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Canada Nearly Lost in Sturgeon Lake

boat, shore, swim, miles, friends and sea


I had been doing a great deal of swimming with some friends of mine residing for the summer at Sturgeon Point, Lindsay, Canada, and as the sea son advanced I proposed endeavoring to establish a record swim for time from the first lighthouse to the point, a distance of miles.

I had arranged with a friend from Sturgeon Point to meet the S. S. Esturian, sailing from Lindsay and passing the lighthouse, where it was my intention to dive off the steamer at this point. It was given out in the press, and many enthus iasts came across with the boat. The day was somewhat breezy, but there was every indication of a fine swim. I dived off the stern amidst the cheers of the people on board. It was not until I came to the surface that I realized the water was rough, and though nothing to compare to a rolling sea, it was choppy, and broke continuously in my face. This in itself was trying, but expect ing my friend's boat, I started a steady trudgen stroke towards the Point. I had been swimming for about half an hour when I became anxious at the non-appearance of my friends. I do not know, unless it was the sense of loneliness in this vast expanse of water. The roughness in creased and also the loneliness, and I became nerv ous for the first time in my life. My strength be gan to fail with the increasing terror, and I rea lized I was in a terrible predicament. No boat in sight and three miles in one direction and one and one-half miles in another from land. The only thing I can remember was repeating what a long way it was and why did not the boat appear. I swam on for perhaps twenty minutes more, when I stopped to tread water and consider my position. On looking to the east side I saw a white opening on the shore, which indicated to me that must be where there were no reeds or weeds, as all round the rest of the shore it seemed daik. Fortunately this direction was with the wind and broken waters following—two good points in my favor; so I altered my course and made a bee-line to the opening, but it seemed the longest swim of my life, as I never seemed to make any progress. How

ever, I landed at last, in a terribly exhausted con dition. This particular part of the shore had some driftwood which had become dry and white, which made it possible for me to land; the remain ing parts of the shore, however, were thick with weeds. The one redeeming feature of this shore was it was ladened with blackberry bushes, which enabled me to keep from feeling the pangs of hunger, though they could not shelter me from the burning sun, which scorched my skin. However, my nerves had cooled down and I scanned the waters once more, when, to my surprise, I saw the yacht appearing. I waved my hand, then plunged in and swam to meet it. The explanation was, it being so rough at the point lie never thought I would keep my promise. I lectured him on break ing his promise, as an old sea dog would resent that swim being recorded. The yacht had been out four hours looking for me, and it was three o'clock when we arrived at the Point. The steamer had long since landed and all on board had given me up for lost. But not so with Lieut. Hopkins, whose belief in my staying powers was fortu nately correct, or I might have been on that de serted mainland longer than I was. One reason they had missed me for so long was they kept rigidly to the course I should have kept under ordinary conditions, and therefore did not look for me on the mainland. This was my first little adventure in the great waters of Canada, and I can my readers I take no chances again, and strongly advise no swimmer to seek similar experience. Always have a boat, and on no account dive off as I did without a boat in attend ance. This experience gained proved to me how hopeless a swimmer would be who lost heart, and although the distance was short, under normal conditions, it proved very exhausting under the circumstances, and had I not nerved myself for the fight I would not have been giving this true narrative of one of the nearest escapes of a watery exit from this world.