You hear about it happening to your friends, but it could never happen to you right? Well it happened to me, my canoe flipped over, and I lost all my fishing stuff.
Friday night I spent hours preparing for a fishing trip the following day with my wife. We were taking a canoe to a local lake with the intention of fishing near a popular fishing spot. The weather wasn't terrible, but it wasn't exactly cooperating either. The outside temperature was 54 degrees, which meant the water was closer to freezing than it was to 54 degrees. What I didn't know was that this lake was considerably choppy, and the locals knew better than to take a canoe out on it.
When we got into the canoe, what I didn't notice initially was we put a dent into it. So while we were barely out into the water, we realized it was rather tipsy and found the dent. But I brushed that thought aside, wondering if it was just my wife not balancing her weight properly. Sadly for her, it wasn't the best first fishing trip experience. And she even brought her purse along our voyage...
20 minutes into our journey... I cast a line out and the classic fishing blunder happens. My bubble detaches from my line, but it still has it's lure attached to the bubble. So what do I do, like any other conservative fisherman, I row over to the bubble with intentions of saving the lure!
But as I get to the bubble, I leaned over to grab it... and I upset the sensitive balance we had learned in the short time on the canoe. My wife then over corrects our balance, and we then end up in the water... my wife screamed... and our stuff went everywhere.
Wife: My purse! Steven, it has everything in it! Oh no!
Me: It's gone, grab everything we can, we gotta flip this canoe back over.
The futility of flipping the canoe over quickly weighed into my mind. I mean, I'm an eagle scout and all, with my canoe merit badge, but when you practice this sort of thing, there's a mentality to the situation you don't exactly bring along with you when you're worried about saving your precious items, and realizing you're a heavy swim away from the shore with no boats/help in sight.
Wife: What are we going to do?! Wahhh.
This is one of those moments you say something to your spouse in the heat of survival that makes absolutely no sense.
And somehow it snapped her out of it. Luckily when attempting to flip over the canoe, we found my wife's purse, which helped calm her down, and I put it over my neck. I might add, we did have the good fortune of putting on our life jackets, so the sense of drowning wasn't in the forefront of our minds. However, the canoe appeared to be sinking. I had rented it from the local university and wasn't about to lose a couple hundred dollars on top of the soaking wet phones we had in our pockets, the fishing poles which were probably at the bottom of the lake by now, most of my fishing equipment, and the bag full of potato chips.
Grabbing the cooler, which had the good fortune of being a solid floating device, I began to explain to my wife we had to push the canoe into shore. Since there were no boats in sight, we were on our own. My wife was in the front, with the paddles under her arms, swimming as hard as she could. She was on the swim team, had just finished certifying in CPR, and practicing saving drowning people. But even she lost her sense of preparedness.
As we were pushing the canoe into shore, my wife's chapstick started to float out of her purse. Why in the world did I grab it, and put it back in her purse is beyond me. It's a worthless item considering the situation! But I did anyway.
A couple minutes into our endeavor of swimming the canoe to shore, a man appeared on shore. I'm pretty sure he yelled to us to flip the canoe over, but we had already tried that and had miserably failed. But in any case, it was encouraging to know that if either my spouse or I started to drown, someone was on shore to witness it. Because I don't exactly think he had any intentions of getting into the lake himself.
It took somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes to push the canoe all the way into the shore. We had to take a minute break in the middle of swimming, which was probably a bad idea considering hypothermia was setting in quickly. But I was exhausted. When we were getting closer to shore, another man and woman showed up with blankets in arms. They pulled my wife out of the lake, and put a blanket on her while I sorely failed to help them get the canoe out of the lake. While I gave up on helping them, and got out of the lake, the man who was on the shore watching us finally decided he was going to have to get wet, and he jumped in to pull the canoe out - which had apparently been suctioned to the water.
These good strangers gave us blankets to warm up, and drove us back to our car, which we then drove back to their cabin to pickup the canoe. We then drove an hour and 15 minutes home in soaking wet clothes with the heater on full blast. I was smart enough to bring a blanket and a towel on my canoe trip, but the towel was at the bottom of the lake, and the blanket, which we saved for no good reason, weighed about 10 pounds with its water content.
So with no change of clothes, we drove home. The first thing we did was chuck our clothes off and jump into what I will remember as the best hot shower of my life. In the end, this trial ended up bringing me closer to my wife. It was a tragedy where we had lost a couple hundred dollars in items, but we had prevailed! We spent the rest of the day cleaning out her purse, my wallet, and getting new phones. I ended up upgrading both of us to the verizon droid. I guess you have to pamper yourself on days like these, right? We then went out to an expensive restaurant, ran into old neighbors, and spent the night reminiscing.