October 25, 2003

Happiness is a warm outboard

I didn't get to the marina again today. What was it this time, you ask? With my recent lucky streak you might imagine that the boat sunk or Benny blew me off or that I was attacked by the infamous Mazinaw Lake Monster. You didn't know that Mazinaw had a lake monster? Either did I until today. More on that later.

But it was none of those things. Benny got here right on time and we decided we'd just tow my boat over to the marina. It made a lot more sense than what we'd originally planned - going over and having a mechanic come back over to the boat.

We hooked the boats up and were just coming out of the cove (Benny driving his boat, me using the dead outboard as a rudder to steer mine) when the tarp I'd put over the outboard (to keep debris out of the open cylinders) flew off. I yelled for Benny to stop the boat. Took a bit of doing - he's got a 200 hp Evinrude on his and it's loud as hell. I caught his eye when he looked back to check the tow and he pulled up.

I didn't have another tarp so I was just going to finger thread the plugs back in (which is probably what I should have done in the first place). I got the plugs out of the plastic baggie I had put them in and was about to put the first one back in place when I noticed something peculiar. Rather, I noticed nothing peculiar. I couldn't see water down the plug hole. I looked at the other plug hole and it was the same - no water visible at all.

By this time Benny had brought his boat back along side me and was asking me what was up. I got a flashlight from him and looked down into the cylinders. No water. Benny towed us back into the cove and we docked back up. We put the plugs back in, put the carb back on, primed it and pulled the cord. The damned thing started right up on the second pull.

I was dumbstruck. Benny was laughing his ass off, joking about my diagnostic mechanic skills and how I'd marooned myself for days. I didn't find it funny at all. I'm not a mechanic but I know how an engine works. I can also recognize water (or at least some liquid!) when I see it and those cylinders had definitely been full.

Benny nocked off the needling when he saw I was pissed and suggested that it was actually fuel that had been in the cylinders. A couple days exposed to air would definitely allow it to evaporate. Even if it was water, he said, it might just have evaporated. I don't think so. A glass of water takes more than a couple days to evaporate and that's with a wide open top. These are only exposed through that little hole the spark plugs thread into. But I guess the gas theory, or gas with some water, is workable. I sure can't think of any other workable scenario. Except that I imagined the whole thing, and I'm not quite willing to explore theories of insanity.

We went with Benny's theory. Since we didn't have to deal with the marina after all we had the day to use for our own. We drank beer (Labbatt's at my place - Benny suffered through it stoically), played euchre and shot the shit. Benny has some amazing stories. I started taking notes cause this stuff is absolutely golden. I even started getting the urge to write! It was a blast.

That was when I learned about the Mazinaw Lake Monster. Same sort of legend as Nessie - reclusive monster occasionally terrorizing boaters and swimmers, gets blamed when anything bad happens on the lake. Mazzie isn't famous like some of the others. The locals keep trying to drum up the myth (great tourist gimic after all) but it just hasn't taken hold well like it has elsewhere.

We took his boat out to the cliffs to see the indian carvings there. I'm not sure but I think this was Algonquin territory. Too far north for Iroquois or Crow. I'm going to have to do a bit of research on the carvings because they were quite impressive.

After that we came back to my place, ate an early dinner and then went off fishing. Benny has some prime spots that he knows and we hit most of them. He was pulling fish in hand over fist. Most of them went back out - he only kept the lake trout. I got nothing. Not a damn thing. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal but it was sort of embarassing to be with an uberfisherman and get nothing while he's having a banner day.

Gail fried up the trout for dinner and we played some more euchre then Benny brought me back and here I am. I'll be on my own for the next couple days. They're going to be doing some camping and hiking in Bon Echo Park. Good news though - Benny loaned me his rig including the ancient lure he was using today. He said if I can't catch anything with that then he wouldn't be able to drink with me any more. I'm not sure if he was joking.

G'night all.

Posted by Charles at October 25, 2003 09:42 PM
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