Seasonal observations of an ever changing coastal landscape 
by Bold Bluff host Tamar Griggs 

Gambling on the High Seas of Burgoyne Bay

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Date: 12 Dec 2004
Time: 17:41:28


Yesterday I had another fright at sea going to Burgoyne Bay in the early morning to catch the Victoria Ferry. It was still quite dark at 0645 with a bright planet shining over the dark mountains of the south shore of the bay and the sky a deep blue-black.

Suddenly, I felt a strange pull on the 115 hsp engine as if the motor slowed down a fraction and I wasn't even sure if I FELT anything! But I was alert. There again! The engine FELT different! I slowed down and put the engine in reverse as my dear friend Lloyd has advised (in case you have a stick stuck in the prop, reversing usually gets it out!)

Cautiously, I went into gear, sped up, and the engine shuddered. OH NO! Again I stopped, turned off the engine and lifted the leg. There, wrapped around the propeller was a large green plastic garbage bag, and a stick. I tried to jab it free, but it was wrapped around firmly and wouldn't let go. It was at this time that I noticed we had no paddles in the boat. Daisy stood on her hind legs and put her paws on the rail, peering into the dark ocean to see what was wrong.

I must say, my heart was pounding, and it was windy! "Quick, Tamar, try the 9 hsp "kicker" emergency engine", I advised myself. So onto the well outside the boat in my gumboots and life jacket, I climbed to lower the kicker. "S... How do you start this thing"? I muttered, fumbling with different buttons until I heard the motor turn over. It kept sputtering and dying - for 5 whole minutes that seemed like an eternity.

And then, glory be, the engine coughed into gear and off we went merrily trying to find the Burgoyne Bay wharf that was in total darkness from the shadow of the mountain, and I was steering from the stern and could not read my compass. However, we made it, barrelling into the dock with a crash. I lept out, tied the 3 lines securely, took a quick glance at the prop and decided to deal with it when I returned from the city - hoping against HOPE that SOMEONE would see the mess and cut the bag off for me.

I was still shaking when I parked in line for the ferry. And I told my tale to everyone who would listen, like the Ancient Mariner.

How vulnerable I really am out on the ocean! How utterly bizzarre that I would hit the plastic garbage bag in the big bay - dead on! And how sensitive I must be to the SOUND and FEEL of my motor! It is rather like a dance of marriage - me and my motor.

When I returned from Victoria with 100 pounds of frozen raw goat meat for Daisy (and I had to unload the car, get the meat into the boat, and then carry it up the 500 foot walkway and into the basement freezer alone before it defrosted) the plastic bag had vanished from my propeller. My heart sang in joy: SOMEONE saw the mess and kindly fixed it.

       Last changed: January 26, 2012