Christopher Audet 01/03/2014 | Posted in JK Team Posts, Journey, Recreational/Touring
What can make a man brave 13 degree temps and 25 knot winds on the North Atlantic in January? One word; Karma. For those of us that play and work in the frigid ocean waters, good karma is something we like to stockpile in abundance.
After weathering a major ice storm followed by a major blizzard over the holidays, I decided to go out for a paddle in my Jackson Journey to ring in the new year. My paddle took me around a local 900 acre island preserve that is 1.5 miles from my home. The weather was in the low 30’s and the sun was out. A sweet day for a short winter paddle. About 40 minutes into my journey, I saw an odd sight. A blue 12 foot aluminum boat was sitting just above the high tide line in a spot that was not really conducive for landing. I saw no sign of the owners and was able to paddle close enough to get the registration number. In doing so, I noticed that the boat was frozen to the rocks by the hull. I made note of where the boat was located and committed the registration number to memory and continued on my way.
Later that evening while warming up by the wood stove, I decided to call the Coast Guard and report the boat that I had seen. They took all the information and told me that they would record the info and see what they could do. Well, an hour later they called me back with news that they had found and contacted the owner of the boat and that he lived 2 towns south of me. He wanted me to give him a call which I did. Turns out that the boat was lost from its tie up during a nasty coastal storm we had the day before Thanksgiving. He had written the boat off as lost for good and probably sunk. He was incredibly stoked that I found his boat however, he had no way to recover it. This was a challenge that I could not pass up. This boat had traveled 10 unmanned nautical miles and somehow fetched up on an island the next town up the coast.
The following day dawned with thick fog, freezing rain and high winds. Not Ideal for trying to tow a 12 foot aluminum boat with a kayak so I waited until the next day. That day was bright and sunny, however, the high temp was forecasted for 13 degrees with a steady 15-20 knot wind with gusts up to 35. A bit chilly even by my standards. Because of the conditions, I decided to recruit my good friend and fellow Maine Sport Guide, Roy Curtis to help me out. We fought the wind to get out to where the boat was stuck and landed with some effort on the ice glazed rocky shore. It was so cold that I had to use my river knife to chip the ice off my spay skirt so I could get out of my Journey (for some odd reason Roy and I both seem to enjoy the challenges of real cold paddling). When we got to the boat we found that its solo trip had ripped a hole in the hull large enough to make it a real hazard to try a tow recovery. The boat was still repairable just not where we were at the time. After weighing our options, we decided to try to lift/drag the boat up the ruggedly steep landscape and get it to the access road on the island. This task required a Herculean effort and an hour and a half struggle to complete. We did prevail and the boat was now safe and ready for the owner to drive in and pick up his long lost boat.
Here is where good Karma comes in: The man who owns the boat also owns a fantastic local Thai food place. In return for saving his boat, he treated both Roy and I to a delicious Thai feast for lunch a few days after the recovery. I heard from the guy yesterday, and he is in the process of welding a plate to his hull to get his boat back on the water. He also offered us another Thai feast.
Don’t you just love a happy ending?