Day two – all by ourselves: (left side of boat, front to back) Capt Bedard, Cpl Leblanc, MCpl Gillis, (right side of boat, front ot back) Capt Cuthbertson, OCdt Keels, and Mr. Guest. (Submitted photo)
Day one on the river stopping for lunch: (in front) Keegan (Guide), (centre row left to right) MCpl Gillis, Cpl Leblanc, Mrs. Palango, Mrs. Waterman, Emily (Guide), (back row left to right) Breen (Guide), MCpl Corbett, Capt Cuthbertson, Mr. Guest, Cpl Oleynik, Capt Fillmore, OCdt Keels, and Capt Bedard. (Submitted photo)
Down McCoys Rapid: (left side of boat, front to back) Mrs Palango, MCpl Gillis, Capt Fillmore, Capt Bedard, Emily, (right side of boat, front to back) Cpl Oleynik, Cpl Leblanc, OCdt Keels, Mrs. Waterman, and Keegan. (Submitted photo)
MCpl Gillis ends Ex STAYAFLOAT on a very high point, taking the plunge off Ontario’s only Bungee Tower overlooking the Ottawa River. (Submitted photo)
CMED Adventure Training: Ex STAYAFLOAT
Posted on Thursday, July 7, 2016
The Ottawa River is world-renowned for its big white water; adventurers from all corners of the earth come to play in its rapids. On 21 June 16, eleven members of Central Medical Equipment Depot (CMED), including CMED Det Trenton, arrived at Wilderness Tours in Foresters Falls, ON and for the next two days would nervously conquer the 2nd largest commercially rafted rapid in North America.
The mission for CMED was to conduct Ex STAYAFLOAT, in order to develop in its personnel the qualities of leadership, teamwork, physical fitness, moral and physical courage, and other attributes necessary to keep these skills current as a part of operational training, in an ever changing global environment. As a small unit, teamwork is key between all members including our DND personnel and therefore it was a priority for the CO to involve them in this training opportunity.
We embarked on this unforgettable expedition which began on a large 12-person raft on day one. Following some training and a brief safety lesson from our guides, we launched the rafts. It wasn’t long until we could hear the rapids fast approaching and after just a few minutes, we were lining up for our run down white water. Each wave was like its own amusement park ride and for the next several hours we faced peaks and valleys of calm waters and wild rapids that made for a truly fantastic day.
On day two, we moved to smaller sports rafts in two sections of six lead by MCpls Corbett and Gillis. The lighter boats were less forgiving and the river truly put us to the challenge. Every feature within the rapids presented a different problem to solve and with each one, our teams became stronger. The initial disorganized chaos was quickly overcome as the teams worked together to manipulate and conquer each of the 8-12 foot waves.
The Ottawa River never looks better than from atop Ontario’s only BUNGEE tower 150 feet over deep clean water. Although not part of the training exercise, certain members of CMED and CMED Det Trenton wanted a bigger challenge either as the thrill of a lifetime, or for others it’s the challenge of a lifetime. Whatever the reason, the feeling was unforgettable as they put their moral and physical courage to the ultimate test by jumping from a 50 story crane after paddling the water over two days. Capt Bedard, Capt Cuthbertson and MCpl Gillis; tired but excited, ended the exercise by completing their first ever bungee jump. All successfully climbed 150 feet in the air and jumped to the river below them, conquering their supreme fears. To say it was a “high” point in our trip is an understatement.
Whitewater rafting is an excellent way to encourage camaraderie and strengthen workplace relationships. Communication, trust, and collaboration are paramount in order to stay afloat and these skills were truly put to the test.
A very special thanks is extended to Wilderness Tours, our guides Keegan, Breen and Emily for providing a truly memorable experience.