Listen to Day IV in Ruth’s voice:
Transcription of Day IV:
Today is Sept. 30 and I’m on day four of the I Heart Wisconsin River Trip. This was a day of drama. Drama in a good way, and drama in a not-so-good way. The first drama: this morning, I saw a family of otters playing. There were four of them and I had been waiting for that on this trip. It was really cool—they were in a big open area that has a lot of sand bars ringed by tall trees and then there were three eagles that were flying overhead and doing their “peep peep” sounds. I tried to get them on video and you can see one sitting in a tree.
The third kind of wildlife encounter that was really cool was a beaver. I kept seeing this splash and I thought “is somebody throwing something in the lake or what’s happening?” And after seeing all these beaver dams and all these beaver lakes, it didn’t even occur to me that it might be a beaver. So I went up a little closer and of course it disappeared and didn’t even do a tail slap. But it was really, really fun to see those wildlife sightings. When I got out on the Rainbow Flowage, I saw an immature loon and did a little video about that. They’re congregating right now, the immatures, so they’ll be trying to find each other and then heading off to migrate. That was really, really wonderful.
I made it across the first big flowage called Rainbow Flowage. In a way it’s kind of a test. It’s a 4,000-acre flowage that is created by the Rainbow Dam, so it’s the water that’s backed up behind the dam. What happens when you get into a flowage is you lose your current and then sometimes you get a lot of wind. I was really lucky today because it was relatively still, not much wind. There were very few motor boats because it’s the middle of the week. The few people that were out there fishing were on the edge of the Rainbow Flowage. It took me about two hours to get across that flowage. I don’t know why—maybe I was just tired.
But the second drama was when I got to the far end and pulled up on the boat launch there, which is to the north of the dam, and I had a ton of water in my boat. I had like two to four inches. I have been starting to feel it on the sides of my legs and on my butt and I have no idea where that came from. Previous days I had water in my boat because I was getting in and getting out a lot and every time I got in, my shoes would drip into the boat. I figured it was just water in my shoes, but today was a totally different situation. It’s definitely somehow leaking in and there are two ways that might be happening. One is there are some little nicks on the bottom of the boat, but I understand the Fulboat hypalon rubber, there’s actually a double coating of it, so I can’t believe those little nicks would have gone all the way through. Nevertheless, after I drained the boat and got to the campsite tonight, I used some shoe goo to cover the holes. I don’t know if that’s the right way to do it or not, but that’s what I had to work with.
The other way it could be leaking is that the stern and the bow have drain holes so you can tip the boat upside down, put one end down, and get all the water out easily and that helps if you want to rinse out the boat if you’ve been in salt water or something like that. Some people plug up those holes because if you have waves, you can get water into the boat. I didn’t have that many waves today, but I’m wondering if the waves created water in the boat or if there’s some leak with the screws that hold that metal piece of fabric on the bow and the stern.
It’s a little concerning to me because number one it’s not comfortable to be sitting in water. I was right on top of it. And the second thing is that it makes the boat heavier and harder to paddle. If nothing else, at lunch break every day I can empty out the boat and drain it, hold the boat upside down and let all the water out. I started using a sponge and it just took forever, so this is something different.
If anybody out there knows about fulbots and what might be going on here, I’d appreciate it. I know I’m pretty heavily loaded, but I did not have this problem any other time I’ve used this boat this summer. There must just be something happening with that. On top of that, a couple of rivets up on the washboard, which is the combing on top of the boat, have popped out and so they keep snagging on my pants and it’s just a pain in the butt.
It looks like I may be in for a few boat repairs or some boat maintenance when I get in to Rhinelander tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing my next River Angels, Tom Jerow and Steve Schreier, and other friends, Marcia, and talking with WXPR and Channel 12 TV when I get in to Rhinelander. I’m hoping I can share information about how I love Wisconsin and how I’m learning how so many others love Wisconsin and what they do every day and also in their work to help the beauty and the natural health of our state.
It’s been a great day. Thank you to everybody who’s been following along. I hope you’re enjoying this and if you have any questions, comment on Facebook. This is the first time I’ve been able to get online and it’s fun to read people’s comments, so thank you so much for your support!