A Pleasant Surprise

It was a pleasant surprise to learn that I’ve been chosen by London, UK-based Writers and Readers Magazine as one of their featured contributors. The magazine enjoys an impressive international circulation. The current issue, released on Feb. 4, includes a story about my late wife Judi and I being caught by a fierce storm on a lake in BC a few years ago. Here’s a look at the cover:

The magazine is available at a variety of venues, including Amazon.com. Here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08VVLQ25T/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0…

Here are the first few paragraphs of that story:

A Close One

“Wow, that sure is big,” Judi said. Her eyes sparkled with surprise and admiration. 

 “Twenty-five-foot cruisers are like that,” I smiled back. 

We were taking delivery of the boat of our dreams. In the weeks ahead, Judi and I would enjoy numerous remarkable experiences, including one that almost cost our lives.

We moored our boat at a marina on picturesque Kootenay Lake, nestled between two mountain ranges in eastern British Columbia. Our initial focus was on learning to handle it … the first lesson was crucial: how to manoeuvre the boat in and out of the tricky marina. 

  “You’ll need to be especially careful,” our instructor, Art, told us. The serious look on his face made clear the gravity of the instruction to come.

He explained the L-shaped marina entrance was deliberately narrow and made of massive boulders to protect it from violent storms. Precise navigation was required. Art warned us that fierce winds and enormous waves could spring up with little warning.

  After our basic training, we spent many weekends touring the sparkling blue waters of the hundred-kilometer-long lake, discovering a tantalizing choice of bays. Our favorite was a deep, narrow cove with a wide sandy beach protected on both sides by cliffs thirty feet high. We were confident the boat would be as secure in that bay as in our marina ten miles north on the other side of the lake. 

  One Saturday evening, a cloudless sky promised a carpet of stars. We’d just settled down at dusk to enjoy a romantic campfire on the sandy beach when a dark shape appeared at the head of the cove. A small boat, the motor almost idling, was headed straight for us. 

  A strange figure was perched at the back. As he came closer, Judi and I could make out an unruly black beard streaked with gray, announcing he was male. He wore a homemade top hat that failed to harness the long dark hair straggling from beneath. The hat resembled something Abraham Lincoln might have worn. Its wider brim resembled a witch’s hat giving him an even more sinister appearance. His jacket and pants appeared made from bearskin similar to those worn by legendary mountain men. 

  Judi grabbed my hand as the small aluminum boat came to a scraping stop on the sandy beach about ten yards from us. The stranger removed his hat, scratched a tangled mass of long dark hair and his beard, and then directed a silent nodding acknowledgement our way. A fishing rod poked up from one side of the seventeen-foot boat. The barrel of a rifle stuck up from the other. 

  The bizarre-looking man stepped nimbly over the side, displaying knee-high boots also made from animal hide. He pulled the boat up onto the beach and tied it to a stout tree. The stranger began walking toward our campfire, the fishing rod in one hand and the rifle in the other. 

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