Hodge: A minnow on the water? Not when you help the mighty

After exchanging high fives and all of us giggling at the irony and absurdity of the situation, we pushed off…and drifted away…

Sometimes circumstances and scenarios are so bizarre, odd, or just plain funny that it inspires a response such as, “You can’t make this sort of stuff up”.

When attempting to even retell a saga, whatever it may be, it is difficult to fully express the humour or oddity of the certain moment.

Such is the case with the wonderful and whimsical time I had on Tuesday.

Best buddy and camping/fishing pal Curtis Tulman and I managed to flee the fast lane earlier this week and meander our way to the shores of Kalamalka Lake.

Like many supposed fishermen, the ultimate goal was not so much to catch fish as it was to simply get away from reality for a bit, hang out on the water, swap stories and chuckles and quench some thirst from the heat of the day.

Suffice to say we succeeded.

I sensed from the moment we departed that our first official fishing escapade of the summer had potential to be another wonderful adventure .

Warm weather and no particular time constraints enhanced the odds.

The real game-breaker of expectation was the funky new electronic motor which Tez generously surprised me with on my most recent birthday.

(The only person perhaps as thrilled with the new gift was Curtis because he tends to do most of the canoe paddling due to my emphysema).

We had briefly tested the new motor a week before to make sure it actually worked, but the virgin run had lasted a few minutes and did not include fishing rods etcetera.

Prior to departure Tuesday, Curtis suggested we take a second back-up car battery for the electric motor so we could drain the new one and gain insight into how far we could traverse before losing power. The second battery would guarantee an easy trip home. (Smart dude that Curtis.)

I’m sure onlookers at our departure point (as well as boaters, swimmers, and waterfront property owners) were somewhat  amused at the site of us as we puttered by. My 35-year old, 14-foot Sportspal aluminum canoe boasts more dents and dints than a golf ball and more putty and goop to fill the holes than a reconstructed actress.

A few years back we discovered that strapping down two lawn chairs into the canoe was much more comfy than bending 60-year old knees all day—provided one does not lean too far sideways.

Not only does it make paddling easier but it saves the butt and knees from hours of agony.

Stuffed in between the two of us and lawn chairs, Curtis and I crammed in a fishing tackle boxes, net, rods, anchor, reserve clothing, the always imperative cooler, and two car batteries.

With no further adieu the HMS Escape began the Kalamalka campaign.

Mid-afternoon in blistering heat is neither the best time to catch fish nor to avoid sunburn in the Okanagan but that was not about to stop this dynamic duo.

Considering we were using fly rods on a traditional trolling lake reduced the odds of snagging fish—but again fishing success was not the highest priority.

That said, between the two of us we managed to snag five or six fish of various size and style into the boat during our five hours on the water.

(For the record, we told folks we caught nine or 10).

The first arrived within five minutes while receiving shouted instructions on where to catch fish from a fellow dog-paddling in the middle of nowhere.

From then on, the only time we caught a fish was while floating past another boat or people on their docks who engaged us in conversation.

Five or six conversations resulted in five or six fish. Go figure.

With storm clouds threatening and libations at a critical low point, we decided to head back for the safety of shore.

Our return trek was about half complete when the “you can’t make this sort of stuff up” moment took place.

“That’s a great looking craft,” I muttered, nodding towards the large power boat rocking gently and quietly in the water.

We assumed the static vessel was simply a case of three folks enjoying a sunny stop for some R and R.

Around 100 feet away we veered left to avoid the stopped vessel when the taller of the two men on board hollered out, “Sorry about being in your way, boys, we do not mean to mess up your fishing.”

Surprised by the care and concern expressed, we cheerfully replied it was not a problem

(Most power boaters are either clueless or callous about the safety or silence of fishermen, especially in canoes).

“We’d get out of the way but our motor has died,” he responded.

“Can we help you,” Curt queried.

“Not unless you have a battery to jump us”, the despondent owner sighed. “Don’t suppose you guys have a battery on board do you?”

“As a matter of fact we do. Actually, we have two,” Curt grinned.

“Seriously,” he replied incredulously.

“We do not have cables, though,” Curtis retorted.

“Well we do.”

Mere seconds later with cables attached and a few brief prayers tossed out for good luck the large craft’s motor sputtered into life—inspiring a blustery blend of cheers and chuckles from the five of us.

After exchanging high fives and all of us giggling at the irony and absurdity of the situation, we pushed off clear of the boat and drifted away a few feet waiting to make sure the charge had indeed turned the trick.

After idling for a few seconds, our new trio of friends gave a hearty wave and roared off into the distance.

As they disappeared into the myriad of other boats, Curtis turned to me and said, “Good thing the battery jumped their engine, otherwise we would have had to give them a tow.”

The two of us chuckled the rest of the way home.

Kelowna Capital News

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