"I'll just say it wasn't quite ready for whitecaps. Ben will have to tell that story."
We were so anxious to put the raft in the water, we didn't even bother to strap the barrels on. Besides, the wind was coming off of shore and there were no waves. Well we lowered the platform in the water while we slid the barrels underneath. We took it out for a spin and life was good, but the water was still to chilly for swimming, so we just tied the raft to shore.
It didn't move over night, but the next day, the wind shifted toward shore. I was talking to Matt and looking at the raft through the window. Just as I said "well we've got some waves but it looks ok," a barrel fell out from under the deck. "GATTA GO" I said as I ran out the door and down to shore.
Without hesitation I stripped down to my underpants and hopped into the water to find that three more barrels had fallen out. I ran down the shoreline and one at a time, threw them back on shore so they weren't going anywhere, then tended to the raft again. Each time I tried to pull the raft up onto shore over the rip rap shoreline, I'd lose another barrel or two, run to chase it, and start over again. All the while, I was cursing mother nature (not the best idea) It wasn't long before I was cold, exhausted and out of barrels to chase. To top it off, the raft was only getting heavier as it sat in the water.
I finally gave in and called my dad and Matt to help out. I pulled it down to the boat landing and while I waited for the rescue, I had to stand in the water and hold the deck away from the shorline to keep the waves from tossing it into the rocks. My bare feet were killing my feet but the cold numbed them up well enough.
My dad and Matt finally showed up at the same time. While my dad backed the trailer in and I stood in the water in my skivies, Matt rolled up his pants and walked in.
"Man, the Rockey bottom is hurting my feet" he said. I didn't dignify that with a response. We got the raft loaded up and out of the water, we each had a beer, then I took a long hot shower.
Yes, we underestimated the wrath of Diamond Lake. And now your thinking, how will they make it down the river in fewer than ten peaces if they can't even make it on the lake. Well, the barrels are now strapped on and should hold strong, thanks to Leo Schwise. If we do hit a rock hard enough to break the straps, it will only be one or two, because they are all strapped on seperately.
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