The B! News Chicago River Kayak Trip was a resounding success, according to witnesses and participants of the event. A full 15 souls got underway to battle the Chicago waters on a warm and muggy mid-July afternoon, with all-hands returning to shore alive and well, if a little bruised and battered.
Participants launched just northeast of Goose Island and journeyed into the heart of the loop, turning for home at the Michigan Avenue bridge. Along the way, the group battled angry seas, heavy boater traffic, and a myriad of pollutants. All told, the group paddled an astounding 5.44 nautical miles (6.26 miles) before pulling back into port to end their 2.25 hour trip.
Although all boaters returned safely, the trip wasn't without peril. The heavy seas regularly threaten to capsize the small kayaks, while a looming thunderstorm taunted the group throughout the last third of the voyage. But the most treacherous moments took place when an unnamed participant collided with the Chicago Leading Lady, a 350-passenger tour boat, causing him to tumble into the dark, murky waters of the Chicago River. For a brief moment, nothing separated the capsized boater's life from being prematurely ground to a halt by four 38" propellers except a veil of trash and dingy, blue-green waters. Thankfully, the ferry Captain was able to stop all engines on board the 98-foot vessel, giving the swimmer enough time to climb back into his kayak and make a clean getaway, with nothing but a scratch and a semi-bruised ego.
Despite the heat, constant life-threatening danger, and filth, the kayakers considered the trip a triumph. Once safely back on land, the group spent the day celebrating with friends and family, recounting their earlier adventure while laying the plans for the next B! sponsored trip, a horseback cattle drive!