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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Lake George

We were at the beach all last week, (Emerald Isle, NC, specifically) doing all the things people do at the beach: drink, play cards, drink, play Yahtzee, drink, play bocci, drink, swim, drink, lay out and read, drink, drink, eat, drink, etc.. One day, between drinks, a few of the guys hooked up with the father of one of the women (who is also the father-in-law-to-be of one of the guys) and went fishing on his boat. We cruised up the sound, past Morehead City and Beaufort, and out Bouge Inlet to the ocean, where we bounced around on 5 five foot seas for a few hours, trolling for whatever we could catch; entire haul: one tattered plastic bag, and a sighting of the bouy put out above the wreck of Blackbeard's boat. Though overall a fun time, the wave action and exhaust fumes got to me after a while, and I was pretty green until we pulled into the calm water on the sound side of Shackleford island for lunch - which I just nibbled at while my belly did flips. Eventually, we got back to fishing, but things settled down internally when I remembered that it helps to watch where the boat is going and anticipate the waves, rather than to just get tossed around passively - fuck the fishing poles, let the other guys watch them. Shoulda thought of that sooner.

And, on the way back to the marina I was thinking about Lake George, NY, where I spent many summer days working, when I was in high school. It's a big, deep, cold, historic lake surrounded by mountains; and since it's about halfway between NYC and Montreal, it's always mobbed by tourists in the summer. I used to fish there a lot, mostly from the shore, but sometimes in boats, and I remember the only times I'd see any big waves was when the big tour boats went by. At the time, there were three of them: the Minne-ha-ha, the Mohican and the Ticonderoga (I went to a prom on the Ticonderoga). They did tours up and down the lake all day long; and when they went by, you could watch the wake slowly make its way across the lake, till it ended up as few two or three foot waves - and then it was back to lazy ripples.

Sadly, a tour boat full of elderly people on Lake George turned over today, killing 21 of them. The CNN story I read suggested it flipped in the wake of the Mohican. But the local paper's website says something else:
    The sheriff said initial reports were that the wake from the Mohican, a bigger tour boat, may have been what caused the smaller boat to tip. But later Sunday night he said it was unclear which tour boat might have caused the wave.

    "There are witnesses (from the boat) who said they (passengers) were looking at another tour boat," the sheriff said.

    Apparently, a number of the passengers moved to the side of the boat that was tipping to look at something, possibly the other tour boat, which caused it to completely flip over.


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