Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Do you have a kicker?

Lund fuel dock.

Not everything goes as planned. After morning fog, we headed out in our ocean boat to go to Heriot Bay. Originally we wanted to go to Campbell River, but calm slack water in Discovery Passage was too early.

We got gas at Lund and Wayne delivered Coastal BC Stories books to Tug Guhm Gallery. Despite Covid-19, Deborah had a good summer and sold out.

Almost to Heriot Bay we heard a weird ping and then a banging sound. We stopped and checked the propeller to see if we'd picked up any floating debris. Nope.

Departing Lund with historic hotel in the middle.

Wayne examined the engine compartment but didn’t see anything amiss and all of the gauges were normal. We started again and the periodic bang had changed into a constant thump, so Wayne shut us down.

Putting along at 4.5 knots with the kicker.

Heriot Bay was close but they don't have maintenance, so we started the kicker (our emergency outboard) and headed home at 2:15. At 4.5 knots it was slow. At least the sea was calm. Typically, it's an hour and fifteen to get to Heriot Bay. Wayne estimated between 5-7 hours to get back with the kicker.

All our boats have emergency kickers.

All was well until the kicker quit. Wayne found the fuel line sucked dry. He pumped it back up, only to have it stop a few minutes later. He briefly restarted the main engine to get fuel flowing again and that did the trick.

It sure was a good feeling when we were back moving again. 

Passing Lund hours later and the sun is getting low.

Sunset caught us an hour from the marina. We’ve never arrived after dark. At least we had a track on the GPS to follow. When we got to the breakwater it was 8:30. Wayne started the main engine to have more control. It was the lesser of two evils. Wayne’s window kept fogging so I went out on the back deck and yelled left, right, straight. Good thing there wasn’t a crowd to hear us arrive.

An hour away and it's getting dark.

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And so our cruising season came to an end. We contacted Jeff at Valley Marine and they sent their truck to pull us out. The diagnosis was a damaged sterndrive that would have to be replaced, but like lots of things during the Covid-19 pandemic it is on back order.

We were lucky to have an emergency kicker ready to use. It's the same in all aspects of life. Plan for the best, but be prepared. What kinds of "kickers" do you have and use to get you out of tight situations? -- Margy