I was invited to join friends on a 35-foot cabin cruiser a few weekends. It was a partially cloudy Sunday, about upper 70s or 80. Being a thoughtful guest, I brought a platter of wings and fixin’s and some beverages to share. I rode out to Concord Marina and walked onto this beautiful “bridge boat.” The rest of the guests boarded, the engines cranked up and we set off for Sail Cove.
Our captain had a few logs to dodge and it made me wonder if there would ever be a time when the debris could be more under control. Fort Loudoun Lake Association does the best job it can to remove as much debris as possible with two men in boats. As I daydreamed a bit, I imagined our lake with six zone managers sweeping the channel and the coves for debris daily before it could accumulate. I drifted off a bit while the sun warmed my body on the front of the boat and the wind was the perfect temperature. When I opened my eyes, I marveled at the lush green foliage lining the shores and the beautiful houses with the lake as their backyard.
It was fulfilling to enjoy such flourishing natural surroundings and I felt proud to be a native Knoxvillian. I began to have flashbacks to all the lake fun my friends and I had when we were young and especially as a teens. I remember spending the night under the summer stars and moon on a much smaller boat in a private cove. It must have been youth that made that a “comfortable” slumber and yet waking in the morning just to refresh by taking a swim first thing was the best part of the reminiscence. Those memories have resurfaced after 25 year, away from this lake
As we entered Sail cove, I started to recognize friendly lake lovers on their boats, who I had known on land. Things do seem to loosen up and relax out there on the water and no matter who you are during the week, the “playing field” is leveled to everyone just having a good time. We tied up next to a “flotilla” (a group of boats tied up together) and challenged each other to be the first one in the water. I dove straight in and relished the cold water.
I swam around to keep warm and wanted to go say hi to some folks in a neighboring flotilla. I grab a noodle to aid in the long distance and grasped my “to go” beverage and took off on a mission to reach the others. It was a little like a workout with a purpose, swimming hundreds of feet, and I connected with the most fun people along the way. Once I caught up with my buddy, he jumped on his jet-ski and skied over to my “boat island” without me—which was okay as I continued to enjoy the beautiful water and the East Tennessee sights.
My workout with a purpose ended when I was offered a ride on my friend’s jet-ski. I climbed on behind and told him to “open it up.” My friends will tell you I am an adrenaline junkie, so I was looking forward to getting into the channel to see how fast this thing would go. My escort happened to be a daredevil also and ran at top speed across wakes and big swells, where I was in the air as much or more than I was in the seat. It was more than a thrill and I caught myself squeezing my eyes shut and gripping on with everything I had. At one point I prepared myself to fall off at high speed, but I didn’t. Whew!
When that ride was over and we were heading back to the cove, I realized that I hit my peak with that experience and will never tell someone on a jet-ski to run it wide-open—as long as I am on the back.
I was so happy to dive back in our lovely lake and swim peacefully around chatting with friends. Before the adventure ended, I swam deep under water as long as I could while promising this lake I would do whatever it took to protect her and keep her clean. Lake Loudoun is such a beautiful asset to us here and is meant to be enjoyed and protected. Connect with us in advocacy and protection of our lake by visiting fllake.org and joining the newsletter or donating to the dream of six zone managers removing debris daily.