by Kayleigh Hindman, Operations Manager
The end of the year is almost here and as I sit in the verandah avoiding the paperwork I need to do, I look over the lake and think of the drastic change we’ve had from summer to the winter ice that now coats vast Stoney Lake. Although it seems like a distant memory at this point, I can’t help but to think back to the warmest day of summer and have myself a good laugh.
It was hot. It was so hot you wouldn’t believe how hot it was. Ben was off somewhere enjoying his car air conditioning and I was left alone on what can only be drastically over exaggerated as the hottest day of summer. It was just after Labour Day and I had openly decided I was going to shirk some responsibilities for awhile (#treatyourself). So I did what any reasonable resort staff member would do… I stole my boss’s boat.
If you’re going to keep reading, I feel I should take the chance to defend myself a little. I’m actually pretty smart (in the next few paragraphs you’re going to doubt this) and fairly reliable (you’ll doubt this too).
But what exactly did my smart self do while grandtheft-boating? I changed into a bathing suit I keep in my car, located my boss’s boat keys, and informed our amazing front desk team that I was running away and if I didn’t return not to worry about it… then I ran back to the office and plugged in my dying phone. Next, I untied the Boston Whaler, hopped aboard, and headed out to the middle of the lake. I spent an hour jumping off the boat, swimming around, splashing about, chasing the boat, and repeating before a harsh wind started to blow and I decided, begrudgingly, I should probably be doing my job.
So I climbed back on board, folded in the swim ladder, did a quick check to make sure I hadn’t lost anything, and threw my uniform back on (to deny that this mid-day sojourn ever happened). I started the boat as the wind got rougher, and thought to myself, “if I capsize Ben’s boat I am doomed.” I decided to motor out and make my turn back to the resort between a couple islands to break up some of the waves – see, I said I was actually pretty smart! Halfway through my turn I was hit by a massive wave. Who knew Stoney got tidal waves? Not me! And then the engine made a terrible beeping noise and suddenly cut out…
I put it in neutral and tried again – life for thirty seconds then nothing more – so I try again, and again, and again. It sputtered to life, beeped, died, and I repeated the cycle. Thinking back to my boater safety course, I grabbed the canoe paddle. Turns out I couldn’t exactly reach the water, nor could I really paddle a Boston Whaler with a canoe paddle – physics wins this round. So I sat there, pouting, as the waves pushed me towards a very, very, rocky bay. Using my recently useless paddle I managed to push myself away from the rocks and park the Whaler (it’s biggish boat) on a 4’ piece of dock. I jumped out of the Whaler, tied it as tightly as I possibly could to this itty bitty dock, and jumped out – now would be a good time to mention I left my sneakers on shore – to go looking for help.
First house, no one home, second house, no one home. I could hear kids playing in the next bay over but figured it might be wise to avoid terrifying small children at this point. I ran back to the boat thinking “clearly I’m doing something silly – maybe its not in neutral.” Started the motor – life for ten seconds – then the acceptance set in that I’m stranded two bays from work and ultimately doomed.
Suddenly, I saw her, this marvelous, lovely, amazing lady walking her dogs. I ran up to her and with little to no articulation introduced myself and explained the situation. She let me use her phone, so I called the resort, tell the front desk what happened, and sent them to get me another boating staff member to come rescue me. Meanwhile my savior and I got to talking and she says “Hey, I know a little about boats, want me to look at it?” Obviously, I said “yes, please!” so she grabbed a can of gas out of her garage and we headed down while discussing the first rule of boater safety (always bring a cell phone) and the ongoing hilarity of my situation.
On arrival at the boat, my new friend recognized A) my stolen boat is out of gas, B) it has a reserve tank, and she promptly hooked it up and as a team we managed to push me and the Whaler off the dock and into the lake. In unintended appreciation, I left behind one lonely canoe paddle that I informed her she could totally keep (if you’re reading this sorry about your paddle Ben).
As I came back towards the shore at Viamede, I saw the Sous-Chef waving at me from the dock; he helped tie me off then informed me he’s already called Ben and told him I broke the boat. At this point I started panicking – similar to when you throw a party in your parents’ house and they’re out of town and you’ve broken something – that kind of panic.
So I sat around, waiting, dreading the inevitable conversation. When Ben arrived back at Viamede, he asked what happened to which I responded “turns out you were out of gas” and he laughed so hard at me that I couldn’t help but laugh too. And this story of me getting ship wrecked is the highlight of my summer. The story I’ll tell everyone and the reminder of the importance of boater safety, cell phones, and the kind helpfulness of Stoney Lakers.