Derby experience not without tense moments

The Emo Walleye Classic for me was, in many ways, one of the fishing highlights of my life. Finishing in the top 10 was well beyond the expectations of my partner, Patrick Langevin, and me, so things couldn’t have been better, right?
Not exactly. Our adventure was not without some drama.
The first mishap occurred while pre-fishing a week ago Saturday when we ran out of gas and barely made it into the dock at Barwick with our motor sputtering on fumes.
Next, somebody had to haul the gas tank all the way up to the highway to the gas station. That task fell to Patrick while I made a few casts off the dock.
Fortunately, Patrick found a Good Samaritan who gave him a ride back—sparing him the ordeal of lugging a now-full tank nearly a kilometre to the waterfront.
We decided then and there to carry a spare gas tank, which turned out to be a smart move since we had to refuel the main tank on both days of the derby because we were running the motor constantly.
Our next glitch occurred as we prepared for the parade of boats last Thursday. We had gone to enormous lengths to decorate our boat—and even brought $100 worth of sugar-free candies to toss out while heading down Front Street.
To top it off, we had a stretch limo to tow our boat, and that’s where the trouble started.
We were in the staging area behind the hospital when I noticed one of the limo’s tires seemed a bit soft. Right before our eyes it went down, down, down until it was apparent there was a serious leak.
Sure enough, we found it had been punctured by a nail and with less than half-an-hour to go, and boats lined up almost all the way back to the highway, we were in danger of winding up at the back of the parade or missing it altogether.
Fortunately, driver James Dobie from North Air Services in Fort Frances changed the tire and had us ready to go in time.
The parade was great fun until it was time to unhitch the limo so it could return to Fort Frances. Feeling somewhat rejuvenated, I hopped out of the boat by pivoting on my hand.
That was when I felt a pop in my shoulder, which served as a useful reminder I’m not a kid anymore even though I felt like one for about an hour.
I didn’t think the damage was too severe, but I knew it was going to cause me trouble for a couple of days. I didn’t say a thing about it to Patrick because I knew he’d have kittens and I needed him steady and focused—not worried about things he couldn’t control.
The next little problem occurred when I slept through my alarm Friday morning and had to scramble in order to meet Patrick on time at 6 a.m. That meant I had to forego my usual coffee ritual, which caused me great distress since I don’t function well without my morning java jolt.
What if I forget something important because my brain isn’t ready to face the day yet, I wondered.
As it turned out, the only thing I forgot was the aspirin I intended to take during the day in case my shoulder continued to give me trouble.
In spite of all that, we were in the water on time—and everything we needed was right there with us.
Well, almost.
During the mandatory boat inspection prior to launch, we discovered we didn’t have a fire extinguisher and were in danger of not being allowed to depart.
Patrick jumped out and raced up the hill to Tompkins Hardware and reappeared—fire extinguisher in hand—with less than five minutes to spare.
After that, things went smoothly, which was probably just as well since we had had enough drama for one week.