Do you realize that we have a serious drought going on in Kansas?
Wilson Lake has dropped over 10 feet and as it cries for rain, the drought that began in 2011 has taken its toll.
Fred recently drove to the lake for a final fall fishing day. Our boat sits in a slip which runs parallel to the shore and is located in the dock that is the closest to the shore. All Summer Fred has not used the motor, but rather the little trolling motor to navigate the boat out of the slip into the shallow water and around the end of the dock to the deeper area.
As the water level has fallen, the water has slowly pulled away from the shore and left the boat slip with shallow depths.
When Fred arrived at the lake, he expected an easy time getting the boat out of the slip and into the deep water. NOT.
The Titanic would be in full view, sitting in the mud.
He soon realized that he was in big trouble! The water level had dropped behind the boat to 6 to 8 inches deep. The path from the boat to the deeper water, however, was not consistent, and in some places along the route, there was hardly any water.
Fred found two victims from the Marina to help him tackle the problem. Once everyone realized the severity of the problem, they got to work.
Fred took off his jeans, and climbed into the murky mess in his shorts, sinking immediately into the muck. The depth of the muck was several feet of rocks and junk . He found some slimy fishing poles, and fishing tackle as he plodded through the mud. He looked but found no buried treasure; no box of jewels hidden by pirates. He lifted rocks and logs from the path to make the muddy trail more passable.
However, even then, after navigating the boat out of the slip, the men pushed and lifted to no avail. The boat and motor were very heavy, and uncooperative! Where’s Noah when you need him?
They hooked up a come-along system to the boat, and by pushing and pulling, the boat was successfully maneuvered to deeper water. It took two hours to maneuver the boat about 40 feet. Once in the deeper, although shallow water, the battle was mostly won. Fred found a boat ramp where he could back the trailer down and off the ramp and into the water.
One of our Great Bend citizenry, Mr. Boatsink, owns a houseboat which was docked in another cove around the corner. The water there had become shallow, but proportionately, was deeper than the fishing boat level. However, without a doubt, the houseboat had some major obstacles ahead.
A large boulder sat in the water some 20 inches to the rear of the houseboat. The boulder was now a threat since the water level had fallen. Navigating a large houseboat back gently, turning it carefully into the right direction, would not be an easy feat.
Mr. Boatsink was pretty worried. With a wing and a prayer, he navigated the big “girl” backwards gently, and turned it into the direction of deep water.
A houseboat should not drag on the bottom! This damage can be expensive and permanently harmful to the boat. The only other choice would be to leave it there to endure the winter and ice.
Next problem. The boat ramps are now no longer totally submerged. When the water level dropped away, the boat ramp ended too soon, and created a shelf (out of the water) between the end of the ramp and the water.
Mr. Boatsink hired a commercial truck/winch/moving vehicle for the transition of the boat to the boat trailer, but no one could guarantee that the boat could load over the steep ramp edge onto the trailer behind the truck!
Mr. Boatsink was not going to leave his home on the water at Lake Wilson all winter. No way!
And guess what?
He did it! Success!. The truck utilized its winch system, and with many ropes and a good lift apparatus, the houseboat made it to the ramp, was lifted over the lip of the ramp, and onto the trailer.
Oh happy day. Two very frustrated boat owners and two big successes!
Forty days of rain? We might need it!
“A Woman’s View” is Judi Tabler’s reflection of her experiences and events. She is a wife, mother, writer, teacher, grandmother, and even a great grandmother.