Articles By Our Members

Noah's Ark: The Second Sinking

by Brian Clarke, June 2002

For the second time in as many years, Wally's ark went to a watery grave, only to be rescued in the nick of time by the grace of good fortune.

Tuesday evening, June 4th started as a normal boat club evening at Andy Haydon Park, mild with a light breeze. The ark was floating, complete with a brand new battery, in the middle of the pond when, all of a sudden, it was gone. No one knew why.

Peter Z. stripped down to his shorts and started to wade into the water towards the ark's last reported position. The mud, slime, weeds, and leeches quickly drove him out.

Wally and Bob W. quickly brought a canoe from Bob's back yard and the search was on. The light was fading and even Peter's keen eyesight couldn't spot the elusive ark.

The next morning at 8:00am, Wally, Ken H. and I returned to Andy Haydon Park with my 12 foot aluminum boat in tow, but coffee at Tim Horton's was necessary to wait out a rain shower and plan the course of action. When we arrived at the pond, the roof and some superstructure had drifted to shore but no other sign of the ark could be found. We rowed across the pond many times, a spotter on the bow, one on the stern and the third person rowing. Water depth in the search area varied from about 5 feet to so deep we couldn't see the bottom. Diving masks didn't help, even when Ken put his entire face in the water. I was sure he was going to tumble over the stern.

Just as we were on the point of abandoning our search, talking about lights and scuba divers, a glimmer of a pointed bow and stern with a rectangular hole in the centre appeared in about six feet of water at exactly the expected location. It looked like the photo of the Titanic on the cover of National Geographic.

An anchor was dropped to mark the spot and many unsuccessful attempts were made to retrieve it using a large net on a long pole. Wally was able to raise the deck and the remaining super structure but the hull and battery kept slipping out of the net. The next brainwave had Wally and me sitting together in the stern, each of us with a net on a long pole, and Ken manning the oars. We were to capture the ark between our nets. When Wally and I leaned over the stern together, water started cascading over the stern onto our feet. Only quick action with the bailing bucket averted a disaster. Silt stirred up from the bottom of the pond blocked our view of the area, so we returned to Tim Horton's for lunch and to plan the next strategy. We also picked up another pole with a strong hook on the end.

Back to the pond and the silt had settled. On the first try, Wally managed to hook a deck cross-member and raise the ark to within 3 feet of the surface. We slowly paddled toward shallower water but then disaster struck! The cross-member broke and the ark settled to the bottom again. Our boat drifted down-wind and we lost sight of the ark. Wally finally spotted it and after a few anxious moments the ark and battery were in his hands.

We all headed home for a nap.

Brian Clarke

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