a day of reckoning…

today was a day to determine, if possible, what the latest problems are with my Boston Whaler.

luckily i found Dan (who, i am calling “Dan the man”) at 8am this morning in Sooke.  Dan is the mechanic that Chris of the Canadian Search and Rescue team had recommended.  Dan does all the work on their vessels, and on the vessel that rescued me on the Strait of Juan de Fuca on Saturday.  Dan knows what he is doing around a boat, and particularly around boat motors.

bottom line, according to Dan, is that there is salt water getting into my fuel supply and then into the Yamaha outboard engine.  this means that even though we supposedly fixed the “leak” in the hull on Friday, there is still water getting into the hull somehow.

secondly, it means there is also a “leak” in the fuel tank, to allow the salt water which is getting into the boat to also get into the fuel tank.  in addition, it turns out that the leak in the fuel tank is also leaking fuel out of the tank.  this is the case even though last Friday the fuel tank was drained and pressurized to determine if there were any leaks in it.  the results of Friday’s analysis was that the fuel tank was solid and good to go. apparently not.  Dan’s conclusion — “Neil, you have a ruptured fuel tank.”   water is getting into it, and fuel is leaking out of it.

Dan says that to have a fuel tank that fails on an almost 25 year old boat is not that unusual.

so, several decisions were made today.

one, the water intrusion into the hull needs to be fixed.  the ruptured fuel tank needs to be replaced.

two, these repairs need to be made before any further effort is made to reach the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  it is time to turn around.

three, where to get the repairs done.  my decision is to have the repairs done in Port Townsend in the United States and at the same boat repair facility that did the repairs last Friday.  A  couple of reasons for this.  the one facility in Sooke that could have done the repairs is so inundated with work that it would be late next week before they could get to it.  the other reason is that the Port Townsend team did the work on it before so it makes sense to have them complete the assignment, so to speak.

four, in order to have the repair work done in Port Townsend, i have to get the boat there somehow.  and do this with a hull that is accepting/leaking salt water.   and do this with a fuel tank that has been ruptured.  and do this with an outboard engine that needs fuel and not salt water to thrive on.

solution.  Dan says that he can rig up a temporary fuel line from a Jerry Jug. in other words, the engine would be getting its fuel from temporary Jerry Jugs on board and not be using the boat’s main fuel tank.  to make this happen i go the local hardward store in Sooke and purchase all the 5 gallon Jerry Jugs they have in stock.  i then go to the nearest, and only, boat fuel dock in Sooke to get all my Jerry Jugs filled with fuel.

armed with these jerry rigged Jerry jug fuel tanks i head out from Sooke at 2pm this afternoon, hoping to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and return to Port Townsend Washington.  a bald eagle perched on a lone piling in Sooke bay.

i am happy to report that at 7pm this evening i entered Point Hudson marina in Port Townsend after a long five hours on the waters of the Pacific Northwest.  Tomorrow i will meet with my boat repair team and see what can be fixed and how long it will take.

until then, let me leave you with one thought.

i want to give a huge shout out to Chris, the woman who took me into her B&B in Sooke on saturday night when she did not have to.  when she did not have any rooms left, but somehow made a storage area a place for me to sleep on a blow up mattress.  a woman who has spent her whole life as a nurse and constantly is attending to everyone of her guests.  she only thinks about how she can help others.  and yet, she is a woman with way too many chores and responsibilties in her B&B to be doing this alone.  she is the painter, cook, bed maker, repair person, local guide, booking agent and more.  she does it all.

and she does it all with a smile.  and does it all while having injured her left leg and ankle, so much so that she occasionally has to use crutches to get around.  she is so busy that she does not have time to see a doctor about her almost debilitating leg/ankle.

she is an absolute sweetheart.  she not only found room for me to stay the last two nights but she also made me dinner saturday night.  she always made me tea whenever i wanted it.  she refused to accept any money from me for the two nights of lodging and breakfasts at her B&B.  she would not hear of it.

truth be told, she did NOT want me to take the jerry rigged boat today into the potentially treacherous waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  like she really did not want me to do this.  really, really did not want me to tempt fate again.

i hugged her, and told her i would be fine.  i told her i would call her as soon as i arrived in Port Townsend so that she will not have to worry.  and i did so.

i want to find a way to get her seen by a doctor, and to give her the help that she needs to keep running the best B&B in Sooke, and maybe the best B&B in the whole wide world.  she is so stubborn and sure that she is the only person who can run her B&B, that i am not sure how to make this wish of mine a reality.  but i know that is what i want to do.  just not sure how to make it really happen.

thank you, Chris!!!!


6 thoughts on “a day of reckoning…”

  1. Happy to hear you made it back safely. I am confident after all you have endured and overcome these past few days that you will have no problem accomplishing the task of helping Chris.

  2. Neil,

    Are you sure that it is sensible for you to try to use a 25-year-0ld small boat with one motor to go around Victoria Island? How about using (renting?) a newer, larger boat with more than one engine, where fewer things are likely to go wrong, with redundant power? I am worried about you….


  3. Neil, This trip may earn you a sit-com. I’m sending you positivity. Please be prudent! We want to read more adventures after you conquer Vancouver Island! Best,

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