Please refer to this section for any questions you may have. Contact us directly if your concerns aren't addressed or aren't addressed to the level that you desire. Thank you for your interest.
Q.) What if there is no cell phone coverage while on the expedition? How will my family know I'm ok?
A.) Generally, every paddler has a cell phone and usually different carriers. This typically allows for one or more of the paddlers to have cell coverage throughout the expedition. In the event there is no cell coverage Blackwater Paddle Club has licensed Amateur Radio Operators which carry hand-held radios capable of reaching personnel that can relay information. Also, Blackwater Paddle Club utilizes SPOT GPS messenger devices which allows us to send information to family & loved ones for daily updates and emergency personnel in the event of a medical emergency.
Q.) What if I'm unable to complete the expedition?
A.) Our expeditions are challenging and may push you beyond your normal limits. In the unlikely event that a paddler is unable to continue due to electable reasons they'll be responsible for their own transportation home. Unfortunately, the paddler will not be refunded any money paid to Blackwater Paddle Club. You're encouraged to sign-up for one of our "River Runs" before a full-fledged expedition.
Q.) Where will we camp along the way?
A.) A review of the River Maps will illustrate a series of Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs). We try to conclude each day at one of these public lands. Unfortunately, WMAs aren't as plentiful or convenient as we'd like. In such cases Blackwater Paddle Club reaches out to landowners that we estimate are where we'd like to camp and ask their permission. Thankfully we've never been denied access. Likely because of our adherence to "Leave-No-Trace-Behind".
Q.) Are there any facilities and/or amenities?
A.) Prepare for primitive camping. You'll be sleeping in either a hammock or tent, cooking over campfire or camp stove, drinking filtered water from the river, and subject to weather conditions. You may have to clear debris from the ground to set-up your individual campsite. We do bring a folding toilet for everyone to use. The Landing Key for each expedition lists possible amenities (ice, bathrooms, shower, food, etc.) at each landing but I wouldn't base my needs on their being operable/functioning.
Q.) What if bad weather moves in?
A.) Storms do arise from time to time despite keeping a watchful eye on the weather the week prior to launch. Keep in mind this is a watersport getting wet is very possible if not inevitable. This only underscores the need to bank miles each day for unforeseen weather conditions. In the event we are "rained in" for an extended period of time Blackwater Paddle Club brings communal equipment (tarp, grill surface, water filter, and camp toilet) which will provide cover for the group away from individual campsites. However, in event Blackwater Paddle Club determines the weather to be too severe the trip will be cancelled, rescheduled, and all funds will be returned or credited to future trips (your choice). In the very unlikely event weather conditions worsene to the extent we needed immediate extraction Blackwater Paddle Club utilizes SPOT GPS messenger devices that will allow us to contact emergency personnel.
Q.) What do we do while camping? Is alcohol allowed?
A.) The second reason to join us is to relax and intake nature's splendor. Although we try to keep all physical exertions on the river, we must set-up and maintain a campsite (gathering firewood, tending the fire, cooking, cleaning, etc.). Other than that have FUN! We are a drug-free club and will not tolerate illegal substances of any kind. If illegal substances are discovered, you'll be removed from the remainder of the trip, expected to secure your own transport home at your own cost, prohibited from future events, and forfeit any and all trip costs and/or membership privileges. Responsible use of alcohol & tobacco are permitted for consumption by persons of age.
Q.) Are there any age requirements?
A.) Participants must be as least 18 years of age for obvious legal reasons. However, participants are welcome to bring their children with the understanding that adult content is an integral part of the expeditions. The parent(s) of said minors are held legally responsible for their actions (see "Hold Harmless Agreement"). No person(s) under the age of 18 will permitted to use tobacco products nor will person(s) under the age of 21 be permitted to consume alcohol.
Q.) How much stuff can I bring? What do I need to bring?
A.) Believe it or not you're able to fit a tremendous amount of gear on and inside the hull of our rental kayaks: Jackson Cuda 14' (click here to view my personal gear checklist). There are physical limits but I haven't reached them yet! Bring what you feel you'll need to sustain you for a week without the guarantee of re-supply. Blackwater Paddle Club does not offer and will not provide you with food. As such, you'll need to obtain a cooler suitable to such outdoor conditions. It could be a tragic situation to rely on a re-supply of ice based on the Landing Key and learn the compressor broke on the store's ice machine. I generally plan, pack, and prepare for my own sustainment for the duration of the trip all of which is contained in or on my kayak also a Jackson Cuda 14’. In regards to your own personally owned kayak, I'm unable to make the assessment without more information. Feel free to contact us with further questions.
Q.) Can I stop and fish while we paddle?
A.) Yes! However, we do have a minimum number of miles we must log each day to stay on track. We also try to bank extra miles each day to allow for additional leisure time and as insurance against bad weather. Blackwater Paddle Club establishes "Paddle Buddy" teams which are to stay together for safety reasons. We recommend teaming up with those also interested in wetting a hook. However, your decisions to stop and fish will require you to catch-up with the group. You will be required to have a valid Georgia Fishing License (click here for license).
Q.) What is the shuttling plan/service?
A.) Each expedition is different. In the past we've exclusively used friends & family to assist us. On future trips those favors may be too much to ask due to geographical distances. As such, Blackwater Paddle Club has reached out to local outfitters to assist us. In the event you choose to secure your own transportation to and from the river including your own personal gear you're welcome to do so. However, if anyone choosing to provide their own transportation and is renting any package provided by Blackwater Paddle Club they will still be charged the shuttling fee. For those providing their own transportation you'll be required to abide by strict adherence to our launch times. Knowing life happens we'll wait for a reasonable amount of time before launching without you. In such instances it would behoove you to have copies of the River Maps which are downloadable in the "Upcoming Expedition" page (click here).
Q.) Does Blackwater Paddle Club rent gear? Are there "Packages" I can rent?
A.) We do offer Rental Packages (click here) which may help with upfront costs associated with this experience. We want everyone to enjoy their experience and we feel the optional rental packages are the minimum required elements to do so at a very affordable price.
Q.) Does Blackwater Paddle Club offer lessons?
A.) We do offer instruction to familiarize beginners with this sport. There are currently no established fees associated with the instruction as it will likely be during the first few miles of the expedition! With that said, beginners are welcome to join us. However, be honest with yourself and your abilities. If you aren't able to paddle for extended periods of time and have never spent the night in the outdoors we'd appreciate it if you brushed up on your skills prior to joining us. For those that are interested in going and want to hone their paddling skills feel free to contact us for individualized instruction. We are dedicated to this sport and are happy to work something out. Fees may apply.
Q.) What if I can only participate in half of the planned expedition?
A.) Keeping with the spirit of all are welcome we understand everyone can't allocate a week off work and away from loved ones. Based on our daily paddle estimations we will be able to provide you with a window of time which we'll be near a specific landing for you to join us. However, you'll be expected to either launch with us and extract early or extract with us having launched at some point along the way as the rendezvous are based on estimations which can be tricky. You'll be responsible for your own transportation to and from the river. Unfortunately, this will preclude you from any Rental Packages offered by Blackwater Paddle Club due to the logistics & security of our equipment.
Q.) How can I prepare myself before going on an expedition?
A.) Without getting into diet & exercise, you're encouraged to view our YouTube videos located on our "Gallery" page (click here). Countless hours have been devoted to making these videos in an effort to provide you with a glimpse of that we encounter both good & bad.
Q.) Do I bring water to drink along the way?
A.) Hydration is essential to your performance. While you are welcome to bring some water with you, we recommend obtaining some form of filtration system. We generally need about a gallon each day which includes drinking & cooking. Can you imagine hauling seven gallons of water at 8.35lbs per gallon (over 58 pounds) much less the volume it consumes. There are several brands/models of water filters on the market. I recommend looking at our "Gear Recommendation" page (click here) for our endorsement.
Q.) Do I bring my own food?
A.) Blackwater Paddle Club doesn't provide food, you will have to bring your own. You're encouraged to bring dehydrated food items which are lightweight and compact. It's not uncommon to see someone scrambling eggs for breakfast, making a sandwich for lunch, and grilling a steak for dinner so plan accordingly.
Q.) Do I bring my own ice?
A.) Blackwater Paddle Club will provide those renting a kayak with a bag of ice to fill the accompanying cooler. Additional ice needed along the way will be your own responsibility. We have been able to keep ice frozen for up-to seven days in the coolers we offer in the kayak rental packages in mid-90 degree temperatures.
Q.) What other personal items will I need?
A.) You will need to bring your own food, water, clothing, sleeping bag, toiletries, and medicines (both over-the-counter and prescribed). We provide ONLY what is pictured or listed such as a fuel canister for the micro-stove included in the camping rental package and/or a single bag of ice for the kayak rental package. Anything beyond what is pictured or specifically listed is your own responsibility. Don't forget toilet paper!