The day after we put in our windows we decided it was time to pursue an island adventure that we had been dreaming up the last few months. A 007 style text message with little more information than a day, time, location and satellite photo of the island notified friends of our Sunday evening adventure. Samantha and I packed up the necessities and drove out of the 100 degree valley, arriving at Rimrock lake 45 minutes later. Our thoroughly loaded inflatable tandem kayak moved sluggishly towards the island and upon our arrival we were greeted by two friends who had beaten us to the destination by hours. It didn’t take long before 3 more friends and a dog arrived on various floating contraptions and we officially entered island time complete with tent, hammock, firewood, beer, whiskey and a setting sun.
It was at this point that I decided to grab the drone that I had packed to get a few photos before the sun disappeared. The hesitancy of flying it over the water (for the first time) faded just in time for me to make an irreversible mistake and the next thing I saw was the drone + GoPro slip beneath the surface of the lake as I ran in after it. It quickly became apparent that it had already sunk out of reach as I treaded water near the crash site at a loss for words as the others hurried to the edge of the shore. I dejectedly made my way back to them to discover pain and blood coming from my left foot. Amidst a bunch of smaller cuts and punctures from the sharp rocks I ran over when I jumped in was a larger flap of skin under my big toe that Samantha was able to peal open and against my objections, insist that I needed stitches. In one fleeting moment, I had put an end to our island overnight while simultaneously tacking on an ER visit and losing valuable equipment and probably a good photo or two. We packed up camp and paddled back to the main land as the drone and camera sat at the bottom of the lake.
The next morning, my own dejection and water restrictive injury was offset by our friends rally cry to return to the previous evenings drone crash site and give it one more shot with goggles and full day light. We refilled the cooler with beer, loaded up the inflatable’s and retraced the drive one more time. A floating couch simultaneously added style points and dramatically slowed the pace of our floating gypsy caravan as we made our way across the lake to the island. Graham had tried to dive down and find the drone minutes after it crashed and claimed he was close because of a beeping sounds. After returning to the crash site 19 hours later, his instincts placed him right over top of the drone and he pulled it to the surface from it’s murky, watery grave 12+ feet below on his second dive!
We have yet to know if the drone is salvageable but the GoPro made it through the ordeal intact and we found some pretty great documentation on it including the photos and videos below! (In the video) We also learned just how close Graham was to finding the drone within minutes of the crash and just how many fish hang out around the island. I want to thank Meghan, Brad, Graham, Matt, and Samantha for giving me reason and energy to return to Rimrock Lake the next day for the search and rescue mission.