Written by Harry Potter on 27 May, 2002
My favorite time to visit Lake St. Catherine is in the summer when you want to be outdoors all the time. The Lake encompasses about 800 acres and sections of it have specific names e.g. the Cove. Though on any given day…Read More
My favorite time to visit Lake St. Catherine is in the summer when you want to be outdoors all the time. The Lake encompasses about 800 acres and sections of it have specific names e.g. the Cove. Though on any given day there are many different types of water vehicles on the lake, it is so large that there is plenty of space for all of them to share.
I informally learned to canoe, rowboat, sail, windsurf, jet-ski, water-ski and drive a motor boat on this lake. I'll share 3 personal stories of the good, the bad and the ugly water experiences I had on Lake St. Catherine in my childhood.
The Good: Waterskiing is a thrill and the only thing as enjoyable as "getting up" for the first time is witnessing someone else who has fallen time and again successfully "get up" for the first time. Watching the different levels of expertise of experienced water skiers is a sport in itself as you hold your breath waiting to see if they will remain on their skis after jumping a wake or performing some trick. The first time I slalom skied was terrorizing but gratifying. I started on 2 skis, practiced lifting one out of the water, making sure I could keep my balance and then eventually dropping a ski, I slid my bare foot into the waiting slot of the remaining ski. I started to fishtail at first, but kept my balance and eventually reached the comfort level to venture outside the wake. I realized I was creating a very different spray with only one ski and also that my arms had become fatigued quicker than usual. Eventually I gave the signal to head back to shore and as I approached it, I let go of the toe line just in time to glide graciously into land greeted by a round of applause.
The Bad: Although it is typically calm on the lake, winds can cause some swells and I will not forget as a child of about 10, how difficult it was one time to paddle my canoe ALONE back to our cottage on the shore. I remembering paddling until my arms ached but getting nowhere fast. The swells of the lake were going against the direction I wanted to go and I just couldn't make any headway. Since I had my life preserver on, I decided to get out of the canoe and try to swim back to shore pulling the canoe along with me, but this didn't get me anywhere fast either. Well I finally got to shore but not to where I needed to be. No worries, people are friendly on the lake, and a sympathetic neighbor graciously allowed me to call my parents so I could admit that I was stuck. I wasn't going to be able to bring the canoe back via the water, and they needed to come get me with a vehicle large enough to also transport the canoe.
The Ugly: A few years later, I felt confident to take a friend out in a 2 person Sunfish. I knew how to hoist the sail, push down the rudder when the water was deep enough and man the tiller. As we sailed along and began to maneuver outside of the protective cove, the wind picked up and so did our speed. Since we had good wind, I tightened the sail, putting us in a high keel position where both of us needed to lean far back on our highly slanted, out of the water, side of the sailboat. As we started approaching the shore, it was time to come about, but the wind shifted suddenly and the sail which had been let out to even the keel, suddenly started quivering and then without any other warning the boom came flying across. We both ducked as it swung across, but the power of the swinging boom caused the boat to capsize and we both feel out into the water. As we resurfaced above the water, we laughed to find that the Sunfish was now completely inverted with the rudder sticking straight up in the air. Being a light craft it was easy enough to pull on the rudder and right size it, but I had lost my credibility as a sailor and learned another lesson from the elements of nature.