We started at sunrise on Saturday as Nicole would be arriving at 8am for a day exploring the body and fingers and shores of West Point Lake by pontoon boat. We packed with a checklist … picnic, water, towels, sunscreen, goggles, water shoes, noodle and then all the extra just in case stuff that never came out of the bags.
From what we’ve observed, there are 4 kinds of watercraft on this Georgia Lake – the flat-bottom bass fishing boat with a souped up motor, the wake circling jet ski, the inner tube, waterski or some other pull behind woo-hoo toy and the steady pontoon. Since sailboat was not a choice, Eric arranged for a day on a pontoon from The Highland Marina Resort, just a few miles away from Holiday.
After listening to a brief script by the slip boys on the controls, buoys and best practices, the expedition was underway with Captain Nicole at the helm while Eric supervised from the Lido deck. The body of the lake is expansive, with arms and fingers and little toe coves to randomly explore, so we pushed the 24 foot Sun Chase up to 35 mph, and moved out. The Georgia sun beat down powerfully but the breeze and shade of the bimini top kept us comfortable.
West Point lake is lined with state parks. The parks have landings with covered docks, boat ramps, and swim platforms for public use. We docked at the 8 slip Sundance floater, chose a point of shore line 500 yards away, and dove in for our morning swim. Not surprisingly, Nicole’s 20 years of swimming experience including a stint swimming for her college team allowed her to keep up with us, if just barely.
Captain Nicole mostly did the driving. We skimmed south looking for a location to lunch with views, breeze, and shade. Eric spotted a small dock in the distance and Nicole slipped the Sun Chaser into the berth with six inches of clearance on each side. Sheri seemed to think that maybe this was not one of the public docks as evidenced by the sign reading “Welcome to Dally’s Dock,” and the street address on the pier. Eric, expressing a deep knowledge of maritime law and riparian versus non riparian rights assured her that we were fine.
We broke out the sandwiches and enjoyed lunch as Mother Nature entertained us with a large thunderstorm rolling by just to the north. We noted its power and the fact that they were calling for more storms as the afternoon progressed. Somehow the day slipped by as we sunned, swam, and explored the shores of the lake.
We found a large beach with big red signs warning power craft to keep their distance. We drifted and swam just outside of the swim area limits while Nicole did her best Navy SEAL infiltration/exfiltration impression and surreptitiously arrived on shore, waving to us from the distant beach. We left her there and are waiting to see how things work out (JK).
With more storms threatening, Nicole took us back to Highland Marina. We docked behind a colorful group who were screaming loudly at the dock hands that their Sun Chaser was broke in some way and that they were not paying. Interestingly, it took them 6 hours and a half a tank of gas to figure that out. UBER Nicole whisked us back to the point for dinner as we tracked large thunderstorm moving toward camp in the distance, plotting our strategy to get our grilled fajitas on before Mother Nature ruled.
Nicole and Eric executed the plan perfectly, counting out the time from lightening to thunder clap to keep track of the distance. With the grill full of fajita chicken, peppers, and onions, the two of them secured camp for the impending weather. Little rain drops turned to big rain drops in a stiff wind. The time between light and sound dropped to 1 second. The squall line across the lake was 500 yards out. Eric and Nicole ran the plates of BBQ into the tiny house and pulled the door securely behind as this southern thunderstorm unleashed it’s shake and rattle power.
Around the loop, others had differing results.
The Puffballs came racing in on a blue pontoon boat just yards in front of the squall line. The boat slammed into shore and the couple sprinted to the safety of the Mercedes ERA Class B. The children were safe but the puffball baby stroller was blown over and tossed away from camp by a powerful gust.
Hard rain had come down the night prior, and the Honda Odyssey family were just drying out from a difficult Friday evening in the Target tent. The hot Saturday had helped to dry their goods while the children played on the private beach at their site. The optimism of a sunny day was swept away by the microburst as the tent collapsed and the pop-up shelter popped off. As the rain passed, they surveyed their ruined site and bravely told the kids to get in the van. With stoic resolve, they wrung the water out of sleeping bags and clothes. Mr. Honda Odyssey forced the aluminum skeleton of the EZ up into unnatural positions while Mrs. Honda Odyssey moved bin after bin of their wet life into the rear of the minivan. With seemingly endless cargo capacity, the Honda filled to the roof.
The 10′ by 12′ Mountain Aire family tent remained like a relic of Hurricane Katrina. Conferring with the Duck Dynasty clan, Mr. Honda Odessey folded the wet canvas in on itself with the poles snapping inside and protruding through the mesh screens like fractured bones. The whole mess went on the roof and then the dumpster as the Odyssey headed for suburbia.
Duck Dynasty took the whole incident in stride. The clan of eight adults and what must have been 24 children huddled shirtless under the EZ up through the worst of the storm. After it passed, the expansive lawn of the now vacant Odyssey site was filled with tents, bags, and mattresses to dry in the sun while six of the clan took off in their sleek black bass boat powered by a 200 HP Mercury towing five small children in an inflatable out onto the lake, no worse for the wear.
Make of it what you want, but there has got to be some life lessons in there somewhere. When life throws you a curve ball, you have to be prepared to hit the curve or you will strike out and get pulled from the game … or just let it hit you, shrug it off, and take your base.