My husband, son and I spend a lot of time around water; we swim, boat, fish and we usually have a great time with very few issues. But a few weeks ago while on holidays we took our small aluminum boat along to try some fishing. When we arrived at our destination we walked over to the boat launch to take a look and noticed the water was extremely shallow and we knew we wouldn’t be able to back the boat in and there wasn’t a dock either. This meant we would have to get in the boat after we walked it out into deeper water.
During our walk to deeper water I had a flash back to a very embarrassing situation that occurred six years ago when we had a larger motorboat. I hadn’t boated much and had no idea how to properly board the boat from in the water. I tried climbing over the back of the boat because it seemed like the most logical point of entry but when I put my leg over the edge it started to drift away from me. Which left me hopping on one leg chasing the boat around performing an odd and sad dance that included something similar to a split. I am not exactly an agile person and all this hopping around was becoming very difficult as the boat was getting farther away.
My husband saw what was happening and rushed over to help but his idea of help was to pull the boat in my direction and grab the back of my shirt; this probably would have worked had I not had my momentum going in the opposite direction. So when the boat started coming towards me I knew I was going for a swim whether I wanted to or not. My husband says at that moment he was worried my shirt would come off over my head and I had already drawn a crowd on the shore from all my shouting and hopping so I didn’t need to flash them as well. He then did what he thought was best and instead of tearing my shirt off he let me fall; I went under the water and came back up sputtering. The bystanders on shore were laughing, my husband was acting concerned but I could hear the laughter in his voice and I was soaking wet. He then showed me how to properly board the boat, which would have been more helpful if he’d done it before I took a nosedive into the lake.
So when we were in a depth of water appropriate for boarding the smaller boat all I could picture was my embarrassment from my last dip in the water. My son was sitting on his little seat watching me form a game plan with his Spider-man life jacket on. I also had my life jacket on which further restricted my range of motion and my husband looked at me with a smile on his face and said “hop in”. When I threw my leg over the side of the boat and it was magical, I resembled a gazelle, so graceful and smooth. Before I knew it I was sitting on the seat holding my son with a pretty smug little smile on my face. My husband climbed in and we were off, my son loved the boat and we paddled around enjoying our afternoon.
As we were heading to shore I was already deciding how I was going to disembark our tiny vessel, I thought I could step out as easily as I had stepped in, this was not the case. I stepped over the edge where the water looked to be only a few inches deep and while this was correct the mud was much deeper and I sunk up half way up my calve. When I sunk into the mud the boat started moving in the opposite direction and my husband couldn’t help me because he was holding our son. I couldn’t hop like before because my foot was stuck and as I fell into the water all I could think was not again. When I stood up both my husband and my son were laughing and I hung my head while I begrudgingly pulled the boat back into shore. On the way out of the lake I lost both my shoes and a good portion of my pride.
During my wet, muddy and barefoot hike back to camp and I made a promise to myself that I won’t be climbing in and out of anymore boats that are launched in shallow water, it’s just not my thing.
Christine Komives is sales manager for The Pipestone Flyer and writes a regular column for the paper.