My Watermark is Georgian Bay, Ontario.
I was a keen sailor at the time. My grandfather had arranged for us to have a sixteen foot way-fairer.
On the particular day, our neighbours from an adjacent island came and invited me to go with their boys camping on the shores of Beckwith. I went and asked the leader of my family, my mother, and she declined saying it was family vacation, and therefore I should stay on the island with my family. I said, “could I go sailing?” It never occurred to her to understand the difference between me off the island sailing, and off the island picnicking. But nonetheless, I was allowed to go sailing.
So I decided to get on the sail boat, and off I went. It was fortunately a light day so I sailed from somewhere south of Bone Island past the north end of Giant’s tomb out to Beckwith and saw them as the boat was leaving into the distance; they had been there and were leaving. So I sailed and touched my foot to the shore and turned around. I decided to make it a tour of the tomb, so I went by the south end of the tomb. As I was passing there, the light was going and the wind with it. Realizing that I was now near a channel I sailed away, away from the channel so I would be less likely to get hit.
Fortunately, there was a moon that could be visible, but I hadn't prepared for having lights and stuff. I came upon a line of sholes, which I did not know were there at the time. And at one time in the pitch dark, I had my left thigh over on the throat of the boat and my right leg pushing off the rocks —I couldn’t see until finally I was in deep water. There was a channel behind one of the points, where there was a peanut man- an imitation of a planter’s peanut. I went by the peanut man in the dark and just at that time, a boat went by and seeing me, turned and slowly came back and said, “Are you John Hopkinson?” I was quite surprised to hear my name at this circumstance, especially at the dark of night. I said, “Yes, I am.” They asked me if I would like a tow, and that bore some thinking. I said, “Yes! I would like a tow, thank you!” So he hooked me up, and off we went. Just as we were towed into the dock, our boathouse and docking area had never seen more boats around. Every single light on the island was on. There was one fellow who was just taking off into the harbour, and seeing us, turned around, came back and said, “Is that him?”
My timing was perfect. I had the sweet spot between panic and rage. Earlier, my mother would have been horrifically angry, now she was just on the edge of moving into outrageous panic. So I landed there, was well received and had a good night sleep. That’s my waterstory.