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Jennifer & Derek's Amazing Proposal with Treasure Box
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Jennifer & Derek's Amazing Proposal with Treasure Box

You cannot vote for this story anymore, as this story participated in constest that ended on August 31, 2011

Since my first summer with Derek in 2007, his family and I have gone on an annual trip out on his parent's 42 foot boat, the Mary Lynn. We travel down the Trent Severn waterway, towards Georgian Bay and anchor in a few of our favorite spots. All of us enjoy the sunsets, beautiful beaches, exploring old lighthouses, and most of all snorkeling on old shipwrecks. The cold fresh water is an excellent preservative of the ships and the backdrop of the very rock formations that sunk them makes for a surreal experience. That first year, while snorkeling on the Thomas Cranage, an old steamer that ran aground in September 1911, Derek recovered an old valve ring, that he was later able to clean the rust off of, and now you can make out the word "open" on the side of it with an arrow. I joked with him on that trip that "it wasn't quite the kind of ring I was hoping for" and I thought, maybe, I sparked an idea.

Our trip in 2008 was equally beautiful, and even more fun with the company of Opa and Derek's cousins Nick and Alex DeDeckere! For some reason, I thought in the back of mind, that Derek had remembered our last adventure with that valve ring, and that this year I would get a real ring. So I packed accordingly, and wore my pretty sundresses and skirts the entire trip - waiting for that picture perfect moment when he would get down on one knee and ask me to be his wife. I was sure to look beautiful the entire trip, dressed to the nines, makeup on and hair done - every day. Not exactly the most practical of things to be doing on a boat in the middle of nowhere! But to my great surprise, on the last day we set sail for home, there was still no ring on my finger. I was so devastated, and remember very clearly crying below deck with Derek's mom, thinking he was never going to propose and that I was sure he didn't want to marry me.

Another year went by, and we left for our 2009 adventure in Georgian Bay on August 29th. This year, I had already prepared myself for no proposal. I thought for sure, this was just not the right place for Derek to ask me, and that maybe he was just not comfortable asking in front of his entire family. At least I was at peace with this, and didn't dress up like a retard anticipating something that would never come. We traveled around to a few shipwrecks for the first 3 days, and anchored in our favorite bay on September 1st, just off of Beckwith Island where the horizon goes on forever, and you can see the most beautiful sunsets you could ever possibly imagine. The sand is soft and squishes between your toes, and there are two beautiful bays optimal for anchoring the boat in sheltered place, regardless of which direction the wind may be blowing in that evening. As we finished dinner and the night wore on, a couple arrived in a small dingy dragging something very heavy on the bottom of the bay. The entire family became very curious as to what it was that they had towing behind their small vessel, as they would not pull it up on shore, nor would they leave the bay during light. John and I peered through the binoculars below deck hoping for a glance at their coveted treasure, but the couple had carefully placed their boat between us and whatever it was that was in the water. It looked terribly important and heavy whatever is was, as the man was in the cold water trying to rig up a better way to drag it out of the bay, and at one point, even the woman entered the water to help him. Our imaginations were running wild with the anticipation of figuring out what they could possibly have, and why it was so valuable. All we could dream was that they had taken something off of a nearby shipwreck, and were taking proper precautions to not be caught in this very illegal act. Or maybe it wasn't treasure at all, maybe it was drugs that were dropped, or who knows what!

At any rate, we all went to bed not knowing how that story really ends and the next morning John set out on the open water bright and early. When I woke up we were above the Thomas Cranage, one of our favorite shipwrecks to dive on. I was surprised that Derek was ready and eager to snorkel right away, and John too was suited up in his scuba gear getting ready to jump in early around 9:30am. I however, was not so eager to enter the freezing cold water so early in the morning and so I doddled about the boat very slowly still in my pajamas, enjoying coffee on the top deck with Sandra, contemplating if I'm even going to go in the water. It was a little windy out that morning, and the water was only 65 degrees Celsius and sometimes a wet suit just isn't going to cut it. But as I meandered about, Derek still in the water, and John scuba diving, Teresa announces she will be going in the water too. At that point, there was really no getting out of it - if Teresa was going in, so was I. So I went below deck to get ready, put my bathing suit on, and then my contacts so I could see with my goggles on (this all probably took me maximum 5 minutes). I finally get into the freezing water, and swim around for 10 minutes or so checking stuff out and go back to the boat to sit on the swim platform for a second while I adjust my mask. But Derek swam over asking if I'd like to go take a look at the ship's boilers with him. So back in the water I went, exploring the wreck some more, when all of a sudden I spotted something that didn't look like it belonged. There, sitting on top of the Thomas Cranage decking, was an old box tied with some rope! A million things raced through my mind at once as I popped my head out of the water with excitement announcing to everyone to hurry over, I had found a real treasure! I tried to swim down to get it but it was in 20 feet of water and was unable to make it. So I sent Derek down to retrieve it, and together we pulled the rope with the heavy box back to the boat. I couldn't wait to get it open. All I could imagine was the secretive couple from the previous night, and that perhaps they had dropped something along their way. As we managed to get the box onto the swim platform, what looked like blood began to poor out of its sides, and Sandra commented that maybe there was a hand or foot locked inside!

I struggled with the box, completely oblivious as to the fact that Derek was now on one knee across from me. When I finally got it open, I knew exactly what was happening. He had filled the box with beautiful stones from the shore, that original valve ring he recovered in 2007 and in the middle was a small box. In my shock, I shut the box, gasping for air and crying for joy. Derek took my left hand, and opened the treasure box, removing that tiny box inside of it. He told me that I was the love of his life, that he couldn't imagine spending it without me by his side. And then, over the Thomas Cranage, he slid that beautiful diamond ring onto my finger, and asked me to marry him. I was so overjoyed, overwhelmed and shocked all at the same time my response to his very romantic proposal was, I'm sure, less than what he was expecting. Because all I could get out of my mouth at that point was "I can't believe I fell for this!" Everyone laughed as I sat there in my wet swim suit sobbing, now bearing the most beautiful diamond ring I have ever seen. As I began to be able to breathe again, Sandra prompted me ... "So?" she asked "Is that a yes!?" I giggled, and responded, "Of course it is, YES!" And Derek and I kissed our first kiss as a newly engaged couple.

John brought out some champagne he had stowed away for the special occasion, and we celebrated our engagement as a family around 11 that morning, regaling with all the obstacles I had not knowingly placed in their paths along the way. Of course now it all made sense, why Derek and John were in the water so early, searching for the perfect place to set the valuable treasure box down. And I was taking my time- even questioning -entering the water, allowing them to freeze their petunia's off, oblivious to what was going on. It was only when I went to put on my swim suit and contacts that Sandra was able to hand off the treasure box hidden inside the cabin below, to Derek overboard. Once I was in the water the wind presented even more troubles as it blew the boat right over top of where Derek and John had placed the treasure box! This was part of the reason Derek 'guided' me over to check out the boilers in one last desperate effort to get me to spot the box - and it worked!

I can truly say this was a family ordeal, and a big group effort on all of their parts causing an undue amount of stress. It was also the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me, and I feel so fortunate and blessed to have been spoiled with such a wonderful loving husband, and in-laws.
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