Sink that SIB...
Prairie tuber’s deer hunting adventure made me recall a number of interesting discussions I have had with local Alaska SIBers….
I have found that during discussions with several friends and colleagues’ about different hunting and fishing opportunities afforded to SIB owners, the topic will always eventually turn into some horrific cautionary tale of woe and despair regarding run away inflatable’s torn loose from their anchorage or moorings by high wind and waves, or worse….bears and SIB’s….
Apparently bears love SIB’s like tornados love trailer parks and cannot resist sinking their claws and teeth into the nice bouncy tubes much to the eventual horror of the poor soul relying on said SIB for transportation back to civilization….. I have even had the displeasure of being shown photo evidence of such activity and although I strongly doubt fraud on the story tellers’ part, the pictures of the SIB could just as well be those of a demolished hang glider, blimp or fuel cell for all I could tell….. the destruction was so complete as to make a positive identification difficult at best, and repairs without a doubt, impossible!
Naturally this information has struck a chord of paranoia with me, as I intend to use my SIB extensively for fishing and hunting, and those activities being what they are, will almost always leave some sort of scent behind imbedded in the nicks and crannies of the SIB and seeped into the gaps in the floor boards. A little fish slime, some animal blood… and you got yourself a nice bear attractant! Some of the guys claim, that even a thorough cleaning with citrus based cleaners will never completely remove the lingering scent of fish slime…..
So in regards to safely storing or mooring a SIB while camping/hunting in remote fresh water lakes to prelude destruction from bears, I have received the following recommendations from no less that 4 individuals…. Sink it!
At first I considered this advice preposterous at best, and although none of the 4 individuals that recommended it have ever actually done it, they all claim to know someone, or have personally seen someone do it. Apparently the technique goes something like this: Remove the Motor, gas cans and everything else from the SIB and store them in a concealed place on the bank. Pile several hundred pounds of rocks inside the SIB and evenly placed across all the floor boards. With chest waders on, walk the SIB out to about a depth of 4 feet of water and open the valves starting with the inflatable keel first. Raising or “re-floating” is essentially the opposite….
Those that are supposedly “in the know” claim this is the best method to use when leaving the SIB for several days or in extremely windy and rough conditions that would preclude off shore anchoring. Some claim that it is done more to conceal ones presence from other hunting parties more so than to prevent destruction from bears, but either way, they claim it is very effective.
My question for you guys, is that before I ever seriously consider intentionally sinking my boat…. I would like to hear first hand from someone who has done it, and SUCSESSFULY refloated their SIB. So…. Has anyone actually done this?