In the early seventies, I was working for"Harry's dock constuction", out of Groveport, in NE Oklahoma.
Harry had taken a contract for a new steel dock, with a trade in, waaay up on the grand river.
Four of us went up to get the old wooden dock, get the area ready for the new dock, and push the old dock about twenty miles back to our cove.
The weather was cold and windy, with some substantial chop on
n the water, so we decided to take the work boat instead of the more logical barge.
The work boat was an anciant 26 foot steel yaght, with the interior ripped out, a huge Chrysler engine dropped in, a small crane installed, and a ladder welded to the bow. It drew two and a half feet of water, but it handled rough water well.
The big barge had a 12 foot beam, drew eight inches of water, had no shelter, and got really ugly in bad weather.
Holiday Shores is an ugly piece of water, very shallow, with wicked currents, and when the wind was out of the NNW, the chop was higher than the water was deep. And it was infested with fishing line and ski rope!
We got to the old dock with little problem, other than grounding a couple of times , and unwinding ski rope from the prop once.
We cut off the stand-offs and walkway, and stacked them on the side of the dock, rigged the dock to push, and got the area ready to built a new steel/concrete dock.
While we were getting the property ready for the new dock, the sky darkened. The wind came up. But, finishing the prep, we pushed the old dock out into the river, and started home.
We couldn't push hard because the water was so shallow, and the wind blew harder at our backs, and it began to snow.
The river is quite narrow at that point, less than a quarter mile, and the navagable channel was about ten feet wide. We were pushing the dock sideways, but that was still twenty feet to shove through the water.
The wind bean blowing harder, and the snow got so heavy, we couldn't see the front of the dock.
I scrambled down the bow ladder onto the dock and worked my way forward. I was glimpsing the shoreline from time to time, But I didn't know the river at that point, so all I could do was keep us in the channel.
After a couple of hours, Frank came to relieve me. He knew the river at that point, but it was a moot point, because we couldn't see the shore at all by then.
I struggled up the ladder that I had scampere down a few hours earlier, and made my way to the forward cabin, where we normally stored tools, and was in the process of trying to make coffee on a single burner Coleman stove, when our starboard spring line snapped.
The spring lines were one inch hard twist nylon. Tied around the frame of the dock ae the forward corners, and figure eight cinched to the davits at the stern of the work boat.
Harry figured that anywhere else was better than where we were, so he gunned the engine.
By that time, we had basically jack knifed inthe middle of the river, and we couldn't see each other due to the darkness and the snow.
As we were going anywhere other than we were, the dock swung around and punched a hole in the hull of the work boat.
That cheered us immensly,water pouring into the boat, by this time it was very nearly dark, and four inches of snow on the deck!
Harry kept his foot in it,as it were, and we finally grounded. Most of us jumped to shore, and tied anything on the water as tightly as we could, to anything on land.
(It just now occured to me, that there were five of us instead of four. Don't let my confusion confuse you)
Using figure eight cinch knots, we damned near pulled both the boat and the dock out of the water, but we had no idea where we were.
Harry, and the guy we referred to as "First mate"(No such designations exist on Grand Lake), were still on the boat. Harry jumped on to the snow covered boulder. slipped and fell, and we caught him. The "firstmate jumped, slipped and broke his leg, before we could catch him.
Then we realized, we were at the base of a cliff.
Truman couldn't walk, so two of us grabbed him by the collar, and climbed the cliff with him.
Attaining reasonably level ground, we were in cross timber forest. We figured, that if we headed directly away from the lake, we would hit a road, and we did.
Then we dicided to head toward the nearest town. Unfortunatly, we headed away from the nearest town, but it turned out okay, because we headed away from town to the only house within twenty miles.
The elderly, Cherokee couple, was quite startled to find a bunch of beat up river rats knocking on their door, in the middle of no where!
But, they had a phone! (Not all that common in that place and time), and allowed Harry to make a collect phone call to his wife. Then let us drip in their livingroom for two hours while MS Harry tried to find us.
Most of us were back at work the next day. to go get the work boat and dock. One guy was so frightened that he quit. Truman went into the hospital with a compound frature of his right tibia.(And, he had walked a mile or two, after we dragged him to the top of the cliff.)
We bashed out the hull of the boat, and spot welded the hull, and covered the mess with tar, inside and out. Rerigged the dock And tookit home.
A few monyth later, Truman lost an eye working on a walkway, and retired forever.
I eventually quit, and took to driving trucks. (How low can you go!)[/code]