The adventure continues with twists and turns that sometimes have little to do with the tide of the river, and everything to do with who you decide to trust. Here’s the backstory to episode 5.
Hi everyone! Hope you enjoyed last night’s new episode on Lake Sakakawea!
One of the most interesting people we met on our show was Captain Dave from New Town, North Dakota, who you met in last night’s episode, where Bryan flipped our canoe and we almost lost all our gear!
But some of our best memories of Captain Dave and his crew was after we got all our gear on the boat and headed for the bar at Skunk Bay – in the dark.
Captain Dave owned a transport company based in New Town. His business had been doing well, so he had just bought himself a 40-ft steel V-hull yacht, and the day we met, he had only taken his boat out a handful of times (we only found this out later).
The plan from the start with Captain Dave was for him to tow us to a bar at Skunk Bay after Bryan capsized the canoe. You didn’t see this on the show, but during the capsize, I was both filming and trying to bail Bryan out the canoe who, by this time, had been swimming around in the freezing lake for almost an hour (it was at the end of September when we were filming this ep). By the time Bryan got out, he had caught a mild case of hypothermia so we got him some dry clothing, and Captain Dave let him go sleep in one of the cabins.
Meanwhile, I sat out on the front deck of the boat drinking beers and watching the sunset. After it got dark – and freezing cold outside, we all went into the cabin to continue the party which, of course, woke Bryan up. (He was feeling better, I guess, at least good enough for a couple beers.)
After a couple hours, some of Captain Dave’s buddies started to ask if Dave was sure he knew where he was going. Captain Dave insisted that it was easy and that all we had to do was follow the North star which he pointed out over his shoulder. He also pointed out that it gets really deep just before the bay “over a 100 feet,” he said, as he held up his depthfinder.
To be honest, this kind of confused me because we are all sitting in the cabin with the interior lights on and I can’t make out the mountains on the shore, let alone the stars!
(Luckily, someone else was just as skeptical as me and told Captain Dave to turn off the interior lights and then pointed out that the star he was pointing at wasn’t the North star and that we were going the wrong way. Right now I’m giving Cpt. Dave the benefit of a doubt that we all might have had one to many, but it didn’t take long after to realize that Captain Dave was just plain crazy.
I have been in charge of navigation on this trip and since we had been on Lake Sakakawea, I had been studying the maps of the lake, so I went to talk with the Captain. He told me how he “doesn’t follow the maps,” just his depth finder. “Well, the middle of the lake is deep so as long as I follow the deep spots, I wont hit anything,” was his logic. (I didn’t mention that that is exactly how we ended up driving in circles before.)
I took out our GPS and maps of the lake, and one of the Captain’s crew and I looked over all of it to find out where we are, and where we need to go to get to the bar at Skunk Bay.
A little while later, Cpt. Dave started to grumble about something so I ask him whats up he say “getting too shallow… I’d fell much safer at 60 or 70 feet” I replie whats the drag on her (meaning how far does the boat’s hull go under water) Dave replies “oh about 5 to 6 feet”. Not taking heed of our advice Cpt. Dave headed out to deeper water. Another couple of hours go by as well as more than a couple of beers and out of nowhere the boat comes slamming to a halt, after all Cpt. Daves rantings about the depth finder he had hit an island. At this point once we got the boat off the island we all decide its we should give up on the bar and find a place to anchor for the night. Cpt Dave then says ” Id feel much safer if we beach her” We all start to explaine to Dave that the two large anchors on the front of the boat were there for a reason.
This proved fruitless and we spent the next half hour scouring the beach with spotlights looking for a safe place for Captain Dave to beach his 40-ft yacht. In the end, we found a spot. spent the night and woke up to see Skunk Bay just accross the lake from us. Captain Dave gave us a lift to Skunk Bay and we said our goodbyes.
Captain Dave is definitely crazy, but I’m so glad we got to meet him, because I will never forget that night.