5:30 is the time birds start chirping and the sun rises and the night creatures head to bed. It should not be the time young two year old girls wake their parents up after a day of travelling. However in McLeese Lake, B.C. it is. Maybe it was a sign of the times for things to come but who were we to know what was in store today?
“I fall in water”
That’s all she kept saying after we got on shore. And hours. And Days. Later.
V, Jenn and I headed out with Jenn’s father into a canoe for a leisurely row. It started out nice. V sat with me in the middle of the boat; Jenn steered; and Jenn’s father Howard was the power. V enjoyed it as she could see the water pass by, the drift of the canoe was slow and rhythmic. A pair of loons in the middle of the lake sat quietly by as we passed them.
We turned inward and headed back. A powerboat came off from the docks towards us. You know that weird feeling you when you look at something? That feeling like something is about to go terribly, terribly wrong? You know it’s going to happen, but you refuse to act. Maybe you can’t or you just can’t believe it’s going to happen and your body doesn’t react.
We saw them come towards us. Powerboat versus canoe. They were 30 yards out. Then 20. Then 10. It was around that time we realized that a) they were doing about 30-40kph and b) they were about 10 feet away from the boat from the starboard. Yeah, a 30kph motor boat 10 feet away from a canoe. There’s no surprise to the outcome.
Jenn turned the boat as best as she could but we didn’t realize they were not going to slow down or pull away until it was too late. The first wave from their wake hit us and hit hard but it was just a strong rock as we swayed back and forth from it’s power. The second wave. That was the bullet.
I remember being tossed from the boat and over the port side. I was holding Vista and never let go. I did what I could to keep her up, not worrying about myself and not even thinking about the situation. My only concern was to keep her above the water. With my eyes open the entire time, I remember looking at V under the water. It was only for a few seconds (2-3 at the most as I recall) but she looked okay. She wasn’t gulping down gallons of lake water which was a good thing. She was just a little in shock as she didn’t quite know what was happening.
I came up seconds later, holding Vista above my head trying to tread water with my legs. She was crying as it was quite the different environment than being in the boat. Luckily for us, the water in the lake was very warm and pretty clear. A few moments later Jenn surfaced and then her father. I started heading inwards to the shore which was about 30 yards away. Jenn wanted to take V in while I helped her father with the canoe.
We dragged the canoe in. At about 10 yards from the shore it’s about 5 feet deep so another stroke of luck and we can walk in from there. V was okay, still crying and shook up from the incident but seemingly alright. It was another half hour before we got everyone on shore, the boat setup and heading back to the dock, and V in dry clothes and sitting with family at camp. I finally dragged my butt back to the cabin to get some dry clothes.
The casualties? My wallet and all my id. It’s since dried out but there are some receipts lost that I’ll have to figure out how to explain at work to reclaim my expenses. The other loss was my new Flip video camera (along with 2 hours of video of Vista) was toast. Jenn later said it did turn on (after about 24 hours of inactivity). It’s sitting in my pocket right now and I’ll probably give it another few days before I plug it in and try to recover the data.
No way to track the asshats down that did this. They were obviously wreckless. You don’t pass by a canoe that close and that fast. They even saw Vista so knew there was a baby on board. Also they didn’t bother to stop after dumping us. There were no real markings on the boat and we couldn’t find it afterwards. The lake is enclosed so they must have been day trippers so they’re long gone.
A few hours later though V was quiet and calmed down somewhat, enough to spend some time in the hammock with her cousin Heather.
She’s good but she kept repeating “I fall in water” the remainder of the day. That bothers me.
You can view the entire Flickr set for this trip here.