It’s a beautiful day in Virginia. The temps are in the low 80s F, lots of blue sky, and a lovely breeze. We’ve got a pass to the state parks so we this morning headed once again to Mason Neck State Park to rent a canoe. It’s a wonderful way to see bald eagles, osprey, and all kinds of other wildlife. We also get a discount with having the park pass.
We showed up about 10 am and rented a canoe. Got ourselves set with life jackets, including the one we own for Greta, and set out. We decided to head across Belmont Bay to visit some shore we hadn’t yet visited. It was definitely a ways away from our starting point, but we were taking it slow. The chop was just enough that I was getting seasick in the canoe. That sucked.
We got to the far shore and got out for a bit. Greta did a bit of swimming and so did I. I thought that part of the reason I was feeling nauseated was the bug spray I had put on so a dip in the water would help.
After a bit of playing around, we got back in the canoe and headed for an inlet that I remembered being a great spot to see birds. Instead of hugging the shore, we set out across the bay some more. Spotted some eagles and some vultures. Very idyllic.
Then, we get caught in a boat wake and due to the shifting of boaters, managed to capsize the fucking canoe.
Jason can’t swim. Jason thankfully has his life jacket on. The dog, however, is under the fucking canoe. Fuck fuck fuck, right? But she also has a life jacket and thank fuck there was air trapped under it because it took me way too long to get her out from under it. She’s panicked. Jason’s panicked. I am not panicked, surprisingly, once I got Greta out of the boat, but now I was completely flummoxed with what to do. I couldn’t get the boat turned back over without filling it with water and all Greta wanted to do is climb it or me. Jason, because he can’t swim, wasn’t a whole lot of help. I also realized that our backpacks hadn’t sunk to the bottom yet and as they had both my license and keys, I was determined to keep hold of them too.
Are we having fun yet? Oh fuck no.
I managed to grab Greta’s leash which was attached to her life jacket. I attached Jason to the boat and told him to kick his feet as I tried to point us towards shore. This worked somewhat. My biggest problems were trying to swim with the life jacket on, keeping Jason from completely losing his shit, and the dog trying to climb me or the boat. After not making a lot of progress, we finally caught the attention of some folks on the dock we were heading towards and let them know that no, we weren’t fucking around in the water and actually needed a rescue. A guy came out to help Jason to the dock while I pulled Greta in. Got her on the dock, which wasn’t easy. Sixty pound dogs are heavy, it turns out. Got Jason on the dock, which was somewhat easier. Swam back out to the fucking canoe and with the help of our rescuer, got that to the dock. Then we finally dragged my fat ass out of the water because the dock didn’t have a ladder. That was not fun. I am pretty sure half of my bruises are from that part of things because even at high tide, the dock was still a good 3 ft above the water. Yeah, that sucked too.
All safely on land, now I had to figure out what the fuck to do with the fucking canoe. We lost an oar and I’m pretty sure none of us wanted to get back in it. I borrowed our rescuer’s cellphone to try and call the park, but didn’t get an answer. Finally had to leave a message that we were leaving the boat at the dock. Our rescuer’s father ended up driving us back to Mason Neck so we could fill them in on what happened, dripping slowly all over his BMW. I need to send them a giant thank you.
Back at the park, I filled in the ranger at the visitor center desk, and figured I’d end up owing some decent cash for them having to go pick up the boat. Instead, they utterly stunned me by not charging for a single thing. Mason Neck rangers, you are fucking amazing.
Jason and I are both fine, if a bit battered and sore. Greta I was worried about because she had been under the boat for some time, so we took a trip to the emergency vet just to get her lungs checked. She checked out A-Okay so we’re all home now. Only things lost besides our dignity and calm were the oars and my favorite hat from Fishtown in Leland, Michigan. :(
Lessons learned: Wear your fucking life jacket. No really, I mean it. Also, fold-over sandwich bags do fuckall to keep your phone dry. Both of our hiking packs float surprisingly well. Jason will be getting swimming lessons.
Now I’m going to sit around on the deck and drink something alcoholic because frankly, I think I deserve it today.