Life with my parents has never been dull, and apparently some things don’t change with age. I grew up thinking vacations were spent on a 27″ cabin cruiser tied to some cliff in Ontario. Staying in a hotel was something entirely foreign to me until at least my teens, and even then it only happened once every few years and was always tied in with some meeting Dad had to attend for school.
When Dad retired, ten or thirteen years ago now (I’m bad with dates), they sold the old wooden boat (the “Nicole”. Gotta love that!) and bought a fiberglass Searay monstrosity. Thankfully I had already moved away, so I’ve never had to deckhand on the narrow, badly designed beast. Alas, that left Mum as sole deckhand having to navigate the narrow sides of this monste… but I digress.
A couple weeks ago, Mum and Dad (M&D) took off on a little jaunt to Richard’s Landing, Ontario (a frequent weekend destination for them). About two hours into the three hour tour (yes, I just said that), Dad noticed he was having to throttle up more and more to keep the same speed. This, of course, happened in Lake George just about the same place our old boat sank when I was seven.
By the time they made it through the rapids not far from their destination, they were at full throttle and barely making headway, but they somehow managed to avoid the rocks. The engine finally died all together just yards from the marina, and they coasted the last several feet. Apparently Dad, all 5’6″ and 70 years of him, lept the last few.
Apparently something had broken, and water was being pumped into the bilge rather than out of it, slowly sinking the boat. So they called the local boat fix-it guy who came down to the dock with his little toolbox and fixed the problem after several trips back and forth the 30+ miles to get parts. Dad, of course, made fast friends, and the man (and his dog) ended up hanging with M&D on the docks, drinking into the late evening. That’s my Dad… making friends with everyone.
Now a lot of people would be wary of taking off in a boat that had all but landed at the bottom of the river three days before. Not M&D. They waved goodbye and started their merry way back upriver. Now the trip back takes them through the shipping channel. This means they’re in hundreds of feet of water with 1,000 foot freighters sharing the waterway. It can be quite dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing, or are incapacitated somehow. You see where this is going?
An hour or so from home, the engine died. Kaput. Nada. The current in the channel is fierce, but luckily no freighters in sight to drag them into their wake. Finally Dad finally resorted to calling in a Mayday to the local Coast Guard (ah the memories). They tell M&D that they’ll be along as soon as they can get there, and to sit tight. So my parents drift until they’re outside the boundaries of the shipping channel, and throw out an anchor to await rescue. An hour and a half later said rescue appears to tow them to the nearest marina.
Now I’m just guessing here, but knowing my parents as I do, they likely passed the time having an afternon drink and some snacks.