"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Monday, May 05, 2008

Big Lake Fever

This was the scheduled day for the Big White Boat on the Big Lake to head into the icy waters for its annual "shakedown cruise."

On this beautifully sunny morning I drove up to the motorship's winter port and joined our Governor, numerous state representatives, a US Senator, local and state officials, and others on board. The total number of passengers was 302, the highest ever.

We must've looked like suspicious bunch. Marine Patrol kept a close eye upon us as we headed out.

"Is the wind blowing my hair?"

If I look guilty, it's because I'd just polished off the biggest, bestest double chocolate marshmallow cookie I've eaten in my life. Warm and fresh from the oven. Sinfully delicious! It was a cookie, but had all the elements of a S'more. (Only I managed to restrain myself and didn't go back for s'more.)

Along the way to our next port of call, we passed shorefront cottages and houses that hadn't yet been opened up for the season, year-round residences, and several loons.

When we arrived at the Weirs, the gangplank was extended and the Governor disembarked.

In the Broads.

Most of the time I was on one of the various decks, soaking in the sunshine and admiring the scenery and watching for loons on the glassy surface. When the official ceremony took place, I joined the crowd gathered in the lounge.

Our state's Director of Tourism congratulated the officers on the opening of a new season and predicted a busy and lucrative summer on the Big Lake.

The occupancy certificate was presented to the captain. Then our state Fire Marshal, pictured on the far left of the above photo, presented the fire safety certificate.

All of the speakers expressed their pride in the vessel, its excellent condition and continuing popularity, the dedication of the staff. I admit, I got rather misty during these remarks.

As we steamed back to Centre Harbor (why oh why is it centre with an "re" but not harbour with an "ou"?) I headed up to the wheelhouse to check out the navigation equipment.

And thrill of thrills, I was permitted to take charge of the big wheel.

Definitely the highlight of my journey. That double chocolate cookie was a distant second.

On such an exquisite day, with lake fever burning hot, I was tempted to stop off at the cottage before heading home. I had too many tasks awaiting me back at the Lodge, so I contented myself with stopping at the scenic overlook.

A view of "our side" of the bay from the "other side."

Using my camera's zoom, I locked onto our distant shore. The vertical arrow marks the cottage roof. The horizontal arrow points at our boathouse.

Needless to say, I feel very fortunate to have spent three hours on board the Big Boat in such weather, enjoying the company of my legislator friends.

And of course, now I'm very, very impatient to complete "opening up" chores at the cottage so I can spend as much time as possible beside the lake I love so much. Waiting for the big white motorship to come down our bay, right past our dock!

Exactly like this:

If you go here and scroll down the left hand nav bar, you can click an icon and listen to ship's horn. We heard it blast several times during the cruise--to test it. I'd say it passed the test. It was so close, and so loud, especially when I was up on the topmost deck, that it made me jump!

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