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A Funny thing happened on my way to surface
Date: 6/26/2001, 3:07 pm

OK John Monfoe, Heres another tale from the far side for ya. This is how I spent last evening.....

I just got back from starting my morning with a little snorkeling/scuba diving. Very Cold and refreshing. Now I don't normally start my morning with some down time. This came to pass because of a cosmic karmic low I had last night.

It all began Last night. IT was a beautiful evening. Neighbors were hanging out at the lake impromptu picnic etc. Pizza, kids running around. Break out the boats

First, I come off a hot day of painting a house and dive into the lake leaving a trail of sweat and autumns gold (flavor of paint) and find one of another wooden boat builder neighbor of mine sitting on a rock. He build s wooden aircraft carriers. You'd have to see it to understand it. So I swim on out and we are chatting about recent projects catching up latest paddles. What we are going to build next. How are the kids all the usual. I haven't seen this guys since last summer so its nice to catch up. The rock we are on is slippery with algae and is just under the surface of the lake. I start to fall off. and we just keep talking as I treading water. Now the deep end of the rock has a nice ledge undercut in it, and my foot treading water waves past the ledge and I my wooden aircraft carrier builder friend sees my eyes get big and my conversation cuts mid sentence and he looks at me and says. Snapping turtle? Now I don't know how he knows this but he is pretty smart about such things I guess. Well, Yes and he must have been a big sucker cause he had 4 toes in and is looking for a straight flush. Now this turtle has an epicureans pallet. Like just about everyone else I know he thinks my feet stink. Imagine that. Well, I wasn't frankly to upset that he spit my toes out. Frankly I'm glad to get my foot back and I thrilled I got gotto keep my toes.

Now folks I should have recognized this was just gonna be one of my low karma days. and just gone home, put the betadine on the digits and gone to bed. However, after having all my toes after being mouthed by a big snapping turtle I am feeling well really lucky.... Now I don't know why.

Well, at this point Rick Morgan my shop buddy and the third wooden boat builder now on the beach arrives with his boat and I decided I ought get mine too. So I go bring down my new 20 foot GE and he and I finally get around to rolling practice. Hey the water may be cold but at least it doesn't have ice on it. Now this is were my Karma starts running over my dogma.

We start by letting the neighbors try out our boats. Nonkayakers they like the sensation of paddling a yak. More converts. But as usual first time yakers usually feel a bit trapped under the decks and wonder how they'll get out if they flip. Never mind that we show them how and are with them every stroke of the way. The initial thought is how'd I ever get out of this if I ever really have too. That is the operating perception of those folks standing on the beach........

The time of sharing out of the way Rick Morgan and I get down to the serious business of rolling. So I'm teaching him how to roll his new yak. and I'm practicing my roll in my new GE and thumbing it up after a long winters rest. Which by the way for a 20 foot kayak this GE s a piece of cake to roll. and I think that's incredible and confirms my suspicion that our man Nick is a genius. But I digress.

In any case, we work around on the mechanics of a roll and start doing it in pieces. Rick flipping over and holding on to my fist he starts practicing his hip snap. Rick getting his face wet Rick getting water up his nose. Rick blows bubbles. All the while I am staying pretty much dry. Eating a slice of pizza and generally getting a kick out of watching him dunk himself in cold water repeatedly. Hey what's a good shop buddy supposed to do. Yeah Rick go ahead its just a little cold. Any ways Rick is kicking butt in the roll learning department. His karma content is pretty high for the day. After all why should I get wet I just had my toes nearly bit off by some underwater monster...

Eventually, I decided I couldn't be a total schmuck and keep dousing the fellow in the water whilst I stayed perfectly dry critiquing his efforts out of one side of my mouth as I stuffed pizza in the other side. Especial since he had sprung for the pizza. Time you get your own head wet Russ.

We had a couple folks watching and it was time to move on to the next step. Bow assisted rolling. So, into my boat I go and we start practicing bow assisted rolls. I start by describing a bow assisted roll. Talking about thumping the 3 times on the exposed hull as a signal and moving ones hand front to back, back to front on the side of the boat as a target for the assisting paddler to aim at. Blowing bubbles slowly until you feel the bow pull up snap and say thank you. Everything is going well. OK so far nothing unusual. Rick does a few I do a few. Folks on the beach turn back to pizza and conversation.

So after that its time to do the whole thing. Nail a few rolls. We'll I nailed my first roll and then traded places. After a little more of Rick blowing bubbles as I snickered a bit I went back and pulled another roll and dang it I genuinely missed a roll not once but twice. Well, I set up for a third one, and remembered that my boat was filling a bit with water. I still have a bit of work to do on my hatch gaskets to make em bomb proof. guess and that's that. No problem, besides a bow rescue on the fly would still be a good one not to practice but to perform in a real situation. So I thumped on the boat hull three times. start slowly moving my hands back and forth feeling for his bow .... Rick starts setting up for the assist. I keep moving my hand back and forth Nothing So I roll up to the side of the surface grab a nip of air. Start thumping again and moving my arms front to back back to front....

Next thing I know my boat lurches yanking me half way with it. Bang. Hmn that's odd. Then it happens again and I am yanked the back down. Then I am yanked the other way. Now to be honest with you I'm thinking the snapping turtle probably at least 500 pounds has returned, and has come to get his pizza. Heck I don't know what's up. All I know is I am getting shook like a rag doll under the water and I'm no longer in control of this boat. Between yanks I flipped up to the surface grabbed another nip of air to see what's up. I come to the surface to find that one guy from the beach has dived off a dock clothes and all and another from the beach has splashed in clothes and all, and behind them are about a dozen more worried looking faces.

Well, these two are tossing my boat all over the place. I get yanked under again and I got another big dose of Os so I am good for a while. Good thing cause it gave me time to think about the situation. Try and figure out what s up.

I took one more trip to the surface got a fresh gulp of air and I look at these guys and they have there frantic determined rescue faces on. They are between Rick and I. Rick is looking at all this from his assisted boat wondering what's up. Calmly scratching his head. My wife is standing on the beach sort of giggling trying to explain he can pull the grab loop and be out any time he wants. She is being told by another woman on the beach to put her hand over her eyes and don't look because its to traumatizing to watch ones spouse dye trapped in two feet of water under a yak in calm water...... Back at the ranch I am feeling like I have just joined the Professional wrestling circuit, as my would be rescuers are Grabbing onto a slippery yak from all sides and trying to roll it with a 6' 4" 200 pound guy sticking out of it and as you might imagine its darn hard to do. I'm getting shook like a rag doll under the water. The water is getting all silty. So I keep getting yanked back under every time their hand slips. SO I am sitting under my boat trying to figure out what's up when I realize Aahhhh! They think I am drowning.

At this point, I figured its probably best to relieve them of there anxiety, and I'm tired of feeling all shook up and no roll is gonna ever come out of this So leaned forward grabbed my stupid loop and dumped out of the boat. This causes the boat to right immediately and I get sucked out of the boat pushed to the bottom and I find my way back to the surface.

Well, they have the boat righted. They find me missing and are just starting to panic, when I surfaced about 3 feet away. From where they thought I ought to be. I open my eyes to find myself at the middle of a Resurrection moment! All eyes get big. Except for my wife's who has long ago lost any thought of my being the Messianic just messy. She is still laughing on the beach. While everyone thinks she is a heartless woman.

Having seen me and just as I bringing my face out of the water and am getting my bearing after being shook good. I find I am about am about to be collared and towed... no dragged bare skin on the sand up the beach by the wet T-shirt gang. Fortunately, no one tried to start rescue breathing though if I had played my cards right perhaps that cute lass down the beach might of initiated something. But.. then I am married to her, and she already knows I am breathing just fine. She is the one having the breathing trouble because she is laying on the sand laughing her self nearly unconscious.

So I stand up in the water and say hey relax guys. I explain the situation, and folks don't really want to believe that they haven't just saved my life So Rick paddles up up to say yes indeedy this was the plan. They are so pumped up on adrenaline that hey are shaking. ME I am shaking because I feel like a dead duck that has been shook to pieces by a Labrador retriever pup. Given the explanation they are stunned that some people turn their boat upside down for fun. In fact they build them and design them specifically so they can partake in this simple pleasure. .... Rick Morgan has got this sort of amused look on his face. My wife who is on the beach is still laughing. And I am still trying to figure out which way is up. Gee all I was trying to do was practice my roll.

Well, turns out I thumped the boat 3 times some folks on shore were sure I was franticly flailing and was drowning. A woman on the beach sounded the alarm and the men folk went fully clothed into the water to save the flailing one.

Now the good news is I now know they will rescue me if I get my self in real deep do-do even if I do leave a trail of sawdust everywhere I go. Secondly, the good news is no one had reached for the cell phone yet and called in the police and what little ambulance service we have here in NH.

The bad news is one of my would be rescuers lost an expensive set of prescription glasses. So this morning at first very cold mornings light Rick and I are out there in scuba gear with SAR gear looking for a lost pair of glasses. Better then a morning cup of Joe for waking up. Nice morning. Loons were out. We did find the glasses after about 20 minutes of looking. The snapping turtle hadn't eaten them. But the bass were admiring the wire rims. Though I saw him breathing at the surface in nearly the same spot.

Now my folks taught me that the universe is unfolding as it should. That things happen for a reason and experience is supposed to teach you something.....I have spent much of the day trying to figure out what I have learned.... For all of that I guess I have decided that it is not a good idea to stick ones foot in a snapping turtles mouth, That wire rimmed glasses probably make great fishing lures. Its OK to marry a calm headed woman who will laugh at you. That it is a good idea to always stick your rolls, and have them bomb proof for more reasons then I ever could have imagined. But most importantly never practice rolling a yak in a public beach without first yelling. "This is a drill. This is only a drill. If this had been an actual emergency you would have been instructed to........

Be careful when you practice your rolling.
Happy rolling

Messages In This Thread

A Funny thing happened on my way to surface
!RUSS -- 6/26/2001, 3:07 pm
Re: A Funny thing
Tony -- 6/27/2001, 12:13 pm
Re: A Funny thing happened on my way to surface
LeeG -- 6/26/2001, 6:09 pm
Re: A Funny thing happened on my way to surface
Ken Sutherland -- 6/27/2001, 1:57 am
Please write a book Russ. Your good. *NM*
John Monfoe -- 6/27/2001, 6:12 am
Fat fingers weak mind :D
!RUSS -- 6/27/2001, 5:55 pm
Re: A Funny thing happened on my way to surface
Julie Kanarr -- 6/26/2001, 3:33 pm
Re: Great story Russ :) *NM*
Ben Staley -- 6/26/2001, 3:19 pm