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Four Men in a Leaky Boat Without a Pencil

Part of my new duties require regular lake water testing for dissolved oxygen, water levels, salinity, and temperatures at various depths. The large corroded aluminum boat that the four of us had to use to get out onto the lake began to take on water almost immediately, and the outboard motor housing kept falling off. We reached the middle of the lake preparing to start taking readings when we realized no one had a pencil, or any other writing implement. Great start.

We headed back to the opposite shore to beach the boat and retrieve a writing tool, and soon we were back in business. I looked at the water rising in the boat and mentioned it to the "skipper" who's job I was taking over in a week. He said, "Uh, yeah. . .it's okay." Not reassuring enough for me. We had plenty of life jackets (that were now floating around in the water sloshing back and forth in the boat), so, um. . . we were good.

I am not a wimp, but I do not risk life and limb unnecessarily. Since I nearly drowned when I was 14, I have had a significant concern around large bodies of water. I do not swim very well, and my stamina for it is moderately poor. A boat that keeps water out is important. They are supposed to keep the water out and hold the humans in – that's their essence, I should think.

For future lake tests, I will head out by kayak – much more suitable, and surely the ducks, cormorants, and Great Blue Heron's won't miss the offensive outboard motor.


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