Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Great Rowboat Caper

Unknown family members in a rowboat
 My family has had a relationship with rowboats since the beginning of time.
As evidenced by the above photo.
Pepop in back, me standing and my cousin Ty in the front
 As a young kid, Pepop took us out rowing in his old rowboat we all affectionately called
The Rainbow Connection
(yes, we all loved the muppets).
When my cousin and I got older, 
my uncle purchased an old rowboat the neighbor had sitting on her property
for as long as I can remember.
We cleaned it up,
slapped on a dolphin decal on one side
and the name of the boat on the other:
(so named for the Chesapeake By Monster)
Chessie to the left, Miss Patsy in the chair and Kelly in the front
 Chessie can be seen tied to the pier in the background
(that's my partner in crime cousin and my aunt in the background).
Anyway, we spent  a lot of time on that boat.
Once we went out on the River and watched a Menhaden boat haul in their catch.
We were gone so long that my grandmother and aunt sent Pepop out looking for us.
Luckily we were headed back in at that point.
We also spent time trying to tip the boat.
I remember standing in it rocking it violently back and forth.
It never tipped.
Never sank.
And even though it had a hole in the seam that we plugged with chewing gum,
it didn't really take on too much water.
Which brings me to the story I wanted to share about the weekend.
This weekend, I had the pleasure of taking the Brat Child to Scout Camp.
One of the Scout Camp activities is boating.
Scouts enjoying a relaxing row around Memory Lake
The Brat Child developed this irrational terror fear of boats.
Last year I all but dragged him on the boat.
This year he went sort of willingly, 
but only after I insisted you can't sink a rowboat.
"I've tried," I said.
"They don't sink," I said.
"Sinking a rowboat is impossible," I said.
He asked me what happens if in fact they do sink
(while we were in the middle of the lake)
I explained how the boat starts to take on water,
rolls over and floats upside down because of trapped air.
"You then just hang on to the boat and stay with it,
but rowboats don't sink," I said
 So the camp staff signaled for us to head back to shore.
Big E started rowing back, and at this point,
we began realizing that there was a lot more water in the boat
than there was when we left shore.
"Row faster," I said.
I kept looking at the back of the boat, now only half an inch above the water level.
Big E and I both knew we weren't going to make it back to shore.
I handed the Brat Child my camera (the water proof one) to hold and prepared to attempt to launch myself towards the front of the boat in hopes that would level things out before it was too late.
It didn't work.
The Brat Child began shrieking.
The unsinkable rowboat began sinking.
As it filled with water and rolled over, I calmly narrated
"See, this is what I said would happen. 
Okay, now it's rolling over, and now we hang onto the hull."
The Brat Child was still shrieking.
Also, he was trying to climb on top of my head. 
And he was yelling things like "This is the stupidest place ever! I'm never coming here again!"
Then we saw the staff start to row out to us.
The Brat Child said, "They are coming to rescue me! I'm getting into that boat and you can swim!"
Through all this, The Brat Child never dropped the camera.
The staff member was a little irritated 
because he thought we swamped the boat on purpose.
I explained The Brat Child's terror and told the guy the last person I needed to have this happen to was BC.
The guy took BC to shore and Big E and I swam the rowboat back to the dock.
swimming the boat to shore

 When I got to shore I explained to the staff that the boat was taking on water
and that it wasn't coming from splashing or coming over the sides.
Turns out the damn thing had a hole in it. 
So, that's my exciting weekend story about the rowboat that sank.
I laughed through the whole thing. 
The Brat Child not so much.
(but none of us got our hair wet and the PFDs did their job)

No comments:

Post a Comment