Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sometimes I Should Have Just Stayed in Bed!

I spent most of Sunday night getting the boat ready for the big trip on Monday. An old friend Lory Brasel just moved back into the neighborhood from a 8 year hiatus and I decided to see if he wanted to join Tom and I on the Big Pond. The chart on the left is known as a Beaufort Scale. When my friend Dale Stenseth began his around the world Freighter Cruise one of the first things he asked me to look up was the Beaufort Scale. This is developed in 1806 by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort, and officer in the British Royal Navy, to standardize wind and wave conditions. The chart uses numbers from 0 - 12 to describe an ever increasing wind/wave combinations using simple observations. Based on what it felt like on Mille Lacs, I would have sworn it was a 9. Ok, so I might be exaggerating but my body says different. With the wind coming from the SE we decided to launch out of Cove, on the SW side of the lake. Rounding the point we headed to Sloppy Joe's with the whitecaps clearly in our sights. Stopping first at Kings Reef, it became clear that drifting at 2 mph and rocks make a poor combination so we continued. Two drifts and not one fish marked on the Genetron, we headed straight into the wind, deciding to stop and see Bill at his new digs located in Izaty's. Gathering our thoughts and assessing the wind, we headed for the Banana Reef, hopefully to offer some relief as well as take advantage of what should have been a great bobber wind. The plan was simple, anchor in 18 feet of water and let enough line out to have the back end of the boat in 12 feet. Throwing out my new "this will hold anything" Richter Anchor with a 4 foot chain and 100 feet of line, it should have been a no brainer. Famous last words. I have fished Halibut in Alaska where the tide is so strong the anchor simply slowed our drift. Deja Vu! Although I thought the anchor held, I became concerned when our bobbers started moving the opposite way. We must have drifted about 100 yards before the anchor finally found something to hang on to. What I find fascinating was the appearance of a pontoon that circled us a couple of times, not realizing we were at the mercy of the wind, his reference was based on our "anchor position". He decided to anchor right next to us, dab in the middle of the reef where no one in there right mind would be. Of course by the time they got settled, we had already left him heading down wind! I see this all the time, he sees 3 guys in a Ranger, conditions only paying customers would endure, and the only ones there, must be where the guides are catching fish. We decided to give him the whole reef and pulled anchor, wondering if he ever did figure out our secret technique.

This is when the fun really started. For whatever reason my 115 Suzuki (Suzy) decided to try and commit suicide. The minute I started the motor to leave for some reason it decided to begin trimming up all on its own and I could not get it to stop. The next emotion was panic thinking one of my guest had inadvertently stepped on one of my trim buttons (or worse, it was me) however it was not the case. Trying everything known to me I failed to stop the upward movement until 10 seconds later it had literally snapped the tiller handle off the engine, punched a hole in my cowling and it proceed to snap off the shift lever. Uffda!!! I am not sure what I did but it finally quit. Too late, we were 8 miles from the landing and 2 miles off shore, the motor was completely out of the water, and the wind was pushing us into the abyss. This is when I practice the fine art of CUSS (Calm Under Severe Stress). My first order was to try and get the motor trimmed back down into the water. It took about a minute but finally got it to start moving. Now the damage could be assessed. The tiller handle was parallel to my transom and completely worthless. I had shut the engine off and figured we had better get it going or face arriving in Garrison soon. A turn of the key produced nothing. My shift lever is located on the tiller handle and it fell off the second I touched it. Knowing I had to get the motor in neutral to start it, I took the hood off but the shift area was inaccessible. This forced me to tear apart the tiller handle and my Leatherman provided the means. Getting it out of gear, a turn of the key, and the Suzy came back to life. I got it in gear however it became obvious that if I wanted to go anywhere I'd have to put the handle minimally back together again. After a few attempts, we were on our way. The strategy was to head directly into the wind until we got to calmer water before we would try anything fancy. I called Bill Lundeen who suggested we motor to a closer resort and he would meet us there. About half way I was getting daring and accidentally shut the motor off which meant taking the handle apart again, another 10 minutes wasted. Our top speed was a whooping 6 mph and simply staying on course was challenging. It was incredibly difficult to turn the motor and I am glad we were not any further out. I have brought the boat to my dealer, called the insurance agency, and hope to be back in business next weekend. As state before, 10 years ago this would have tied me in knots. I have learned that most things are beyond my control so just accept it and plan your revenge on the fish!

7 comments:

NeenahPete said...

Great story! Reading it I mean.... not living it. I don't know what you've done to keep yourself from getting tied in knots but I would have gone ballistic by the time the tiller handle had to be torn apart a second time. Glad you had that Leatherman and you're mechanically inclined. I don't envy the fish upon whom you'll be wreaking vengeance. Thanks for the Beaufort Scale.... I downloaded a copy. I'm surprised I haven't heard of it before, not even on the Weather Channel.

Dave Anderson said...

Like Red Green says, "If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy" (http://www.redgreen.com/index.cfm?app=cart&a=menu) I hope you have a better copy of the Beaufort Scale and you will get a clearer definition as this one was the easiest to copy over yet has nothing stated about waves. My friend Dale used the descriptions often which gave some historical perspective to the various conditions. I was going to take a picture of the carnage but practicing CUSS doesn't necessarily mean your focus remains broad based. This may take 2 weeks to repair however I have a couple of good posts in mind to make up for lost opportunities! A lot of responsibilities being an established blogger, especially a guy like you who has a very impressive World Audience. I put that flag deal on that you have and I see some visitors from Eastern Europe Georgia and Lithuania, probably just opportunistic women looking for some American Guy only to see my picture and decided it's not worth it.

Dewey said...

Yet there is no mention of "Happy Hour" which should follow such an excursion.
Oh, and by the way, I'm still waiting for my camo Packers baseball cap.....

NeenahPete said...

LMAO about the opportunistic women!! You have a pretty impressive flag count already, over 300 unique hits in the U.S. alone in a couple of weeks. Dewey's right though... not one mention of happy hour or a hint that any Leinies was involved

Dave Anderson said...

Dewey,
Well, we did have a couple of Canadian Skunk Beers prior to leaving the lake however I am waiting for the repair estimate before I determine the exact length of time that Happy Hour needs to last. Believe it or not, I have your hat picked out, it's actually so nice I might get one myself. Unfortunately I refuse to send such a hallowed symbol into Minnesota and need an honest to goodness Sconnie address to make it legal. Sending it to your lake address would mean nothing in the big picture, although I do understand you may need it simply to make sure you start out on the right foot. Let me know if this is the case and I can make an emergency deviation, just for you.

Pete, Dewey is a great friend and was the President of a company that was one of my customers a few years back. He has left a legacy in the Twin Cities with a son John who has become one of my trusted vendors and Sharon, my purchasing manager who was originally hired and mentored by him. Both are a cut above the rest and a reflection of who Dewey is. I only tell you this because soon he will reach the pinnacle of his time on earth and move to Sconnie. Being the gentleman I am, I have promised him a Green Bay Packer hat so he is less conspicuous, but only because I care. He was actually the guy that got me off the dime to start my blog. Our generation is remains on the edge of this internet thing as we first did it out of survival (can you imagine the 40 year old drafting guy 25 years ago!)and now knowing maybe alittle more than the next guy our age, have found a way to have some fun with it other than e-mail. Dewey is a very smart, kind man, a few years older, and quite philosophical, and if he could do it so could I. Although his blog is lacking the bells and whistles of Neenahpete or Fishing With Dave, his posts reflect a relaxing look on life, family, and the things that are important. Now that he's headed east guys like us become even more of an influence, whether he needs it or not!

Dewey said...

Mr. Anderson, Ok, Ok, I'll wait until I become a "Sconnie" before I get my cap.
What I won't do for a freebie.....
Oh, and your words are too kind. I'm just an old Norwegian wondering what I'm going to do when I grow up.

BigBuckSticker said...

A bit worse than the shopping bag incident.
Kind of like the time when the wind was a 9 out of the N and my motor quit just north of Big Point.