A Bad Day With A Camera

On the Water Again

The daughter and I headed back out to Chestermere Lake again. Things went fairly smoothly for us other than the challenge of finding a parking spot. The lake is a popular destination and every single parking space was occupied. It took three trips around the park loop to get a spot.

Hugging the shore, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07

We spent another twenty minutes inflating both boards with the electric pump and then we hit the lake. Another five minutes were spent waiting for people to get the hell out of our way on the dock so we could use the kayak/board launch. I had to bluntly tell two nine year old girls to move so I didn’t accidentally swat them into the water with my board while trying to get it into the launch. They were sullen, but they moved. Their gormless parents glared at me from the other side of the dock for doing their job for them and I glared back. Useless twats.

Seat and foot brace, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
Folding stadium seat, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07

The kayak seat I purchased previously failed and I got a refund from the merchant. I looked for a much higher quality seat and discovered two problems. First, they are all upwards of $160 Canadian. Second, they were all sold out even if I wanted to buy one. Something was nagging at me and I realized what it was. Kayak seats look exactly like the seats you use on wooden bench style stadium seating. I did some searching and I was right. They’re almost the same thing, except a stadium seat is only $25 with next day delivery. Score!

12 kph, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
In the weeds again, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
Leading the way, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
Mirror selfie, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
I’m sitting pretty, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
Rest your weary soul, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
Disembarkment point, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07

I am pleased with how quickly my arms are toughening up. I was able to paddle for over an hour continuously, with only very short breaks to take pictures. I managed to paddle around the entire southern end of the lake and even crossed over to the north side, going under the bridge with traffic rumbling overhead.

Check yo self, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07

It feels really great to be getting over my fear of water. Said fear is well-earned. I was twelve years old and in the middle of swim lessons at Kamp Kiwanis outside of Calgary during the summer break. I was in the deep end when I remember running out of air and my arms and legs going dead. Then there was the pain of my lungs filling with water.

The next thing I recall was being in a bed in my dorm with the counselor who was a nursing student sitting next to me and checking my pulse. I had had a heart attack and sank to the bottom of the deep end. It took them a moment or so to realize I was missing and another minute or so to get my heart going again. I’m told I was technically dead for a couple of minutes at least. I don’t remember any of that. What mostly stands out is that my entire chest hurt badly once I came to as the camp staff broke numerous ribs while they worked on me.

Colours on the shore, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07
Docking your pay, Chestermere Lake,
Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07

The cute counselor kept rubbing my hand and checking my pulse and asking me to tell her my name, date, etc. while we waited for the ambulance to arrive, which I think took about half an hour. That was the end of the camp experience for me. Someone from the camp gathered my stuff and dropped it at my home while I spent the next week in the hospital bored as heck. The camp got everything back to me but my prized handheld AM/FM radio – some other camper snitched it and I never got a replacement. I could have used the radio in the hospital. I had my first pacemaker inside of a month and also a lifelong fear of being in water. I don’t even like soaking in the tub that much.

Paddling off into the sunset, Chestermere Lake, Chestermere, AB 2024-07-07

I’m now pushing fifty-six years old and I’m on pacemaker number five, which was implanted in the middle of the pandemic in 2020. I am trying to get past old fears and dislikes, which is not a fast process. It took almost half a century, but I was able to put the paddle board on the water and go out into the middle of a lake for the first time this evening without a momentary flash of panic and clutching my chest from remembering the pain of my lungs filling with water.

In fact, I managed to enjoy myself all evening without even thinking about a certain swimming pool even once. It felt great.

Today’s images taken with a used OM System Tough TG-7 shock and waterproof camera I have on trial.

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© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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