Laughing at Myself
A few days before friends arrived in Nassau to board Mystique, I shared a burger and fries with fellow boaters and Canadians Leslie and her son Houston while we listened to an American folk trio perform at the Green Parrot Resturant. Afterwards we shared a short taxi return to Rubis' fuel dock where I started my dinghy's Yamaha 4-stroke 15 hp. It started right up like a charm...yet it doesn't always!
Now around 9:30 pm on an placid and unusually waveless Nassau harbor evening, I dinghy-ed my way back to Mystique. Not quite halfway back to her, my 4-stroke outboard suddenly had a one-stroke and inexplicably conked out. Ah, it couldn't be I needed more fuel as I had earlier filled the gas tank. But after numerous engine resuscitative efforts, I determined any further efforts were useless. Could it be the new fuel?
Then I somehow convinced myself I could use my dinghy paddles to row the rest of the way...maybe 1/4 mile against an ebbing 2-knot current! In the 2-3 seconds I considered it, I convinced myself it was indeed possible. So there I am rowing without realizing I'm moving backwards. It must have been a comical scene if anyone had observed me. I even started to laugh at my thinking I was strong enough to challenge harbor current! A few moments into my futile effort now I was now combating the dual forces of harbor current and my self- deprecating chuckles. Then it dawned on me I had not yet had my daily dose of challenge. It wasn't yet midnight so there was still time left. Then I really couldn't stop laughting as I realized not one day had passed in the last few weeks without life testing and stretching my strengths and resolve - not one 24-hours without a lesson or a reminder!
As I chuckled at myself in the darkened harbor, another clever idea crept into my cranium. - I would paddle perpendicular to the current over to the nearby dimly lit Rubis' gas dock. There I could, at the very least, tie up, hold onto to my insignificant "progress" and avoid being dragged into deeper trouble. Maybe I might wave down a passing boater or wait for the tide to change sometime within the next six hours. UGH...
Maybe 15 minutes passed in the low-light and lowering tide without a single craft to wave down. I was becoming resigned that maybe only water and time would flow past me. Even if a boater floated by how could he notice me in such an obscure and dimly-lit location? There was a faint hope of my being noticed as the gas dock did have a dull light above me that might make me semi-visible. While I had hope of being eventually noticed, the real prospect of sleeping in my dinghy passed through my harboring thoughts. Then out from the west a moving red light slowly appeared in the distance...and it was nearing the gas pier. Hope soared! My arms began a slow distress wave.
I could not make this script up, but it all unfolded as follows: - a Bahamian Brendon Swavey (note "wave" in his name) noticed my waving, stopped by to offer assistance, then offered to tow me back to Mystique. Back at my boat within 5-minutes, I asked him for a outboard mechanic reference; he immediately thought of Billy, but he had recently lost his old phone and with it his contact list. So he immediately called a friend to ask for Billy's number. He gave me his number and told me to call him at 7:30 am before he gets into his office at SOS Marine services - specializing in outboard motor repairs.
I called Billy early the next morning and arranged to have SOS Marine fix it. Over the phone, he speculated it was the fuel. A fuel filter would resolve the issue. They promised to have it fixed by 11:00...and it was and by 11:30 I picked up Leslie and Houston who offered to help me move Mystique to Nassau Harbor Marine to wait for a family of six to arrive.
I again chuckled as SOS Marine's fuel filter fuel line fix worked for the next day, but after that it was sporadic at best. And again and again as the YamaHA always had the last laugh.