Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rescuing a Downed Plane

Today while paddling on the Hudson a fisherman on a pier above me started gesturing and waving his hands at me.

There were some large wooden columns coming straight up out of the water and something small and colorful against their base.  If it was a baby drowning I could have saved it, but it was a small wooden rubber band airplane that was tangled against the post by fishing wire.

Without speaking a word of English the man anxiously asked me if I could retrieve it for him.  Usually I have a knife with me, but today I was trying to get the clumps of Hudson river goop out of it by soaking it in my kitchen.  So cutting it free from the tangled fishing wire was not an option.

The fishing line was stretched between the top of the column, where it held a ghastly ancient rusty hook, and the depths of the river.  I knew I had to be careful not to let the hook fall on me.

I pulled on the fishing wire with the hope of breaking it.  Suddenly the giant rusty hook up above let loose, falling and narrowly missing me.  But the wooden plane was still stuck.

I asked the man up above if he had a knife.   He excitedly nodded assent and passed down a large pair of fish-entrail-covered-scissors at the end of his fishing rod.  I quickly cut the wire and freed the plane.

I passed it back up to him by way of fishing rod and accepted his thanks.


  1. Speaking of rescues - I saw on National Geographic TV that if you get in trouble in the water off  Italy, you may be towed to shore by a trained swimming rescue dog. Very reassuring to a Mom.

  2. every long distance kayaker should tow a rescue dog in a smaller kayak...