Sept 18, 2022 Adrift

Published by Victor Barr on

I heard the motor sputter and stall. I looked back at the Mercury 150 at the back of the pontoon boat and noticed it was shaking. I looked at the fishing rod sticking out the back and saw it shake as well.

Could it be a fish?

The shaking stopped. And so did the engine.

The strong northern breeze continued to push our pontoon boat but the motor no longer was running.

What the…? 

“Hey, this isn’t good guys. The engine just quit.” I looked at my crew on the boat and said a silent thank you that I was with friends and not paid guests.

“What’s wrong?” My wife looked up at me and asked.

“I’m not sure but the motor just quit running and now when I try to start it – nothing, zilch, nada.” I shrugged and looked at my buddy Mike, “I think we may be fucked here… do you know anything about mechanics?”

“I know that if you turn the key and it starts it’s a good thing, otherwise…” Mike shrugged, “I am not the mechanical guy.”

“I must be bad luck,” Cyndi chimed in, “last time we were out didn’t like the axle come off the trailer or something?”

“Ya but this is different… I think we have a dead battery.” I scratched my head. Think, think, think. How the hell did the battery just die?

I tried a few things but the boat was completely dead in the water. And we were drifting with the wind. At least the wind was a lot calmer than it had been only a short while earlier. It would be getting dark in only a couple of hours, then the temperature would drop…

“At least we have a lot of food,” Cyndi smiled. I always liked Cyndi, she was the positive perky one of the bunch.

I got on the phone and called up the guy who runs the marina to see if he could mount a rescue mission. He was not available right away. I looked to the sky and then at my friends. I felt like such a jackass. We only replaced one battery and not both, even though we bought two batteries. Why didn’t I put the other one in? Why did trolling kill the motor? At this point beating myself up wasn’t helping, but sometimes it’s hard not to.

Cyndi looked at Mike, “doesn’t Kane have his boat moored in the same marina?” 

“As a matter of fact, he does. Give him a shout.” Mike replied.

Cyndi grabbed her phone and began texting away. “He will come right away, but it will take him an hour to get here.”

Just then I got a text from the owner of the gas bar, he knew someone who could come but they wanted money and wouldn’t be there for at least an hour if not more. Money didn’t matter but time was important because the sun was dropping quickly.

“You sure your buddy can come?” I asked Cyndi and Mike.

“He says he’s on his way.” Cyndi seemed pretty confident, I wished Mike looked as confident as she was. 

I texted back to the marina guy that help was on its way.

“If we get really hungry we have a fish we can eat.” Mike laughed.

“Mmm… sushi…” My wife smiled.

At least everyone was smiling. 

It was a nice afternoon, the wind was dying down and the sun was warming up our bodies. Earlier the wind was howling out of the north and we almost went back to the dock. Instead, we found a calm spot in a bay and floated while we listened to tunes and ate our lunch. That’s probably when we drained most of the battery. 

Damnit why the hell didn’t I replace the other battery?

Nothing to do but wait… I guess I could clean the boat.

We kept drifting to the south and the sun was almost gone. As the sun dropped so too did the wind until it was merely a light breeze. Mike tried a few casts with his fly rod and I organized my tangled tackle. The girls curled up under the blankets we had on the boat. 

It was a lesson in patience. 

“He’s left the dock and has a co-pilot on board.” Cyndi perked up with the good news.

“Only another twenty minutes then.” I sighed. I only had ninety bucks on me, I hoped it would be enough. 

I looked at my wife, “We have that gift certificate for The Blind Angler Restaurant, we could use that and buy our rescuers dinner.”

“It’s the least we can do,” she nodded in response. 

Before long a boat appeared in the distance.

“Hey Mike, do you know the scene in Monty Python when the guy is running towards the castle and it never seems like he is getting any closer?” I asked.

“Ya, and then, boom, he is there.”

“Well, every time I look at that boat coming that’s what it seems like.” I shrugged and laughed. The girls looked at me like I was from another planet.

Sure enough though – suddenly our rescuers were there. 

Kane had a battery he said he keeps for such a time, his booster box wasn’t charged up and his cables were too short to reach from one boat to the other. I tried to boost the boat off the battery he brought but, nothing.

Kane brought his boat around to the front and they hooked up while I continued to try to start my engine. And soon enough we were off like a herd of turtles heading back to the marina.

I fiddled around and tried everything but the boat would not start. The battery he brought me must have been no good. 

Nothing to do but enjoy the ride. 

The sun dropped below the horizon within minutes of setting off. Our rescue came just in time.

Almost an hour later we were back at the dock. 

“I can’t thank you enough,” I said to Kane as he parked his boat in his slip. I handed him all the cash I had, “here take this for your troubles and let me buy you dinner.”

He just smiled back at me, “It’s all good, I’d love to join you for dinner but I have steaks ready to cook and hungry kids at home so I gotta go.” He shook his hands at the money, “I don’t want any money, just glad I could help.”

“Really? Are you sure, even some fuel money? I’m sure you burnt a lot of gas and at today’s prices…” I tried to hand him the money again.

He pushed my hand back, “It’s all good man, I don’t want anything. I was rescued once in almost the same spot. I’ve always said if the time comes to repay the kindness, I would.” 

“Thanks again, ” I smiled and shook his hand.

My wife and I went with Cyndi and Mike for a nice meal at The Blind Angler. We all agreed it was nice that there were people like Kane in the world. 

That’s the way to live, we agreed. “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” 

The next morning I returned to the dock and installed the new battery in my boat. Sure enough, it fired right up. I looked around the marina and took a moment to appreciate the day. It’s nice to know there are still good people in the world. 

Categories: Daily Journal

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