BatteauBatteau BreakupHowardsvilleScottsvilleVirginia Creeper

Goolsby’s Incident report according to Charlie Davis, Capt. of the batteau “Virginia Creeper”

From Wingina to Howardsville we had major rain, at times you couldn’t see 2 hundred yards. We lowered the canvas and a half a dozen kayakers came over to the batteau for shelter. Two women and one fellow stayed aboard for the rest of the trip. Jack and one of the women, Maggie the RN, hit it off over shots of bourbon. The guy who joined us, Henry, floated with us the next day to Scottsville. Wednesday on that trip we got locked up in the rocks about mid-river in some serious current above the falls at Goosby. Punched a hole in the boat you could drop a baseball through. Water poured in, we probably had five or six inches of water in the boat before I could get the hole patched with plywood screwed over a couple of thick sponges. We got the water bailed out and we were whole again, but of course we were still on the rocks. Jack lost his footing trying to push us off and bounced down through some major rapids and didn’t get stopped for probably 300 yards. He went down feet first, but his backside still took a beating. Ironically, he was rescued by Maggie the RN in a canoe. She was watching from downstream along with a number of other people. The Lady Slipper came down while we were still hung and ran up on rocks at the head of the falls just to our left. We didn’t have enough manpower to get off the rocks. Thirty minutes passed, several batteaux anchored upstream from the falls waiting for the Creeper and the Lady Slipper to get free. In a short time there were 15 or 20 crew members from upstream boats standing ashore watching and wondering how to help. We needed three or four more people to push us off the rocks, but the water was so swift that we couldn’t be reached from downstream despite repeated attempts to get a hundred foot rope to five would be rescuers waiting on rocks there. Mason Basten and three hardy souls reached us from above the falls and with the extra man power we got free. The next two hundred yards was a wild ride, but we got through. I don’t know how Mason and crew got back ashore again. It was quite a scene. Ralph Smith and company got the Lady Slipper freed up. They were closer to shore and more easily reached. I hear other boats had trouble at this spot and I understand that a couple of them ran up on the same rocks after I left. A lot of the batteau community stayed around to make sure all the boats got through, which they did. We attempted to get back upstream to help, but the current was strong and the water too deep to get a pole on bottom so after a rest we continued to Scottsville. Henry, Randy, Claudia and I pulled the boat in Scottsville Thursday without incident and Henry followed me to the quarry and helped me load the truck. My thanks to Mason and crew (you know who you are) for helping us out.

Charlie Davis