A Painful Lesson in Physics


My family has a cottage that we love to go to every summer. It’s two hours north of where we live and rests on a quite developed lake but it is still a beautiful area.  The best part of owning a cottage is being able to share the picturesque landscape and potential for activities with friends and family.  One week I had a couple of friends up, and it was a great time as usual, except of one thing.  But first I’ll have to explain.

This particular visit was especially fun for the three of us — Thomas, Ken, and myself — because we had been lent the use of a Sea-Doo.  The Sea-Doo is faster than boats by a long shot and I think it is technically a two-seater but we always rode it as three.  We rode it on both days to the more recently developed part of the lake because the cottages over there were extremely grand and exuded their wealth.  A few of them had water equipment by the shore in front of their properties. Thanks to it being in the middle of the week, many cottagers were not up at the lake, so what we decided to do was drop two of us at the equipment to play while the other had a turn to drive the Sea-Doo solo, which is much more fun.  We did this a few times, and mostly at a certain cottage that was far from any neighbours.  This cottage had a large water trampoline twenty meters from shore so it was a perfect place for our shenanigans. 

On the second day, at the one cottage we had been most fond of, using their trampoline repeatedly with the persistent worry of getting caught, we decided to head out.  Riding back to the cottage, we decided to let Thomas drive.  Now, Thomas had driven in the few previous days, so he was aware of the power, I think.  The Sea-Doo can get up to a top speed of about 90 km/h with three riders, going straight.  Thomas was driving us at a straight shot to my cottage at a speed of 50 km/h, being reserved.  If I remember correctly, I was in the middle and Ken was holding the strap at the back.  And that is when our temporary pilot, our captain for this ride, decided to turn sharply right.  Or it would have been a sharp turn to the right had the laws of physics not interrupted us…  All three bodies on the watercraft were ejected from the straddle seat and were carried on our original trajectory at original speed.  We bounced on the surface of the water only once before we bashed and halted.  Our lifejackets held us afloat after impact as we moaned some five meters part from one another, and they had also saved our torsos from much of the force we hit the water with.  I wanted to stay curled up but I quickly realized my glasses were off and reached out in the water to luckily grab them just beneath me.  After that, we slowly swam back to each other, and the Sea-Doo, amply moaning and cursing.  The Sea-Doo had shut down thanks to the safety attached to Thomas’s lifejacket, and as we reached it, a small sailboat approached us from the nearby shore.  Which means this entire ordeal had been witnessed by someone and I would have loved to heard what it looked like from his eyes.  It also meant that the scene looked bad enough that we needed help, and more embarrassingly, our recovery time was long enough for a man to launch and sail a boat out to us. 

He asked “Are you guys alright?” 

We shrugged him off, trying to downplay the accident saying we were fine, we were fine. And I cruised us back to my cottage, where we all talked about feeling the gratitude of coming out uninjured.

I think that was the time Thomas almost killed us. I think.  But assured, you’ll be hearing more about his involvement in future stories.

You’re welcome,

B.F. Greeno, aka,
The Skipping Skipper
(As in skipping like a stone and skipper of a boat crew)

About the author

Benny Greeno
By Benny Greeno

Recent Posts