It all began four years ago. A trip to the lake as a family with a few friends, enough to fill up a ten person pontoon boat. We had a blast boating, swimming, and tubing. We wanted to do it again the next year. This time we wanted to take two boats full of people. We wanted to share the fun with others. (The only way we could do this was because we are part of the Barter Network through the business. Joe does a pest control job for someone also in Barter, and we get the money/points put in a virtual bank, which we can spend on anything else included in the network. It's been a great benefit!) So, two boats were reserved, but we found that the laws for tubing had changed. We needed a license to tow so we ended up just boating that day, but also we discovered Chicken Rock. We spent a long part of our day anchored there as the kids (and a couple of men) took daring jumps off the rock into the water below. The kids did miss the tubing so I decided I would get my license, which I did online that winter.
The third summer arrived. It was time to go, but this time we got three boats. There were a lot of people. There were a couple of jet skis. Ben and I got dumped a couple of times while riding the jet skis. I should have taken a hint. Something wanted me that day. Nobody else got dumped off of anything, except us. Why else would I get dumped over and over again? Yet, I did not listen. And so this summer arrived...
We decided to keep it simple this year. We would only reserve two boats. I looked at the calendar for July. In the past we always booked our outings for that month, but between the business getting extra busy this July, as well as friends and family traveling, it just did not work out. So we put it off. August was approaching very quickly. We needed to get our traditional trip in, but for some reason I was hesitant. It was almost like something inside me kept resisting. I finally took a look at the website to see what was available for rent. It was then I read that a new law had taken effect and now to tow I had to take an additional class specifically on waterskiing/towing. Maybe that was one reason I had put it off? I took the class. It was an ordeal to get my certificate though. Nothing is ever easy now a days, is it? Everything was finally ready. I booked the boats and I had my certificate. Everything seemed good, but still that hesitation inside. I was praying for some specific things for the day, as well as the weather to be nice for us. I prayed that everything would go well and we would all be safe. If I had known, I would have been more specific with my prayers such as, "Please, Lord, keep the Candlewood Lake monster far from us!" Alas, I did not.
All went well for the first few hours. We swam.
"What do I do to get this unstuck?"
"Drive forward, and then go back," he suggested.
It was worth a try. We had to get out somehow. I drove the boat forward. It did not feel like we were going anywhere. I drove the boat backward. We pulled the anchor rope again. Still nothing. I did it all over again. Forward. Backward. Suddenly Joe said he saw the rope moving! More like bouncing. What? A big heavy hunk of metal bouncing? Caleb began pulling the rope up. It was not as hard this time, but something was still giving some resistance. The anchor surfaced with a big surprise attached to it:
Well, believe what you want. I was just glad to be free. The boys got their tubing in, and we stopped to pull them in. It was Joe's turn. I stopped the boat and looked around to see where his boat was. It was a little further back then I expected. It looked like they were dropping anchor so I turned around and putted over to them.
"Why'd you stop so far away? The clearing is better for tubing then the channel."
He glanced at me. "Our boat is broken." He had his phone and the instructions out.
"It just stopped. The motor won't turn on. I think we're out of gas."
Then it hit me. The creature wasn't done with us. He still wanted us and was going to make every effort to keep us on that lake. We had forty-five minutes left to get to the docks. I could not leave them stranded. We decided to try to tow his boat. It worked for a while, but the winds were so strong, and we could only go about five miles an hour. The steering got harder and harder the further we went. It felt like something was hanging onto the rudder and the drag would not let me easily turn the wheel anymore. I shut off the boat.
"I think we should let the marina handle this," I called back. "I can't steer it anymore. And I don't want to break our motor either!"
He agreed. We took on a few of their passengers and sped off to the docks so we would not be late. We arrived, got our stuff out of the boat, and the kids went off to change. I asked the people at the office what was the ETA of our stranded boaters? They said someone was off to rescue them, but they had not heard when they would be back. They suspected a leaky (should I say cut, maybe?) fuel line. They did not want to put gas into it in case there was a leak so the gas would not go into the lake. Hmmm, what do you supposed cut the line anyway? Those talons appeared in my mind. Another thing they also commented on was how strange it was for one of the pontoon motors to cause trouble. A coincidence? I think not...
The stranded boaters finally appeared in a little rescue boat. They were happy to be back on dry land. I was happy they were too, and that they were all still in one piece! As we were getting ready to leave to grab some pizza afterwards, I saw this tractor pulling the boat, Sandy Beaches. That was Joe's boat! They had made it back in record time and it was off to the shop to see what was wrong. I wonder if they found scratch marks on the fuel line hose???
Thank You, Lord, for all the answered prayers yesterday. Thank, You, for helping us have fun despite the circumstances. And thank, You, for keeping us safe from the monster... Until next year...,