Hi Mustrib .. .nope..I wore my winter hill walking stuff that day.. it happened around 12 years ago. I was not a regular kayaker..so admit I was a bit raw..as well as frozen.
I had wet suit socks on.. but they came off my feet when trying to thrash my legs to get back into the kayak..so ended up bare footed. Waterproof outer and fleece inners were sodden...which added to my weight ..so I abandon my attempt to re enter the kayak. I swam to shore. I believe theory says I shouldn’t try swimming..but I knew I was not going to last..that is why I say ..to hell with theory.. I had to get out the water.. my own survival instincts took over
I was very overweight back then.. 17 stone .. I had quit smoking six months earlier and the weight had piled on..so I had plenty blubber to keep we warm..but I still felt I wasn’t going to last much longer. The extra weight I had..was the problem trying to get out the upturned boat. I was wedged in like a cork in a bottle. I vividly remember twisting my body round to break surface ..three or four times..to get a new breath.. before going back under .. so I was still fully aware.. even though the dooking took me completely by surprise. A freak wave caught me out from the rear..I lost balance and was under the kayak. I dont do kayaks now
I will add that it was my brother who saved me. He is a very experience kayaker and writes for a major kayak magazine. He was also a very experienced medic professor at a major university. He also told me I had to get back in the kayak. I tried but I knew I couldn’t..so I told him .. “Im swimming for shore.. either you paddle like hell to get there and I hang on the back of your boat..or I go it alone.”
I think Im here today because ... He paddled like hell.
I do remember him saying when I got on the beach..you are ok..you have another 10 minutes before you collapse. Nice to know brother..I did collapse on the beach.. perhaps the cold shock came then..once I knew I had made safe ground. It all appeared to turn into a dream.
You can see from the way my brother and other companion were dressed ..that it was a bitter day..even they were shook up a bit..its me that took the photos..but that was around an hour later..in dry clothes.. hot coffee ..and sheltered by the survival bag.
To go back to the only point I was trying to make.. given the choice of an aux engine or a PLB.. I know which I would take..any day.
I do also agree with your last breakdown on safety equipment etc. My advice to the OP is dump the flares and get some he can afford.. then work his way up the safety ladder like most folks do. However ..if money is not an issue.. buy the lot..dry suit included .. take every course you can..it saves lives...and makes sense.
We can all learn from others experiences..which is why I wrote all this out. How many PLB owners and Flare firers carry a survival bag ?