Friday, August 7, 2015

After 30 Years I Put My Captain's Hat Back On

It's been a while since we've been out in the boat and yesterday I decided that had to change. It was Thursday so why not take the boat to see the fireworks?

I asked the Island King what he thought and was told that he wanted to watch the debate and wouldn't I rather do that instead?

Ummm – no. In fact I'd rather stick a fork in my eye.

So I decided to take the boat and go watch the fireworks without him.

I come from a long line of seafaring folks and before I met the Island King I owned my own boat so taking the boat to the fireworks shouldn't have been a big deal.


It's been almost 30 years since I've been in a boat without the Island King and I was a little nervous but it's a lot like riding a bike and I knew I would do fine once the boat was in the water.

Driving backwards has always been particularly difficult for me and I had a feeling putting the boat in the water would be challenging but not insurmountable.

The boys didn't want to go so the Island Girl and I loaded up the boat and off we went.

Luckily, there weren't many people at the boat ramp so I pulled in, lined the truck up with the launch I wanted to use and started backing.

This way and that way and every way but straight.

After a few minutes I got frustrated, pulled completely out of the boat ramp parking lot, pulled back in and started over.

It took about 15 minutes to get the boat in the water but finally I got the trailer into the water and floated the boat.

The Island Girl parked the truck, hopped into the boat and we were off.

We got about 100 yards away from the dock and the motor died. We've had trouble with the idle on this motor since we bought it so I wasn't surprised and didn't let it shake my confidence.

We floated around for a minute and I finally got the motor running. It does this often and once it was running again we headed out into the Bay.

It was really windy and there was about a 3 foot chop – which isn't a big deal but I was wishing that I'd chosen a calm day for my first time running a boat in 30 years.

It took a few minutes to adjust to the waves and boat traffic but then my captaining skills came flooding back and we made it over to the beach with no problem.

The Island Girl and I ate sushi and watermelon for dinner

 soaked in the water, talked to the tourists walking by and enjoyed every minute of the fireworks.

The fireworks ended and we sat there for a while, letting all of the other boats get gone before we headed for home.

She pulled the anchor and I idled back under the bridge and into the channel. The Bay was even choppier so my plan was to secure everything and then just run the waves home.

Except, the boat wouldn't plane. No matter what I tried I couldn't get the bow out of the air and the motor was not sounding good.

It was running a little rough and all I could do was a slow crawl which meant that about every third wave washed over the transom.

I had the Island Girl move everything to the front of the boat hoping to get some weight out of the stern but that didn't help. The boat still wouldn't plane and I was still taking the occasional wave over the back.

The 5 minute ride from the point to the bayou took 20 LONG minutes.

We got into the bayou and out of the waves and I breathed a huge sigh of relief – we were almost home.

I pulled up to the dock at the boat ramp and waited while the Island Girl went to get the truck. The motor still didn't sound good so I turned it off while I waited.

Watching her back the trailer was hysterical. Bless her heart she takes after her mother.

She finally got the trailer into the water but when she opened the truck door and stepped out onto the slick ramp she slipped and went down hard.

Poor kid. All she wanted to do was trailer the boat and GO HOME but when I tried to crank the boat to put it on the trailer it wouldn't crank.


We walked the boat to the trailer but then we were standing on the slippery ramp and could not get that boat more than about halfway on the trailer.

Between backing the truck and pulling the boat we finally got it far enough on the trailer that I was able to hook up the winch and muscle the boat the rest of the way onto the trailer.

We both heaved a huge sigh of relief and drove home – where I had one more big test to pass.

The Island King was still at his Mom's and I had to back the boat into the driveway.

Lord have mercy what a fiasco!

I hit two mailboxes, drove my truck ALL the way up into the yard across the street and after 20 minutes of going back and forth my goal changed from putting the boat where it lives to just getting it and the truck out of the road.

I wish you could have seen the look on the Island King's face when he got home and saw this.

He put the boat back where it lives

And I told him about our adventure.

Once the motor is fixed I know I will be confident enough to take the boat out without him again. Thirty years is a long time but it didn't take long to feel comfortable as captain.

But I'm seriously going to have to work on my backing skills - there has to be a better way than taking a half hour to launch the boat and hitting the neighbor's mailbox every time I come home.
Post a Comment