Monday, April 27, 2009


Ice berg dead ahead!....cut your speed and head to port side!
No; that's not a line taken from a scene of "The Titanic" and there was definitely no romance; "arms held aloft; staring from the from the bow of a huge cruise ship into the blackness of the open sea" screaming "I'm the king of the world"....none of that!
But we were watching for ice flows and minding our speed.
It was on a early spring boat ride, with an old friend of mine, Kevin Ohara. I was extolling the virtues of waterfront property ownership and how in these troubled times it was the the best investment. He, on the other hand, I think, was for the most part just enjoying the day. He was suitably impressed with the listings we viewed, but mostly marveled at the beautiful scenery of that part of the Severn River, with it's windswept pines clinging to ragged rocky outcroppings and sparkling clear waters.

At this time of the year things are pretty quiet on "the river" and with the outboard off; all one might hear is the occasional chatter of a red squirrel and the gentle whisper of wind in the tree tops. (not every body's cup of tea, but heaven for some.)
It was April 16th and indeed still a fair bit of ice in the river and plenty in our bay as you can tell from the included pic.
Heavy flooding east of us this time of year on the trent is remedied, to some extent by releasing as much water through the lock system as possible and with that water comes floating debris and dead heads and of course chunks of ice.
As captain, of the ship it's my duty to skillfully navigate around said debris and ice flows to and from each listing, pointing out areas of interest on the tour, all the while watching my speed and time. (As it is necessary to return the client to shore at some point; who knows, maybe even when you promised to have them back.)

Whilst doing all of this it is also my mandate to sell them a cottage of course.
I've often said that decisions to "buy" are generally made during a sunshine filled tour of our section of the "trent" with it's meandering channels, private bays, inlets, and outlets marked by picturesque little dams like that at Pretty Channel and Lost Channel.
"After that it's just a matter of choosing which cottage they want."
On this day I was "rambling on" as I sometimes tend to (big shock eh?) .....I think I was getting to the part where I tell folks that "Yep; I pretty much know these waters like the back of hand" when I casually carved off the end of the channel; a route I have taken many times before; but maybe not in an off-plane boat position and apparently not with the water level reduced by about 18 inches in that area.
As I'm sure you can guess, it wasn't the ice flows or the dead heads, or the floating debris that was my undoing; it was in fact "what lurks beneath".

A loud noise and a sudden jar from below interrupting my tour commentary and I am sure throwing doubt on my prowess as a local expert.
In the end most of the damage was to my ego; the skeg showing just a little scar and the prop escaping harm completely.
One must "chalk these things up to experience" and not dwell too deeply on one minor incident during what was otherwise a great day on the water.
After all we both survived.
And there was definitely no need for any tearful rendition of "My heart will always go on" by Celine Dion !