Monday, August 10, 2009

Shit Happens


We woke up early for crossing the lake, and the waves were kicked up about three feet, and the wind was less than what we were motoring at, so we did not raise the sails. I hate it when the waves are up and the wind is not. We got to about Psyche shoals and had to make a little detour. For those of you that like to set the auto pilot, and take a nap, or read a book while crossing, just remember there are really big freighters out there. This is the second time we had to wait and let a big ship cross our bow, as we were on a collision course.

After the detour, we were about to turn toward nine mile point light, when the engine RPM dropped off a bit. When you’ve been listening to an engine run steady for 8 hrs, you notice any change immediately, Deb and I glanced at each other, with that uh oh look. Maybe it will pass. Just a fluke. Minutes later it did it again. It gradually got worse until the engine just stopped! Crap, now what? We re-started, and it came back to life, but we thought sailing would be our best option at this point. We thought we could save whatever the engine had left for docking maneuvers.

We were pretty nervous about this, and I went down below to the engine room to try to sort things out. I was having fan belt issues, they were smoking on occasion, and so I loosened the alternator, checked the belt, and it looked fine. I tightened it back up, and just one more turn on the wrench....Shit! The friggin bolt stripped the alternator threads!

This is one of those moments where you stare at the damage, and wonder to yourself why this shit has to happen now, and if this might be the time where you really cooked your goose. I was so mad at myself, but then I quickly snapped out of it and had to figure out a way to get that alternator locked down. I carry a lot of loose nuts and bolts on board, and I found one I could slip through the alternator and get a nut on it. Phew. Now I don’t have to tell Deb we were screwed. Well, we will be if the engine won’t run.

We had planned on anchoring in Prinyers cove, but Deb had a change of plans. To Kingston my good captain, so off we went to the windy city. When I say windy I mean it, as Kingston is Canada’s sailing capital. Not a place to sail into your slip. We called them on the cell phone and tried to make a reservation, but they said no, but it should not be a problem getting into a slip.

No problem my ass! We called when we were about a mile out, and were told “no slips available, but we’ll put you on a waiting list, and in the meantime you can tie up at the day docks or on the wall.”

The day docks are only 19 feet long. Hello, I’m 44 feet dude. Hmm, he said the wall. We’ve done that before. Been tied up to the Radison wall many years ago with the kids. Hated it, but had no other choice. We sailed up the entrance of confederation basin, furled up the headsail, and with the motor at low RPM, we crept in. She just kept purring the whole time, and I counted my lucky stars that we made it this far. Just a little more to go.

We docked on the hotel wall, where we read the sign that said “NO Docking by the order of the City of Kingston”. WTF! Can I say that again? WTF! The guy said the wall, what the hell could he be talking about besides this friggin wall? Doh. Over by the day docks there was a wall in back of some condo complex. I asked the dock assistant if “the wall” means that wall over there. “Oh yes, no docking at the hotel wall, just go over there.”

“Just go over there”, like I was driving a car for Christ sake. I ran back to the boat, yelling for Deb to prepare to cast off. I explained it all as we were getting ready to go. There was not much room left on the wall, and I wanted to get there before all the other idiots came barreling in here. Getting off the hotel wall was no easy feat, but we managed, and then bopped over to “the wall”. How much water, I ask over the radio. “about 9 feet, you should be fine”. Yea, and I should have no problem getting a slip either. If I run aground, I’m going to strangle the guy on the radio. There were two spots on the wall, and I was going for farthest, as it had more room. The other spot was between a catamaran and a trawler. Tight fit. As I was heading for the spot, the cat guy came out and said it was too shallow. Radio dude said 9 feet, so maybe…” Looks too shallow for you”, said the cat guy. Just then the depth read 5 feet. We draw five and a half. Full reverse! I’m going back to the first spot.

I wish I could remember cat guys name (CRS), but he was a great guy, and helped us in. His lady friend (hot), also was a great help. I thanked them with an ice cold Canadian lager. Turns out they’re heading to Trinidad, and Tobago, to set up a boutique, and bar with rooms. Cool. Very nice people.

So, “The Wall” cost $65. No cleats. No power. No water. Plenty of tourists walking by, and of course the dogs taking a crap on the sidewalk where you have to climb up and over a rusted chain rail. Living it up in Kingston baby.

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