LETTER: A close call on Kootenay Lake

From reader Judy Raabis

On the very hot afternoon of July 2 my son Christopher and I decided to go to Five Mile Beach for a cool off in the lake. The water was slightly rough but fine. Chris had his paddleboard with him but hadn’t planned on using it. I mentioned that I would like to as I had only boarded once before. We noticed a calm bay a few hundred metres away. Chris proceeded to take the board there and I started swimming to the spot.

Very suddenly a strong wind came up and whipped up large waves. I realized that I could be in trouble as the waves were overwhelming me. I called out and waved and repeated to myself, “Stay calm or you could drown.”

Chris noticed that I was having difficulty and started paddling against the waves towards me. He later told me that I would disappear in the trough of the waves and he would lose sight of me. Being a strong experienced boarder, he reached me and told me to grasp the front of the board and maneuver myself to the back of the board and he would tow me to shore.

We reached the shore safely, somewhat shaken but still calm considering our experience. I thanked him profusely for quite possibly saving my life as the outcome could have been very different. His strength, experience and ability to respond quickly in an emergency resulted in a positive outcome. I am so grateful to him.

Judy Raabis

Sylvan Lake, Alta.