The Way I See It: ‘Tugging’ along the lake

Recent storms in the North Okanagan have provided some interesting boat-watching for Michele Blais and her neighbours

The old tugboat has moved into the neighbourhood and lodged itself quite solidly in front of our neighbours’ dock. It is a big boat in comparison to the pleasure craft that frequent that space.

Cabin owners are used to unexpected visits by boaters but this was a big surprise.

Since last Saturday the old tug boat that is usually sitting safely on the west side arm of Okanagan Lake near Adventure Bay got loose. That was a very windy day, so much so it prevented enjoyment of sitting on our dock, or outside dining, or boaters enjoying the lake.

The SS Okanagan  once sailed and worked these waters and was important, today it is used as a cottage and has been prettied up and serves a new purpose.

Having this boat free provided some entertainment for cabin owners as it drifted from side to side of the lake.

It also created a lot of angst as people did not want this uncaptained steel mass crashing into their dock. Its design would keep it in the water as the deep hull would get stuck before hitting shore.

Several of our neighbours spent sleepless nights during the storms of this week concerned about where it would drift to next. Hoping it would sail back to the east side of the channel away from homes, docks and boats — even better would be that it would be towed back to its resting place.

Water safety is very important for boaters — whether boating or docked, safety concerns are paramount. Also around our cabins to be careful and cautious.

Who wants the hassle of dealing with the damage it could cause on our brief summer holidays?

The owner tried to pull it away from the docks on Thursday night and we cabin owners sat on our dock lined up waiting for the show, discussing the winds that brought it there, history of our beach and of this boat. We humans are very curious of disasters and accidents but do not want to be personally impacted.

It was a David and Goliath attempt to pull the boat away and despite Herculean efforts, it was not to be. It is going to take a stronger boat and perhaps some underwater work to dislodge it so that those cabin owners can have the peaceful enjoyment of their homes again and for the tug boat owner to get his floating recreation home safely secured. At the time of writing, it was still a neighbourhood attraction.

Perhaps a ghost steers it across the lake remembering days gone by as it so far has always avoided causing damage or Ogopogo is underneath guiding its passage. Yes that’s  it — it was the summer of 2014 and during a blustery stormy day the old tug set itself free…

Michele Blais is a longtime columnist with The Morning Star, writing on a variety of issues and appearing every other Sunday. She has worked with families and children in the North Okanagan for the past 27 years.