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Thread: Skillak lake almost claims another

  1. #1

    Default Skillak lake almost claims another

    Hunting season is upon us. The below happened two years ago not quite as bad as i am sitting here, but almost! Read it and take the advice. The base of the event is 100 percent true however i survived as we were fairly close to the parking lot, might have been worse. No matter how good how much of an expert we are things happen and learning from others mistakes is what makes all of us smarter!

    We hit the lake on a chilly October morning. The sun was just starting to cross over the horizon. We could just barely make out the waves on the lake. We sceptically walked down to the lake and looked at the scene before us. What appeared to be marginal waves and a slight breeze greeted us. Besides the boat launch there is a sign that is simple and direct it states"warning cold water kills" Gordy and i said it its ok we can do it. How many times in my life have i either made that statement or heard it. One would think that being in Alaska for over twenty years i would have learned! I have what i call my little voice and when that little voice from within questions what i am about to do i have learned to stop. This day the excitement level of bear hunting and fresh silvers in October took over my judgement. After all the boat was a twenty one footer. I turned around and said lets go then. We went back to the truck and maneuvered around the othe 8 trucks that have chosen not to "go for it" We launched the boat and headed across. All the way across we were being bumped and blownaround, but we made it. We glassed for around twenty minutes in the ever increasing wind, when we decided we had better head back to shore before it got worse. Wewent to start the engine when the first problem occured the water pump was clogged. We had forgotten the tools and now we had a situation. We lifted the engine and worked with a leatherman on getting the pump working. The engine finaly kicked over and sounded good. We started across the lake as we made the corner we saw a terrible sight. The entire lake was white with crashing breakers and the wind was deafining in our ears. Once again my little voice said this is a problem. We still went for it. We were struggling yet making progress, when all of a sudden the engine died. The boat was immediatly thrown against the wind. One wave hit then anotherand finally a third. By this time the boat was lisping to the port side. The boat was filling. It was at this time that we both realized that we should have been wearing our life jackets, but why we were in a big boat! The jackets were neatly placed under the seats. which were now covered in water. I struggled to reach them when the last wave hit and the boat turtled over. We were thrown into the frigid cold water with no flotation. The water took away my breath. it was like a large person sitting on my chest. I could hear my heart pounding and my arms were like weights. I looked and could not see Gordy. The boat was slowly sinking. A wave hit me and through me towrds shore. By this time i was almost unconscious. I was fortunat that the wind was throwing me tords the shallows. After four waves i felt my feet hit the bottom of the beach. I crawled up on the beach. I was fortunate there was drift wood and dry grass everywhere. There was hope! I was going to survive, i was shivering so bad that i could barely open my coat pocket to get a match. In mid reach i stopped. I realized at the moment that my time had come and i was going to meet my maker. The reason was, I had not done what i always do and keep matches in my pocket. After all it was just a day trip in a big boat. The next few moments as i shivered into a fitfull death i again realized what i had always known and that is Alaska is a beautiful state, however it is unforgiving for those that do not plan for the worse. I had learned this lesson before however many years of experience and no problems had resulted in my complacency. Now i to had become a statistic of Skilak lake. Chef Viktor

  2. #2
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    Bethel, Cantwell, Fort Yukon, Skagway, Chevak and Point Hope
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    Good reading Viktor. Thank you.

  3. #3

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    So what happened to your friend??

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