I’m the Captain and I’m Going Down with my Boat

As usual a weekend at the lake always produces some memories I’ll never forget. This past weekend provided one of the most memorable scenarios to date.

On Labor Day my husband and his uncle went to play golf, while the gals, (which included my mother-in-law Kaye, sister-in-law Claire and my husband’s Aunt Cheryl) hung out at the cabin and went for a boat ride. It’s the last official weekend of the summer,and we decided we needed one more boat ride to tide us over till next year. We get in the pretty yellow boat and the minute Kaye cranks it up it starts beeping. We knew something must be wrong, but what? The oil was fine, but the gas was almost on empty. So we assumed the beeping was a nice little warning that we needed to fill up…wrong.

The beep was constant and as we rounded the little peninsula into where the marina was located to fill up, I look over to the side of the boat and see smoke coming out of the back near where I was sitting.

If you know me, you know I don’t get excited about anything really (just not in my personality). I’m a pretty calm person, with little emotion showing and that includes when I see heavy smoke pouring out the back of the boat. I simply say “ummm” and point at the smoke. It still takes me a minute to react because, I’d seen boats smoke before (I found out later that only happens with boats that take a gas oil mix, which this one did not), but the smoke got thicker and faster.

We start scrambling around on the boat “like a bunch of chickens with our heads cutoff” as Claire described it later. We try to find the fire extinguisher, pulling seats up and opening all the cabinets. Nothing. That’s when I finally felt adrenaline kick in, because what if the engine full of oil and gas ignited? I like James Bond movies and all, but I don’t want to be in one. My chances of walking out of the water with cool Ray Bans on and a sexy swagger as the boat exploded were slim to none.

Finally, Cheryl said we needed to get off the boat. Apparently, she had the same thought about James Bond as I did. She hands me a life jacket and I half way buckle it. I’m a good swimmer but it is never a good idea to jump into murky water without one if you don’t know whats underneath. Roots and other debris do not care how good of a swimmer you are (life lesson for the day). I stood at the edge debating if I should jump at all since I still needed to be very careful because of my recent Lasik surgery. Then I realized, eye infection or blown to bits? It was no longer a debate. I jump in as she tells me to and close my eyes tight. I bob up to the surface and she hands me her cell phone. She jumps in and we start swimming toward the front of the boat.

Claire and Kaye stayed on the boat (brave souls). I think Kaye is spectacularly courageous  because she opens up the engine compartment, which for all she knew could have been in flames. It wasn’t but the smoke was still billowing out. The smoke finally starts to die down, and she tells us it isn’t on fire (sigh of relief).

I hand up Claire the cell phone as she hands me a rope tied to the boat and Cheryl and I start pulling it toward a dock that isn’t too far away. It’s not easy to pull a boat with half buckled life jacket on, but there was no way for me to take it off at this point. I’m pulling the boat along, and then Claire tells me that the water isn’t deep and I look over to see Cheryl standing up. I felt like an idiot, got up and we  started pulling the boat to the dock. By this time, we had attracted a pontoon boat who came to our aid. They offer to tow us back to our own dock. We handed them the rope, then realized we couldn’t get back on our own boat because the ladder was near the smoldering engine, so we ride with them back to safety.

We get on the boat, and we meet two lovely couples who we chat with on the way back. Aunt Cheryl tells them that I’m an author and says when we get back that we’ll give them a book. They were excited, and I was happy we had something to give them in return for their generosity.

Once we got back to our own dock, I race to get them two books (one for each couple) and sign them. I handed them to one of the gentleman who said “Thank you so much!” and I laughed… “no, thank you,” I told him. They really were so sweet and helpful. They’ll forever be a part of my lake memories.

So once the boat had been secured we start talking about the whole experience, and what thoughts were going through our heads. Kaye said “I was thinking I’m the captain and I’m going down with my boat.” We all laughed as we laid on the dock, exhausted from our little adventure.

“Seriously guys, I love all the lake stories for the blog, but do they always have to be life threatening?” I say.

Isn’t it funny how the craziest scenarios make for the best memories? This one’s going down in history for me along side my memorable adventures in NYC’s Chinatown (that’s a story for another day).

This isn’t the exact same boat, but a visual at least.

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