We went out in the boat for the first time in months this weekend, before any launching of the boat, even a little aluminium dinghy like ours takes a while to prepare, this time it took a couple of hours, however when finished I thought I had organised it all. We had intended to get away around 9am but didn’t actually get away on the river until 11am.
The launching ramp today is a place called Beachmere. This seaside village is in a corner between the sea of Deception Bay to the East and the mouth of the Caboolture River to the South, our daughter has a part-time green keeping job here and has heard tales of big catches locally. We intended to cruise up the river and fish at spots on the way.
The weather is perfect around 22 Degrees no wind, and the river is just a little cold. We put the boat in the water, loaded all four of us. I tried to pull outboard starter cord, it wouldn’t move. I pulled again, nope, and again nope, and again nope. Nothing, the cord on the starter just wouldn’t move. Surely the motor isn’t seized, the great outdoors elation is sliding into despair as I imagine expensive and time-consuming motor repairs. The days ruined, everybody is counting on me, how do I tell the girls, the boats broken. I need some time to think this through.
I asked first mate daughter, to push the boat back to shore while I studied the problem. Ah ha. I had left the engine in gear, no wonder it wouldn’t turn over, immediate relief and mood improved.
I get my devoted first mate to push the boat back out again. Pull the starter cord and mechanism whirred around easily, but nothing started, I pull it again, nothing. You get the story, I pulled the damn thing for about 15 times to no avail, and then I looked more closely. Ah ha, I had not pumped petrol through or set the choke and throttle, silly me. I set the choke and throttle, and started the process again. Pull, whirr, Pull, whirr, pull, whirr, pull, whirr, pull, whirr, this went on until I thought my arm would fall off.
Time for first mate to push the boat back to the shore, while I sat and studied the motor. Damn this was going to up set the day. Perhaps if I clean the spark plug after all I have not used the boat in six months. I leaned over the back of the boat past the motor trying to figure out how to open the lid, there was a lever thingy on the back of it I pulled at that. Nothing happened, I reasoned it might be seized up, I pull again, nope, and again, nope and again, whoops, it came off in my hand. Damn, well, a Philips head screw held on the handle thingy, if I undid the screw I could get the whole mechanism off, and then lift the top off. I sent first mate to the truck to get the Phillips head screwdriver as I looked again.
I continued my investigations in her absence. Ahhhh Haaaaa, the fangle, stretchum, dangle, connection to the red current restricting toggle set in the opposite direction for allowing the free flow of electrons through to the ignition-sparking device. Shit, the safety switch is in the off position.
First mate triumphantly returned with the screwdriver, her feet cut and swollen from running 100 yards across the asphalt. I thanked her for the screwdriver and had her push the boat back out. I leaned over transom with the screw driver and made muttering noises in an effort to fain highly technical activities, Muttering with satisfaction, I leaned over turning the safety switch from off to on. Time to test, a pull of the starter and the motor put put putted, in a cloud of deep blue smoke to life.
Our intrepid fisher people celebrated with a cheer as we coughed our way out into the middle of the Caboolture river inlet. I noticed as the captain of this ship, that there were still problems. i could get no more power out of the thing and we were only putting along in thick clouds of blue smoke
Explaining our excess very visual carbon emissions as “Oh it’s a bit smoky because it has been sitting for a while”.
Suddenly there was silence, the motor died. We’re sitting peacefully in the middle of the Caboolture River estuary, a beautifully spot, if you intended sitting there, but we didn’t. There we signs of panic beginning to rise from my normally loyal crew, I called smell mutiny in the air.
I heard discouraging words like:
“What the F*** are you up to” from my wife and,
“Dad I want to go home” from first mate..
I returned to my technical evaluation of the situation, politely, telling them that refraining from discussing our current condition in whining tones would be the appropriate action for three ladies stranded in the middle of the estuary at present. I looked again, Ah ha, I had forgotten to push the choke in and had left it running on extremely rich. I carefully took the screw driver again, began to pretend to adjust various elements of the motors mechanism, when I thought enough time had passed, I pushed the choke in, pulled the starter and putt, putt, whroooooom, the motor started and set a course of up-stream for an afternoon fishing. My male technical genius saved for another day, and we got about the serious business of not catching fish.
A mildly successful day from a fishing perspective; we caught a few medium to small fish, which we returned to the water. The weather was great and we discovered another beautiful part of our local environment. There is a couple of small boat repair and building yards up the river and a few pockets of houses with jetties down to the water with yachts moored outside. The banks are a mixture of small stands of native bush and farm paddocks down to the edge of the river.
We passed the rest of the day relatively incident free, apart from a small grounding incident near the end of the day, when the outgoing tide had neglected to leave sufficient water in the river for us run the outboard on. The solution in this case was fairly easy, I asked wifey to get out and push the boat to deep water and away we went again.