Friday, March 8, 2013

The Boat Cougar Speaks

"Well now, I'm finally at sea, heading north with my new owner. I am the Corleto and I'm 30 year old boat cougar just lookin' for adventure with a new skipper. 
I had been on many adventures with my former sugar daddy. He had been a handy fellow and he treated me right. He took me places and we saw many things, but like all things good, there has to be a beginning, middle and an end. And the end came late last year when he decided to set me free. I was sad, sitting there on the dock feeling rejected. I longed for the day back at sea, just me and my skipper. 
But now 30, perhaps I wanted a younger man, to shape into my very own buoy toy.
Then one day, an eager young fellow walked down to the slip to look me over.  I must have shown enough sail and said the right things to him because he wanted me. It felt good to be wanted. "

Yes my boat "Corleto" has a spirit and she sometimes speaks. Every once in a while, I will share her thoughts on the blog. She wants to reveal her personality, her humour, and her vulnerability. She's a metaphor for life and the more she speaks, the more she tests my ability to listen. I can only smile, because this lady has one twisted of a sense of humour.

We'll pick up the story just after Kinc, Jacques and I departed Bellingham. It felt good to be finally on our way. The seas and winds were favorable. As we chugged along toward our first waypoint, dodging the countless Crab Trap Buoys, a feeling of calm finally came over me. Perhaps this little adventure would work out just fine after all.

We were just about to make the turn north toward Hale Passage and I asked Kinc to check on Jacques.

"Jacques reports water in the bilge, sir"

A quick check of the float switch and again it confirms that there is no power to the pump.
We quickly begin hand pumping the water out. As we debriefed the situation we realize that in our haste to get out of Bellingham, we did not hook up both batteries and it seemed that the number 2 battery was the power source for the pump. Hand pumping was to be the order for this voyage at least every 90 minutes or so. It seemed like a small price to pay.

On a northern heading through Hale Passage. That's Lummi Island in the background
We had been at sea for about an hour and ten minutes when we changed course to 300 degrees True. Corleto turned like a dream and her bow finally pointed on a Northern heading. A half hour later we altered course once more to 332 in the middle of Hale Passage to account for the little dog leg the passage has in the middle.
The sun was beginning to shine and the tide was beginning to turn to our advantage. The boat was making good speed and the passage planning of a week ago was so far proving to be on the money.

We continued, winds diminished and seas began to flatten as we emerged at the northern end of Hale Passage. We had a sand bar to contend with, but with the tide running the way it was, and Corleto only drawing 4 feet, we would be fine.

Kinc and I kept an eye on the depth sounder and maintained a steady course toward Point Roberts. It was a good feeling. The engine purred as we made way. This would be the longest part of the trip, a stretch of 19 NM from the mouth of Hale Passage to Point Roberts. Time almost stood still.
We passed the time telling TV War Stories from "back in the day". There was laughter.

Murman and Kinc- the motley crew 

All at once we had a pod of Dolphin playing in our wake. Well perhaps "playing" might be too big a word, they were hunting, but their appearance brought smiles and a good feeling to the crew. We watched them for a while. Another pod showed up off the port bow about a hundred yards ahead. It was what I had hoped to see. And watching them helped pass the time. It just felt right.

It would soon be time to put into Point Roberts. As we checked the time, it was coming up on 4:30 PM  I called the marina at Point Roberts to inquire about overnight moorage. A wonderful lady on the other end of the line gave me instructions and a phone number to call when we landed. She didn't think that the office would be open when we arrived. But as luck would have it, Kinc and I were in the harbour at about 4:45.

On course to Point Roberts 

Kinc was at the helm, I made ready for a starboard docking. We snugged the boat into the dock with the precision of an America's Cup team. Kinc was a bit disappointed that there had been nobody on the dock to see this fine display of docking prowess.

We had made it.

I made my way up to the office to sign in. You could not wipe the smile off my face.

"I gave my new man a few curve balls to break 'em in. He is a cocky little bugger, I had to humble him down a bit. I got a few more surprises in store for him. He got me to Pt. Roberts. He says we're goin' to Vancouver, who knows, maybe I'll make a skipper out of him yet" Corleto

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