The Time I Was Stranded On a Lake

I really like telling stories. Since I'm now on summer vacation, I'm not doing much. This means that I don't have a lot of new things to say, but instead spend lots of time reading old journals and notebooks. Because of this, I am reminded of things that have happened that could make good stories. The story about the time I was stranded on a lake in a canoe is one such story. 

This story takes place in the early fall of 2013 when I was thirteen about to turn fourteen. I was visiting my dad during the weekend of "church at the lake," an annual event where his church is moved outdoors by a lake. This was my first time attending, and since I had recently become friends with a few of the girls who lived there, I was looking forward to it. When we arrived, I discovered that one of the church members had brought some of the kayaks and one of the canoes that he owned. One of my friends who had been attending the event for a long time was thrilled, and invited me to join her on one of the two person kayaks while three of our other friends rode beside us in the canoe. 

It was soon revealed how little experience I had in using kayaks, and by "little experience," I mean that I had absolutely zero. From what I can remember, I had never been in a kayak before, and if I had I'm pretty sure I was too young to row. Because of this, I could tell that my friend was starting to grow frustrated with my difficulty, and didn't like the fact that she was pretty much rowing all by herself. In the center of the lake, there was a small island where we stopped with the three girls from the canoe to take a break before rowing back. After a few minutes of reapplying sunscreen and dipping our toes in the water, me and two other girls discovered that the girl I'd rowed over with and one of the other girls from the canoe had taken the kayak and were quickly moving their way towards shore. 

Needless to say, I was worried. Out of the two girls I was left with, one was around the age of seven, and the other was, well, too distracted by other things to really notice the predicament we had been left in. As I looked out at the distance between the island and the shoreline, I tried to find a way to get back without actually having to row. The three options I could think of were to, 1) call someone to come get us on the boat, 2) swim back, and 3) just live on the island until someone noticed we were gone. Unfortunately, out of the three phones we had with us, one was waterlogged, one had died, and the other wasn't receiving any service. As for swimming back, I have a weird thing with fish and didn't like the idea of swimming in water I couldn't see the bottom of. Also we weren't sure how deep is was, and the youngest girl didn't know how to swim anyway and the thought of pulling someone along seemed worse than figuring out how to row. Our only other option seemed to be waiting for someone to come get us. Even so, no one was looking at the lake. Even from the great distance you could see that people were mostly congregated over by the food or under the gazebo, and it didn't seem likely that anyone would assume we were all stuck. So, we all piled into the canoe, and tried to row our way back. Does it sound like we were no longer stranded? Ha, the story is far from over. 

At first, everyone seemed to be going fine. The force from me pushing the canoe out into the lake before jumping in quickly seemed to propel it a fairly good distance. Me and the girl who was still slightly distracted each look of the oars, and slowly began our way to shore. Soon, we reached the middle of the lake. It was at this point that things began to grow worse. We had already been gone for over an hour, and the two girls who had left us had been back for a considerable amount of time. I still don't understand why no one noticed that three girls had still not returned, and if they did I'm not sure why no one stopped to wonder why/come rescue us. Either way, it was obvious we were going to have to reach shore by ourselves. We continued trying to row, but unfortunately me and the other girl were too out of synch. When I rowed one direction, she went the other. After a couple moments, I realized we weren't moving forward at all- we were simply traveling in a wide, awkward circle.

It was at this moment that the seven year old had the idea to pray. Here's the thing, I'm not the kind of person to say that prayer won't really work but instead our work will get us out of the situation. In fact, I'm quite the opposite. I believe very strongly in prayer, however in that moment I was both frustrated and slightly angry at the fact that one of the girls insisted on rowing the wrong way (she was unintentionally moving us closer to the island). Even so, I was "elected" to pray ("your dad is the pastor so you're good at it" side note: don't make a pastor's kid pray just because of who their parent is...), and so I rambled off something about wanting to get back to shore quickly, said amen, and then resumed rowing. 

So here's part of the story that I didn't learn until the drive home that night: a few people actually had noticed that three girls hadn't returned, and some even noticed that we were struggling with the canoe. Someone had volunteered to come get us, but that was at the moment when it looked like we were moving the right direction. Everyone decided that we were okay and let us continue, but later when they looked out again, we were farther away. It was at the moment that three of the church members got into some of the single person kayaks and made their way over to our canoe. By the time this happened, we had someone managed to get to roughly ten feet away from shore (I still have no idea how we managed to do this). Luckily, we were close enough that all they had to do was toss the end of a rope towards us, and then pull us to shore. 

This story took place about four years ago, but I still laugh to myself every time I think about it. No, I still haven't been a kayak or a canoe since that day, but it still remains one of my favorite memories to look back on. Not because it was a good experience or anything, but simply because it's a fun story to tell. Anyways, I hope you liked it, even if it strangely doesn't serve any real purpose or have anything to learn from :-) Well, not yet anyway... 

This is the same lake, but roughly four years later. The small island we stopped at is off to the left :-) 

This is the same lake, but roughly four years later. The small island we stopped at is off to the left :-)