The long shot paid off. After pushing around chasing light and variables, the sun came out and the wind came up. Aside for some partially healed puddles the entire lake was fabulous. The biggest puddle was right in front of the pits, which Roger marked with sticks and flagging. Not the smoothest recovery on record; Pushaw 2016 sets the standard for that, but with the wind at 10-14 SW we rattled our way down to the south end and into the river. Back up gave us a fast non-stop deep reach all the way to the bits. The wind was very strong at the top of Muscongus Bay. Oddly, we found only one drain hole. It had about an inch of ice on it, but that was it. What we didn’t know was whether we’d find any more skimmed puddles, so it was a bit tense.
One bit of protocol I’d like to remind everyone of is the custom of asking about hazards. Each skipper has the responsibility to find out as much as he can about what’s out there. You should NEVER show up, jump in your boat and go without asking around first. Even if you see other boats out there. If no one knows anything than YOU need to go scout it with the others who don’t know nothin’! This has happened before, and it puts others at risk who need to come haul you wet ass out of the drink. These are the preventable accidents. There will always be those spots no one knew about until it’s too late, but that’s the chance we take for the sublime experience of exploring a big frozen lake in an iceboat.
Thanks to Roger, Jim, Bunting & Musser, Wolfie, John and Dave Godine for making a great day out of thin hope.