallow) and more than 4 (too fast) in river tubes.
It was not fun for everyone either time.
More than 4 would be good with kayaks, but we haven't tried it yet.