Vacation Story #1 - I'm Not Making This Up

Day One, About 3:30 PM - We decide to visit a favorite fishing spot on the far side of Second Machias Lake, so we all jump in Craig's 16' fiberglass boat and head for the spot, which is about 30 minutes away by boat (with the weight of five guys in it). About two minutes away from the spot, DJ gets tired and decides to give up his rock-spotting duties to Jimbo, who climbs up on the bow of the boat. Later, Jimbo would admit he wasn't paying attention to what was in front of us.

The next thing you know, my head is glancing off the instrument panel and DJ is on top of me. We hit a rock, dead center, and the boat simply stopped. Jimbo was ejected into the water and Craig picked himself up off the ground and immediately hollered out to Jimbo to see if he was okay. Thankfully, he was.

DJ cut the bridge of his nose and his forearm. I escaped with a mere bump on the noggin. Craig, Bonner and Jimbo were all fine. The boat didn't fare as well, unfortunately. As we approached our fishing spot, the bilge started filling up with water and we elected to limp back toward the island.

That's when things really started getting hairy.

Bonner and I were bailing water when the motor suddenly quit and couldn't be restarted. We killed the battery trying to get it restarted, and Craig couldn't find the pull cord for a manual restart. So Jimbo and DJ jumped overboard and started pushing the boat toward another nearby island while Bonner and I continued bailing. We made it to the island before sinking, but upon hauling the boat up on some rocks, found we had a nice gash in the fiberglass where the rock had hit.

We did manage to get a faint signal with Bonner's cell phone, so we called up family friend Gene Stoddard to see if he could lend a hand. Unfortunately, Gene wasn't around, so we had to figure out what to do next. It was a bit after 4 PM and we elected to travel to the other side of the island we were on to see how close we were to Craig's island.

That was a bit tougher than anyone had initially thought. The island we had landed on was mostly thick brush and trees. So we spent about two hours pushing our way through trees. Along the way we spotted moose and black bear droppings and wondered how creatures of such size could make their way through the dense brush. After wending our way through the woods, we came to a marshy area that took us some time to navigate. Picture, if you will, walking on something with the consistency of a marshmallow but with thorny bushes sticking out of it. Craig and I were wearing sandals and cut up our legs and feet quite a bit.

After traversing the marsh, we came to the waterline on the opposite side of the island. Craig didn't recognize the waterway, so we were kind of at a loss for what to do. Someone suggested we swim to the next island, but it was starting to get dark out and I didn't think that was such a smart thing to do. Not being able to get Gene on the line, I told Craig we should call 911 and get someone to come out and get us.

After Craig explained to the dispatcher that we were in trouble and gave a description of where he thought we were, we started a fire on a rock with some moss and dried timber. I burned a leech off my leg with a cigarette lighter and waited for help. Some hours later, in near-total darkness, we saw lights coming toward us. Two game wardens in shallow-bottomed boats spotted our fire and were trying to find a way to navigate between islands to get to us. After about 30 minutes, they made their way over to us and picked us up.

Turns out we had made our way into a part of the lake that was very difficult to navigate, with a ton of rocks and weeds that made getting through with a boat very difficult. It took us over an hour to get back to the island, and the game wardens had to take it slow, having spotters with flashlights spot rocks and logs from the bow of the boat with a flashlight. They'd have to stop every few minutes to remove weeds from their props.

They dropped us off at the island and took down all our names to file a report. We told them we'd get some help the next day to retrieve the boat and get back to the mainland, thanking them for their help. I was very glad to have made it back in one piece.