Smoke On The Water – An Eerie Night Out

Published On August 25, 2015 | By Mark Baese | Recreational Boating

EDIT: After you read this page, check out the video of this day.

I had one of the most unusual nights out on the boat this past weekend. The only word I can use to describe it is eerie – although I don’t want you to just read that as creepy. It was calm, quiet and like nothing either Julie or I had experienced before.

It all started with this guy putting on his best “Can we go do something outside please? Or are you and Julie going to have yet ANOTHER coffee…” face:

George giving us his best get-your-ass-in-gear face.

George giving us his best get-your-ass-in-gear face.

The weather looked good, so we went for an overnighter.

The first day out was rather uneventful. We tried to get gas at one point, but there was a bit of kerfuffle at the marina. The gas pumps were full of boats, there as an ambulance there for some reason, and a wedding was taking place. We decided to skip the gas and fill up on the way back when there would likely be less commotion.

George got his wish:

Vizsla Swimming

George diving in. He’s chasing all the things.

By the end of the night, things were shaping up as you’d expect. Another beautiful Okanagan sunset…

Okanagan Lake

We’re moored on the west side – and this is facing east.

…and a bright moon with mostly clear skies:

Half Moon

Half moon. I think. Looks like half. Half-ish.

We slept pretty well that night.

By the time morning came around, we woke up to an entirely different view:

Smokey Sunrise

Sunrise?

This was the sunrise. This picture – along with all the pictures you’ll see here – are unedited and unfiltered. It’s exactly what it looked like waking up on the water that morning. Dark and VERY smokey. You can barely make out the outline of the mountains on the other side of the lake.

This is the best the visibility would be for the day.

It’s not unusual for it to be this calm early in the morning. It is unusual for it to be this calm all day long.

We thought about casting off and heading back to our marina, but the day was so calm and warm it seemed like a bit of a shame to waste it.

Okanagan Lake

Neighbouring boat among the smoke.

The smoke was from some massive forest fires happening down in Washington State (a few hours south of us). I guess the conditions were just right to blow the smoke in our direction and have it trapped in the valley for a couple days.

On the bow of the boat.

The only reason I was on the bow, was to pose for a sexy picture. Mission accomplished.

It smelled like a giant campfire, which around here is not a good sign. I think it’s a record year for forest fires in British Columbia. Plus, you’re eyes and throat don’t enjoy it – but there was something cool about being engulfed by the blanket of smoke. You never knew what was beyond the curtain.

We did see the occasional wakeboard boat taking advantage of the calm conditions.

Wakeboarding in Smoke

Not sure how i’d feel about going fast with so little visibility.

We enjoyed our calm and creepy day, but eventually headed back.

Here is a great example of the change. The first picture was from our motor out on Saturday. The second picture is the same scene from our motor back on Sunday.

Downtown Kelowna - Pre-Smoke.

IMG_2674 Downtown Kelowna – Pre-Smoke & Smoke.

Hopefully this is the only time this summer will happen. George didn’t seem to mind it, but I’m sure it wasn’t good for us.

George didn't seem to mind the smoke.

George enjoying the midday smoke-shine.

Strangest day ever.

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