James Laird - Camping at the Emerald Bay Scout Camp - Page 1

The late afternoons at the Emerald Bay Scout Camp were free time, and you could do pretty much as you pleased. Take a nap, (no one ever did) swim, play ball or go boating and fishing. There were canoes if you felt safe in them, or rowboats. A couple of us chose rowboats as they did not tip over very easily and learned to row a reasonably straight line after a few days. We liked to row out by the entrance to the bay and fish next to the rocky entrance. The water was clear and the bottom, at twenty to thirty feet deep, was so bright you could see every detail of the fish and seaweed there. The fish that stood out were a bright golden orange and were plentiful where we fished. They just ignored our bait and left it for the other fish which was very annoying. I later learned they were named Garibaldi and only ate vegetation and later became our state fish.

The last full day at camp was very busy and a lot of fun. You had the chance to pass tests for different scout events and watch others do special merit badges such as Life Saving by swimming out into the bay to rescue someone and doing artificial respiration and Passing First Exams, (some of the bandaging was very inventive). The afternoon was water carnival time. Besides swimming events the older scouts did all kinds of stunts with canoes and row boats. Jostling with canoes was the most spectacular. Several paddlers would man a canoe with one person standing with his feet straddling the sides of the boat holding a very long handled toilet plunger pointing forward like a lance.

With two canoes facing each other from the opposite ends of the beach manned as described and on a signal from the referee they would charge each other. They tried to dismount the standing jostler by pushing him off balance into the water with the plunger. Only by knocking over the person with the plunger counted for points. Often the entire crew and canoe would go over and the canoe would have to be lifted out of the water to drain before another round could began.