It was a cool fall day when we, a trio of young lads, decided to go out on a major hunting expedition out on the islands of James Bay. We thought of everything, including a camera to record our incredible hunting prowess. We picked Big Mand for our spot for the week or so and busied loading up our 16 footer with the latest in technology, a Johnson 9.5 horsepower screamer. We set off in calm waters and slowly made our way to the island, weaving in and out of killer reefs and shoals like the pros of old. Yep, it was the adventure we never knew was going to happen.
It came around the tenth day and we noticed that after surviving gale force winds and typhoon like rainstorms, sleeping in collapsed tents flapping in our snoring faces, bagging quite a few fowl and generally having a great time, that we were running low on cigarettes.
Buddy looked at me and spoke of my light smoking habit and perhaps had thought of asking me for my share, since he smoked like a chimney since he was six or something like that. But, he didn’t ask, at least not just then.
We rationed out the remaining sticks of death and planned our smoking spots, watching each other like wary wolves, making sure that the other didn’t light up and get that extra whiff of nicotine on the sly. Slowly, over the next few days, while still coping with hurricane alpha (it was the first hurricane in James Bay, I swear), our tobacco ran out.
So, we made a plan to recycle our smokes and gather up all the butts where we had lit up, in various points on the island. Our memory of where we had a smoke became instantly clearer as we gathered up enough butts to make ten more cigarettes. We had carefully dried the wet weeds and made another three or so. Another day went by and the geese and ducks never seemed to end and the berries just begged to be reaped. It was heaven, until our tent fell in our faces again during another tumultuous storm.
“I’ve had it!” Buddy exclaimed, “let’s go home”. We all agreed, since we ran out of tobacco and hard tack bisquits. It got so bad we thought of smoking tea leaves, but the smell was a bit too reminiscent of the other wacky baccy. The storm had finally subsided to a mere forty knot wind and calming down even more so towards the evening when we had the canoe all loaded up with our wet tent and gear and our kill for the last two weeks.
Just when we were ready to board the canoe, Buddy took off after his last flight of geese, bagging one as a result. This took time however and the sun was setting fast. Buddy returns with a big smile on his face knowing we’d be soon back to a place where there’s tobacco. A pair of belugas appeared and headed in our general direction, northeast.
Soon, we were awash in three to four foot waves in the dark and I was bailing for all it was worth with our trusty-teapot.
I was a little worried as the water sloshed around and I bailed even faster. Buddy was up front and didn’t see the shoreline of a shallow sand covered shoal. At last, at least some chance to empty the canoe, I thought. We turned around and headed back out to the large swells, and within several minutes, washed ashore again. I knew we were out in the sand flats of Fort George and only had to move on towards Governors Island and we set out again, only to crash into Governors. We quickly headed due east and made it up against the current to Fort George. The night-lights only made it better for Buddy, since he was dying for a cigarette. I’m sure he would have swum to shore if he knew how.
We finally geared up after landing and sloshed our way home, completely soaked to the skin, yet happy. My mother was a little surprised since she told me that I wasn’t to return for another two days or so. I made it simple and said “We ran out of cigarettes and Buddy had to come back”. Should of quit smoking while I was ahead.