Aug 8,9

Published by Victor Barr on

I have met many amazing people on Luxury Lake Tours boat and found that most are respectful and conscientious. I feel safe and fortunate to be outside and on the water. I can’t imagine how it would be to work inside a store and have to wear a mask all day long and put up with rude and inconsiderate people. These are strange days indeed.

I had a group from Edmonton rent our home at Big White last week. They were a nice family who traveled to our wonderful valley to escape the weather and congestion of the big city. They booked my condo through Airbnb and hoped to leave the chaos behind. Unfortunately for them, their trip did not start out so well.

I awoke to twenty-one missed calls on my phone and four text messages, along with three emails. My heart sank as I read the messages. “We are at your condo and the code doesn’t work”.The next one was pleading with me to respond. The time on the first message was just after midnight. The last message was at 2:30 am and our unfortunate guests had announced they were sleeping in the car.

I felt awful as my stomach sank to the pit of guilt.

I called them immediately and reached a frustrated but surprisingly calm Albertan. I asked him right away if he had used the right code and shared it with him.

“That’s not the code you gave us” was his deadpan reply.

Realisation struck me and I said the code again as I opened the email I had sent the week before.

“We’re in” relief was evident in his voice.

“I am sooo sorry,” I said as I quickly scanned the obsolete email I had sent. “I see I sent an older email with the wrong code” I paced the room and yelled at myself inside.

“Well, we are in now. We did spend the night in the car.” He sighed. “It was a long drive out that took way longer than expected and we didn’t get in until late. Traffic was brutal. It’s like everyone is coming to the Okanagan from Alberta.” I was impressed at how calmly he was taking having to sleep in a car with his two small children and his parents-in-law.

I felt sick to my stomach as I realized the mistake I had made. It is times like those that I can really beat myself up for. Why didn’t I check the email?… Why didn’t I take my phone to bed? Why, why, why??? These poor people had to sleep in their cars because of my mistake. His reaction was appreciated; “We are human and mistakes happen, just don’t charge us for the night.”

I wanted to do better. I wanted to make it up to these people who traveled from so far to enjoy our Okanagan hospitality. I offered them a free cruise on Luxury Lake Tours. It was the least I could do. Too bad the weather wasn’t as cooperative.

I had an open day and booked them in for 4 pm. The forecast wasn’t great but it looked like there may be a chance the experts were wrong again. I have found it difficult to believe the experts in 2020. The weather forecasters have not been exactly accurate. But this time they would prove to be right.

An hour before their tour the rains began. I was on my bike and headed to the dock. Traffic has been getting worse every day. This day the rain seemed to cause an inordinate amount of vehicles to drive our busy highway 97 corridor. It should only take twenty-five minutes to go from my home in West Kelowna to the marina at the Manteo/Eldorado where we moor Serendipity. That day it took almost an hour. By the time I pulled into my parking spot in front of the Manteo I found out my rain pants weren’t as waterproof as they once were. Dripping like a dog in the rain I shook myself off and changed to go out on the boat. It looked like the unlucky folks from the prairie may not get their boat ride. Or if they did they would get wet doing it. The first rainy day in three weeks and it had to fall on them.

Shelter from the storm is the recurring theme in 2020. That day would follow the theme. Rescheduled for the next evening I covered the boat and went home. Feeling like a drowned rat I rode slowly in the incessant traffic back to my home in Westbank. Ironically as soon as I parked my bike at home, the rains quit. Regretting and second-guessing my decision I tried to be in the moment and enjoy the fact I was home with my family instead of taking people on the lake. My first world problem was trying to gain the right perspective. I would try again the next evening.

The day began with sunshine, I took a group fishing in the morning. It was a very successful charter and we came back ecstatic after catching four and keeping two. Fish for dinner was on the menu. The next tour was a four-hour adventure and my group was from Alberta as well. As the afternoon wore on the winds increased. I would rather cruise in the rain than battle the winds.

My rescheduled group from Edmonton arrived at the dock. Their excitement was evident. The family of five adults and two small kids were happy to go on a boat ride. I looked at the clouds overhead, and the flags flapping in the increasing breeze. The day before would have been a better time to go. We had little choice but to go for our cruise and avoid the winds, hoping the rain held off.

We bounced across the waves that churned up Okanagan Lake. We proceeded to find shelter in the leeward side of the mountain across the lake from Kelowna. We connected in the moment viewing the mansions perched on the edge of the water. We cruised along with envy and amazement as the summer homes of the rich and not-so-famous filled our eyes. We were viewing at how the one percent lived. Slowly cruising close to shore we never felt the winds that churned the lake. We sheltered from the wind storm. Much like the owners of these estates are sheltered from the economic storm caused by the viral infection plaguing the world.

I dropped off the excited travelers from Edmonton, glad to have made up for my mistake. Confident that I would not repeat that mistake again. I know I will make plenty of other mistakes, this is one I don’t think I will repeat. I turned my vessel for home and for the security of our slip. I was hopeful that I would be able to get it to safety, the wind was increasing and the rains were visible in the distance.

By the time I reached the dock, I was as wet as I was the previous day in the rain. Waves crashed over the bow and I rolled my Biltmore across the breaking waves. Each roller was capped by an angry white foam. I felt confident in my boat and my skill. I felt alive with the energy from the waves and the wind. I neared the dock and readied myself. I knew I only had one chance to get it right.

I judged the wind speed and the waves. They lessened slightly as I neared the slip. Early in the season, I parked the boat in the shelter of the marina, this time I would get it on its boat lift. Throttle up, timing my approach, I surged into the tight spot and breathed. I was in! With a celebratory dance, I grabbed the lift controls and brought Serendipity to rest, safe in its aquatic home.

I found shelter from the storm even though life is full of risk. Sometimes we take chances and are rewarded; sometimes it can cost us. I don’t think I would want to live without some risk. The rewards pay back the risk and we become stronger for it.

Categories: Daily Journal


Sheila · August 11, 2020 at 9:18 am

Remember I can help you.
I am up here.
Well written Cal!!

    Victor Barr · August 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks Sheila. Not much could have been done. I didn’t know they were locked out until the next morning at 7am…

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