Category Archives: Boating

Beautiful Great Blue Heron’s Guest…Humans?

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron Launching into Flight – babsjeheron

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I’ve said it many times before:
No two days at the lake are the same.

While out photographing Great Blue Herons, Swans and Cygnets on the lake that day, I heard many sirens. An alarming number of sirens blaring from the north – sirens that just would not stop. Concerned that something had happened at the boat house, I paddled my kayak from the far end of South Lake back up to the boat ramp as quickly as I could cover the four miles.
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Fire Department Divers About to Secure Sunken Van at Lake - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Department Divers About to Enter and Secure Sunken Van at Lake – babsjeheron

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A white van hauling a boat trailer and a young child inside had backed so far into the lake that it became nearly completely submerged. It seems like a vehicle with a trailer backs too far into the water at least once a year at the boat ramp, but this was the first time I’d witnessed the vehicle completely submerged.
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Sunken Van Being Winched out of the Lake - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Sunken Van Being Winched out of the Lake- babsjeheron

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Both Fire Engine 3 and Engine 5 from our town responded to the emergency. Personnel from the Massachusetts Environmental Police and our town Police were on site to assist, and the Dive Team and Assistant Fire Chief responded as well. The sunken van was capably pulled from the water by a powerful tow truck, and hauled away on a flatbed trailer.
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Fire Department Dive Team Calls it a Day - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Department Dive Team Calls it a Day – babsjeheron

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As I watched the rescue unfold from my kayak still only a few yards away in the water, I was impressed to see the full body rescue suits the firemen wore – as a boater, it is reassuring to know that the lake has such sophisticated water rescue gear.
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Our Fire Truck is a Boat- babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

One Fire Truck is a Boat! – babsjeheron

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Same lake, one year previously. There were no Great Blue Heron sightings that day, and apparently not enough humans, as well – at least not inside the captainless inflatable boat shown below.

Everybody, listen to me, and return me, my ship
I’m your captain, I’m your captain…

Mark Farner, Grand Funk Railroad

inflatable with nobody on board - babsjeheron   © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Inflatable Boat with Nobody on Board – babsjeheron

I had been searching for Herons that lovely morning but struck out in both North and upper Middle Lakes, and had decided to try for South Lake. Exiting the tunnel under the Turnpike and paddling through the channel towards the boat house, a shiny red inflatable boat was carving turns in the water ahead at an alarming speed.

As I got closer, I realized there was nobody on board. The captain had gone overboard, bounced out of his shiny new boat on her maiden voyage. I called the dockhands at the boat house, and they sent out their rescue rowboat and pulled the hapless owner from the water.

Fire D© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)epartment Rescue Boat Ready to Put In - babsjeheron

Fire Department Rescue Boat Ready to Put In – babsjeheron

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What happened that day on the lake could have been tragic. The captain had bounced out of his boat without having his kill-switch tether attached. When activated, the kill-switch shuts off the motor and stops the boat. A runaway boat like the red inflatable that day is a true emergency – people have been maimed and some have perished when struck by propellers in similar situations – and so the town Fire Department responded in force.

Fire Fighters Ready to Joust with the runaway inflatable - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Fire Fighters Ready to Joust with the runaway inflatable boat – babsjeheron

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The captain-less boat circled endlessly, out of control as the rescue boat with the firefighters approached. They were prepared with grappling hooks, to snag the lines on the inflatable, or push it onto the shore.

Driverless Out of Control Inflatable Circles Around Firefighters - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Driverless Out of Control Inflatable Circles Around Firefighters – babsjeheron

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It was dangerous because other boaters were in the vicinity even while the inflatable boat circled around the firefighters. I wondered how much fuel was left in the outboard motor. Would the boat keep running in circles until the gas was gone?

Out of Control Driverless Inflatable Still Circling Around Firefighters - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Out of Control Driverless Inflatable Still Circling Around Firefighters – babsjeheron

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At last, the fire fighters’ efforts had aimed the runaway boat’s course towards the rocks, and it ran aground.

Z© 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)odiac Aground on the Rocks - babsjeheron

Inflatable Boat Aground on the Rocks – babsjeheron

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Success!

Success! Firefighters Snare Driverless Boat at Last - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Firefighters Snare Driverless Boat at Last – babsjeheron

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Fortunately, no one was injured in this incident, but not all similar incidents have had happy endings.

Click here to learn more from the US Coast Guard Boating Safety Resource Center.

Firefighters Tow Rescued Boat Back to the Boat Ramp - babsjeheron © 2021 Babsje (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Firefighters Tow Rescued Boat Back to the Boat Ramp – babsjeheron

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I love happy endings.

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This post is prompted by Cee Neuner, Jez Braithwaite and the creative and inspiring Lens Artists Tina, Amy, Patti, and Leya, all of whom encourage the community of photographers and writers.

This week’s Lens Artist challenge comes from Ann-Christine. The topic is Weird and Wonderful. Do you think a runaway driverless boat is a weird thing to see? What about red-togged divers in the water with a submerged van? They were both weird things to see, and yet both had wonderful endings – the only thing hurt was the boater’s and van driver’s Pride.
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Please click the links below to see the beautiful offerings from these wonderful photographers.
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Thanks to Cee for her CBWC: Fire Prevention. Our Fire Department does more than just prevent fires, they are instrumental in water rescues, too.
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Thanks to Jez for the Water Water Everywhere Challenge. Much water in this post.
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From Leya Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Patti Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Tina Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .
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From Amy Lens Artists Weekly Photo Challenge 171: Weird and Wonderful .

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Folks, now that some areas are opening back up, please consider supporting your local Arts communities – whether music, theater, crafts, visual arts venues, and others. All have been impacted over the past year and a half and they need your love more than ever.
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Natick Center Cultural District logo

Natick Center Cultural District

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The Natick Center Cultural District is situated in a friendly, classic New England town hosting a vibrant, contemporary fusion of art, culture and business. Learn more!

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My brick & mortar presence in Massachusetts dates back to 2009 in several local venues/galleries.

Please watch this space for news of my upcoming Winter 2022 gallery show.

TCAN – The Center for Arts Natick
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Natick Town Hall
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Five Crows Gallery in Natick
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Audubon Sanctuary
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Be a fly on the wall! Please CLICK HERE to see the Great Blue Herons gracing the gallery walls.
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Remember: Walk softly and carry a long lens.™

May the Muse be with you.™

The Tao of Feathers™

© 2003-2021 Babsje. (https://babsjeheron.wordpress.com)

Great Blue Heron, Kayaking, TCAN, Five Crows, Natick, Boating
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