Wednesday, May 13, 2009

NEW EXPERIENCE

Ahhh! Flame Azalea's. What a site to see while paddling out on a pristine mountain lake. There won't be a lot of photo's for this entry. Read on and you'll see why. I arrived at Indian Boundary Lake very early in the morning. Everything was perfect. No wind, warm and the water was calm as glass. I sat the canoe in the water and tossed everything into it and was off. I wanted to paddle the entire lake shore first thing, which I did. I kept vigilance for otters and snakes. Both make interesting photography. I saw neither. There were only three tourists back at the boat launch but their voices carried across the water very loud. I'm sure any otter worth calling himself a king of this lake would hear the clatter and stay in his den. I paddled out where Paul and I found the spawning beds at the South end of the lake. This area had stumps and underwater cliffs which would make good cover and provide food and shelter for the crappie and bass. Within four hours I caught eight largemouth bass and one crappie. The crappie was the size of a coffee saucer. I couldn't believe his size. All the bass were one pounders. Of course I photographed them and gently put them back into the water. They are fun to catch. I took all the pictures with my Canon S3 digital while keeping the new Canon D50 with the 300 mm lens safely stored in my new Pelican water and shock proof floating case. It was ready for any wildlife possibilities that might present themselves. I fished from the center of the lake to the opposite shore line. The wind was picking up force. I found it almost impossible to steer the canoe where I needed it to go. It was impossible to keep it on course. So I let it go with the wind and current. This was really neat. I took the lure off the line and sat the rod down. No need to paddle either. I put my feet up on the center seat and sat back in the chair back that Paul gave me. Wow! This is where it's at. Just then I noticed I was being blown strait toward a pole that was protruding from the surface. I grabbed a paddle and tried to turn the boat but I was too close to it. The wind was really pushing the canoe at light speed. We would collide if I didn't take action. The pole approached quickly and all I could do was to extend the paddle out and push against the pole to make the canoe swerve around it. No big deal. Right! This is a canoe we're in. The paddle contacted the pole at approximately my shoulder height (sitting) and I pushed. The boat did not respond as expected. Instead it did a perfect roll over. She rolled totally upside down spilling all the contents including me into the lake. Fortunately I had everything tied to the canoe. Problem was that everything was not in a dry bag. The pelican case with the new D50 was floating but still tied to the boat. The S3, which I keep handy, was on the bottom of the lake. The canoe was full of water but floating. Well, I proved that advertisement to be true. It won't sink. I was able to dump about half the water out of the canoe while on the lake and decided to half swim and half walk the mess to shore. The water ranged from four to six feet in depth. Once on the shore I threw everything onto the grass and turned the canoe upside down to empty it of water. I'm thankful it is warm out or this would have been serious. Two months ago would have been a different story. I loaded up and paddled back to the truck. I did learn a valuable lesson. Dry bags for everything. The cell phone (mine is ruined) also goes into a dry bag. Cameras go into the Pelican case at all times while in the boat. If I miss a shot; so be it. And that's why there are no pictures in this entry. Canoe's are predictable boats. It's when one lets the guard down and becomes lackadaisical that trouble starts. Canoe's require every action to be thought through. I must never forget to think this way: "If I do this, the canoe will do that." I pushed on the pole too high up. I caused the boat to roll to the opposite side instead of move away from the pole. I should have made contact with the pole at the same height as the top edge of the boat and probably not pushed, but simple hold the boat away from the pole with pressure on the paddle only. But I didn't. Same with stepping into and out of a canoe. Stoop low, one foot in and onto the center of the floor and bring the other in beside it. If the body is out past the side of the canoe; its going over. No matter what one does; its going over. It's that little edge of danger I really like about canoes too. They are much like motorcycles. Just a little edge of uncertainty to keep a guy thinking and on his toes. Maybe I should have worked on the remodel project today. Na!