Friday the 13th??
15 July 2007 | Riviere-au-Renard to Escuminac
Friday the 13th?? Escuminac, NB, July 15, 2007 Posting #12
After a very good few days enjoying the hospitality of Riviere-au-Renard, we were up bright and early and all ready to push off at 6:30 am. Jim turned the key and ...nothing happened. The sun was shining, the wind was blowing gently, it was our day to have a grand sail and the engine wouldn't start.
Blair and Mary, with astoundingly good humour, postponed their plans to move on as well and Blair and Jim set to work problem solving. On first inspection, since it appeared that our batteries were undercharged, we thought that was the problem. We hauled everything out of the locker and - under the direction of the gentlemen on board - I climbed in and checked the charger. Eureka - a blown fuse! I changed that and then we needed to recharge the batteries.
Fortunately there is a coast guard station right beside the marina office and a couple of officers brought down a fancy charger to take care of that. Unfortunately, the engine still didn't start.
Next step was a walk over to the marine repair building on the corner to arrange for some expert help. Yvan showed up as soon as he could, and as he, Jim and Blair engaged in an animated blend of French-English-Mechanical/Speak, he determined that the solenoid on the starter had quit. Solenoids are particular little items for particular engines apparently, and things were not looking good for a quick fix. Yvan took it off to his shop to see what he could do, and arrived back about 5pm with a smile on his face. The cleaned solinoid went in, Jim sat down behind the wheel, took a deep breath and turned the key. A cheer went up all round as the engine turned over very nicely.
Another interesting discovery during all the poking around was a loose wire that had been the problem with our propane system. Blair taught me how to crimp a wire to make a better connection and we fixed that little problem too!
A quick conversation with Strathspey after we listened to the weather forecast resulted in a decision to leave on Friday evening for a long run of about 120 nautical miles to Escuminac. It would take about 24 hours, help us make up for lost time, and get us into New Brunswick before the expected strong winds on Sunday. As we packed up and did all our checks, a thunderstorm blew over, rinsing off the salt and clearing the air, and was nicely finished just as we were ready to leave the harbour. (The picture at the top of this posting shows Strathspey leaving Riviere-au-Renard)
It wasn't till we were well on our way and Jim and I were discussing the bad luck/good luck feel to the day, that we realized it was Friday the 13th. By then, the bad luck of the engine problems had been completely overshadowed by the good luck of being - once again - in a place where excellent help was readily available, and in the company of such supportive friends
We took turns doing watches through the night as we motor-sailed along under the starry, starry sky. I saw a meteor light up the whole sky as it fell, and was enthralled by the phosphorescence in the waves rushing by. Jim was on duty at sunrise and saw the darkness fade gradually away to be replaced by soft growing light.
We sailed a bit and motored a bit on Saturday, enjoying the warm sunshine and the wind - and wishing it wasn't quite as much sur le nez ...again! The 14th is our daughter Mary Beth's birthday so we enjoyed a birthday phone call with her and look forward to seeing her soon. Happy Birthday Mary Beth!
Then around about 2 o'clock, out of the blue came that horrid engine overheating alarm! We thought we were finished with that after clearing out the seaweed in the water intake valve in Rimouski. We're getting to be fairly experienced in sorting through symptoms to make a guess at the problem so while I got the sails all up and adjusted our course so we could proceed under sail alone, Jim checked the filter and the hose and they were clear. Then he checked the coolant level and it was low. He's been adding a lot more coolant this year than before so was wondering about why. Well, this time, he added and added and added, and then got really curious about the sound of trickling liquid he was hearing. He discovered a missing plug in the reservoir. Even when he fished the plug out from under the engine it didn't thread back in properly. By this time, he had run through all our coolant so he had to just add plain old water. As we all know from our cars in winter, water freezes faster than antifreeze; it also boils sooner than antifreeze so we had to creep along, keeping the engine running at less than 1500 rpms, and turing it off to do the cool down, add water routine every time the alarm sounded. The wind wasn't giving us much help in following our course. I could get a really nice speed up if I wanted to head off at a 90 degree angle from our course, and even with tacking back and forth, out ETA was staying the same or getting later.
Strathspey was safely in the harbour at Escuminac so when it began to look like we would be out there for another 6 or 7 hours, we accepted Blair's offer to see if he could find someone to tow us in. We were still about 8 nautical miles out and hated to ask someone to do that, but we were also getting a little weary of this slow pace.
We soon heard the crackle of the radio and Blair's voice saying a fishing boat was on the way, and sure enough, out of the dusk came the Christine with Andre Turbide at the helm and Gabe and Blair along to help. They circled around, tied a line from our bow to their stern and away we went.
Madcap fairly flew through the water doing over 9 knots- in fact she has never gone so fast! We made it into Escuminac just after dark - as the whole harbour was enjoying the annual Breakwater Bash. Music was blaring, lights were flashing, fishing boats were everywhere. I was on our deck with lines and fenders ready. Jim was at the helm watching the knot meter and depth sounder with incredulity. He says we were still going 7 knots as we came flying through the opening in the breakwater and the depth sounder was showing a foot of water below our keel! Fortunately it is a large harbour and our speed dropped dramatically as our rescuers dropped the towline. I gathered it on board; Jim put the boat in gear and circled around to get his bearings. By the time we came alongside the dock where Mary was waiting to catch the lines, Blair, Gabe and Andre had also landed and were there to assist again.
Many thank you's later, we cleaned ourselves up and went up the dock to join these wonderful Acadian people in their party.