Numchucks: The Legend Ch. 08byMy Erotic Tail©
The list of people wanting to go hunting got longer. My boss had me do him a favor and take some clients out and show Numchucks off as well as guide their hunt. The morning came and the number of People grew to be larger than I had expected. They had brought another person which put four of us in the boat plus the dog. The boat was a four man limit which wasn't the problem. The problem was that a couple of these guys made up four men.
An early morning ride down river, in winter, is cold. A freeze had ice everywhere that water touched the banks or logs. The mist from the temperature difference of the water and the air hung along the river like a smoke trail. That swirled as we broke through the fog and continued through patches of denser concentrated areas then open up to clear as a bell for a while. With only the roaring of the outboard motor to be heard as we made our way to the Island that I was sure would be the best hunt these men had ever seen.
When we got to the cut that opened up to Shoemaker creek we slowed and idled into the water way towards our destination. Numchucks knew where he was and began wagging his tail as we slowly weaved in and out of the stumps in the opening of this creek.
The excitement rose as we got closer to shore. The man up front was spotting the stumps with the spotlight and guiding me right and left through the log jams. The boat jolted and rose up about an inch out of the water as the john boat leaned slightly to the right. Everyone grabbed for something to hold onto while the uneven boat came to a complete stop.
"Freeze, Don't move."
"We are frozen, stiff. It's freezing out here."
"Were on a stump, don't anybody make any sudden moves." I revved the motor in hopes of backing off of the stump but it didn't budge. I tried going forward too but no luck. We were stuck. I came out of my waders and shed a few clothes and slipped over the side and edged my way around in the cold dark water till I could feel the stump with my foot.
I pushed to no avail trying to get the boat free from its wedged position over the tiny and sharp pointed stump that lay inches below the surface, unseen. My barefoot felt along the slimy water soaked timber trying to find a solution to get, unlodged. The group in the boat was becoming more and more unsettled.
"We're taking on water," One of them yelled.
"Help, HELP. We're drowning." Another yelled.
"We're not drowning yet." I replied as I got back in the boat to see how bad the boat was taking on water which was worse than I expected. The sharp point of the stump had punched through the aluminum bottom and was wedged there from the weight of the boat and its capacity.
"Help, Help!" Another yelled out into the deserted morning lake and jungle. Some spotlights could be seen in the very far distance. Letting us know that the closes hunters were not in shouting range. I was used to the Mystical appearance of the jungle at night. But for a couple of these city slickers, at night (early morning) in the jungle, fear and panic was created.
Darkness with reflections of twisting logs that protruded from the water like a monsters arm. With winds that gusted and wailed a mournful sound as it swirled through the bare tree tops. Leaves that rustled across the islands like creatures scampering about. The bite of the cold breeze that nipped at your ears lobes till they stung when you go to cover them up with your collar. I always wore a ski cap. I always thought they looked funny but they always kept my ears warm and I was able to keep it dry till now.
The boat took a hard tilt to the right, the balance of every man and dog set a second wave of tremors through the boat which caused one man to panic and leap outwards. The boat swung from his weight and faltered below the waters surface. The rush of incoming water mixed with the already standing water of the boat took the boat under water almost immediately. Chucks took a usual leaping dive forward and splashed to safety. Swimming quickly to shore which wasn't all that far, fifty foot or more. He was black as night so I got very good at listening for his usual shoreline shake.
The men and gear all slipped into the icy water and began swimming to shore as well. I swam back from the boat and watched it overturn in the black water mirrored by the skies hint of light. I watched the white swirls created by the sinking motor, then swam to shore myself. The panic button had been tripped for two of the gentlemen I was guiding. One, still kept his wits about him.
"Help, Can anybody hear me. Help...S.O.S." Yelling out across the lake on an Island that I refereed to as George's Island. My Stepfather had a Duck blind there for years but after his passing it just seemed fit for Glenn and I to refer to it as George's Island. The small wooded patch offered a wind break as well as timber for a fire. Only, no one had a light. My emergency pack was in the boat or at the bottom of the creek.
The realization set in as we built the fire and began the task of starting a fire with sticks. Peeling out of our frozen wet clothes. The gear, rifles (4), ammo and supplies (snack foods) were all submerged or as we discovered later floated down aways before coming to shore. The weather was cold and crisp as the sun began to show hints of its coming soon. Birds were flying in plenty and Chucks didn't understand why we weren't hunting. So he went hunting without us.
Don't know if it was the man Yelling every ten minutes that "We're going to die," or rather Numchucks retrieved us some help but a man come to investigate and found us needing a match in the worst way. Luckily the man had a lighter and a roaring fire was blazing in no time. Along with bellows of smoke from the dampness of the wood.
The man was kind enough to give us a hand, we over turned the upside down floating boat and I matched the small hole with a stick and rammed it into its center, making a plug in the aluminum hull. Bailed the water out of the bottom and picked up our gear that was scattered along the shoreline of life vests, Ice chest, coffee cups and thermos's. Our rescuer pulled us back to the house and a million thanks were given. People like that, are our heroes.
The hunt was a disaster and the task of retrieving these men's rifles and the motor was now at hand. After a quick hull repair and putting the 5 hsp motor on it and I was back to the jungle again. I made several dives in the area were we went down and found the bottom to be very hard to reach. And trying to pin point the exact spot of where the rifles had fallen made it hard to obtain.
Several trips to the area seemed only to discourage me. Finding a Shotgun shell at a time but no rifles yet. I tried dragging a line along the bottom only to find it was hanging up on everything but what I wanted. I measured its depth and found it was eighteen ft deep where we overturned.
The dilemma became an obsession to retrieve these rifles from the depths of the river. I was enrolled in a School for Martial Arts in Huntsville, Texas. And among the many great people I was training with was the owner of the local Salvage yard. Ex-marine and gung-ho this man offered me a solution. He loaned me two large magnets, different sizes and shape. One was ball shaped, appeared broken off, perhaps a piece of machinery that was scraped and the other square. The size and shape of a brick, rectangular.
The trip back out to the rivers junction with this creek was expedient. The tied magnet hit the water with a mighty splash. Allowing the line the reel out of the boat while the sinking magnet raced quickly to the bottom. Dragging it towards the boat while pulling it towards me. Reaching from gripped pull to gripped pull till the heavy magnet got heavier. Still pulling the weight of this metal across the bottom of the rivers mud and stumps was trying. But as the magnet got directly below the boat and I pulled up wards and the boat sank a bit from the weight. I knew I had something. The magnet broke free its hold and jolted me back into the boat with a mighty thud.
Of course the hole still leaked a bit and the bottom of the boat always seem to have an inch of water in it. Bailing was a constant reminder of needing to do a better repair soon. Scrambling to get up with soaking wet hair and excited to the possibilities.
I shed my clothes and inched over the side of the boat and submerged to this location with a small rope. When I got to the bottom of the creeks depths with my eyes open I could see only darkness. Putting my hand in front of my face I couldn't even see my wiggling fingers. But feeling around the muddy bottom I felt the metal boat motor and tied the rope to it quickly and surfaced into the brightness.
I pulled the motor up and found two of the four shotguns along with shells and a stainless steel thermos before having to return. Several trips out to the area and tossing the magnet in different directions till I retrieved another shotgun, some gear, back pack, lighter, knives and whiskey flask. The magnets were the ultimate in finding everything and more. Except one shotgun which as far as I know still lays in the bottom of the river along with a fishing pole once lost but that's another story.
I had a lesson in reblueing rifles. I had a lesson in boating. I had a lesson in guiding others into the wilderness. I had a valuable lesson in the "Depths" of the river. I was humbled by the wild ways of the swamp. A great respect grew for the Ways of the River.
I took two of the men back out weeks later with the leaking boat and 5 hps motor to an island closer to home and they were very pleased with they're hunt dispite their nervousness. The man whom feared for his life never returned. The task of setting decoys and hiding the boat was my job then sit back and let the hunters hunt. Numchucks did all the work of running back and forth retrieving.
"Deeeet peep beep peep beep"
"What in the heck is that?" I asked as a man reached in his pocket and pulled out a cell phone. I had never seen or heard of one so I was surprised as the man answered his phone out in the wilds of Texas.
"Hey honey...yea we're fine. No problems we got a few birds and this dog is amazing." The man rambled to his wife while the other man took shots at the passing waterfowl.
A boat pulled up on the tiny island while we were taking our first break of the mornings folly. It was the Game Warden whom had his dog with him. A curly haired, rust colored, Chesapeake female. Numchucks took off and neither the warden or myself could get our dogs to return. They were in they're own little dog world of romance. The warden went ahead and checked our license, ammo, rifles and game.
The warden was very nice and polite chatting about the mornings hunt while our dogs finally settled down enough or peter'd out enough to get a hold of. I was told the next season in a check by the warden that his "Daisy" had curly haired, black lab pups.
The invitation to go hunting was narrowed to selective hunters. The boat was put in a welding shop for repair. The Magnets were given back with much thanks. Numchucks had another girl friend and perhaps even a father. I spent a bunch of time that summer swimming and diving for a shot gun but, never found it.