Sunday, November 07, 2010

Johnson! To the poop deck

Dad was super awesome and let me sleep all day, and I awoke shortly after his attempt to put the hook down Becher Bay just off Santa Rosa Island. My mouth tasted like donkey, and I still had cotton balls for brains but I felt slightly more human... Dad had just made the executive decision that given the forecasted weather there was no suitable protection so he was heading for Santa Barbra across the channel, the wind had died and we were motoring.

We had just finished flipping through the Pilot notes, and deciding that Prisoners Harbour on Santa Cruz Island might work, besides which it was much closer... we were just off the western edge of Santa Cruz in fact... an island that looks very much like the badlands of Southern Alberta... in around Drumheller.

That's when the engine quit.


No coughing or sputtering, just dead. Only difference was that this time it wouldn't even crank.


Up went the sails, contents were emptied from various compartments around the engine... and Dad running on negative sleep was attempting to troubleshoot as the light faded, and the fog rolled in. To make matters more interesting there was a shipping lane with traffic separation between us and anywhere we could pull in to port.

For the second time in as many months, we called the US Coast Guard, and gave them the heads up that we were stuck on the edge of the traffic lane with no engine... and no wind. Yes we were fine, yes we had life jackets, no we didn't need blankets or anything else... we were just stuck.

From that point on we were on a con-sched every half hour, and they decided it would be best to tow us in to port. We spent the next couple hours or so coaxing 1 to 2 knots out of the fickle gusts that taunted us, toying with our tiny minds by changing wind direction... only to wait until we had flipped the jib to the other side to swing around again.