Monday, 25 May 2009

A Work Day Turns Exciting

I wasn’t sure if I would get to go out sailing on the weekend. With our plans being pretty full, I thought I might be able to sneak away for an afternoon or evening escape, but it looked doubtful.
I did manage to wedge in a few free hours though after the church rummage sale. By shirking the lawn cutting and putting off splitting wood for the Girl-Guides Campfire SWMBO is hosting on Wednesday night, I was able to escape with SWMBO and Buddy for Saturday afternoon.

It was an escape, but by the time we got to the harbour, the days races were done, and the winds were light and fluky. No matter, I needed to power wash the deck, and get some maintenance done. Out came the scrub-brushes, power washer, and cleaners.

SWMBO made herself at home in the cockpit of “Tabasco,” a neighbouring boat, while Buddy charmed Tabasco’s first mate. By the time I shut down the power washer, I was pretty happy with how the boat was looking. I set about scrubbing the non-skid, and it came up a bunch, but not quite to where I wanted it. By now I was tired of scrubbing, so I started packing up my supplies.

While I was scrubbing, I had noticed a pretty little blue boat come into one of our visitor’s docks, and her captain and crew went into town. This is usually a non-event as people come and go through the harbour all the time. Now as I packed up my gear I saw her pull away and clear the break wall. “Lisa Lee” was heading home.

Just as Lisa Lee cleared the break wall, a woman came running down the dock calling after the boat. Apparently the skipper had left her behind, and she was in trouble. How would she get home!?! I told the lady to jump aboard Iris, and called to the crew of Tabasco to radio Lisa Lee to wait for us.

Every now and again it happens that when a boat pulls away from the harbour, the skipper fails to realize that one of his crew has stopped at the washroom, or is still on the dock talking to someone or holding a line. When that happens if you radio to the boat, and take the lost crew to them, you can save them having to re-enter the harbour and tie off. We thought we were doing Lisa Lee a big favour by running her missing crew out to her.

Iris’ outboard started on the first pull, and we were away. The first mate off Tabasco and I were taking our passenger out to Lisa Lee, and we could hear Tabasco’s skipper calling over the radio:

Lisa Lee, Lisa Lee, Lisa Lee, this is Tabasco, Tabasco, Tabasco, do you read me, Over.

Our outboard droned along as we cleared the break wall, and headed out on the trail of the small boat up ahead.

Lisa Lee, Lisa Lee, Lisa Lee, this is Tabasco, Tabasco, Tabasco, do you read me, Over.

We weren’t gaining on the boat ahead. It was a 24 foot, and Iris is a 25, so we were only marginally faster than her. No worry; as soon as Tabasco reached her, she’d turn and we’d make our delivery. By now the skipper should be realizing his mistake.

Lisa Lee, Lisa Lee, Lisa Lee, this is Tabasco, Tabasco, Tabasco, do you read me, Over.

As we followed Lisa Lee across the lake, our passenger broke into tears, and shared the rest of the story with us. She had been engaged to the skipper of the Lisa Lee for the past 7 months. Tonight they were going for a sail and a romantic dinner at the Arms. While at dinner, she confronted him about a website she had found him on, and he had left the restaurant, and her.

She wasn’t forgotten at all.

The first mate from Tabasco is good with these sorts of things. She has a couple daughters in their 20’s and works in the school system. She talked down our passenger, and I got to listen in on some “girl talk.” As the counselling continued I spoke with the Skipper of Tabasco over the radio.

Since this girl was going to be stuck at our Harbour, I proposed that we take her to “the Narrows” but that was a 3-4 hour sail away. SWMBO didn’t think that was a good idea since I had all the baby supplies aboard, and she had the baby. We mulled over other plans. Maybe we could contact the police marine unit and have them transport the grief-stricken girl. That was taken off the list when we realized that she was drunk, Tabasco’s first mate had had more than a couple drinks, and really no one had done anything that was an offence, yet.

Through the counseling it came out that before he ran off, Lisa Lee’s skipper had given our passenger $100 to find her way home. Once we realized that, I idled down the outboard, pushed the helm hard over, and radioed Tabasco.

Tabasco, Tabasco, Tabasco, this is Iris, Iris, Iris, we are returning to the harbour, please arrange alternate transportation to the Narrows. Over.

On the way back to the harbour, our passenger turned her focus from her own misery to outright anger and started counting off the things that she was going to do to Lisa Lee’s skipper. It wasn’t a list I care to repeat here, but I’m glad I’m not that guy.

As we approached the harbour the Police Marine unit came thundering up, and crossed our bow, idling down just ahead of us, obviously making it clear to us that they were available to lend assistance if needed. I’m glad to know that they are eavesdropping on the conversations out on the lake.

When we reached our slip, we were met by the harbour staff who lent a hand in tying off Iris, then escorted the girl to their office to wait for her taxi. While she waited she poured out her soul to the staff. Apparently she was quite intent on coming good on the things she had said she would do the guy, and she didn’t care about the outcome, “I’ve been in prison before,” she said, “Its not that bad.”

Apparently our passenger had priors on assault, and had left Toronto to move up north when her trail as a crack dealer got too hot. Too bad she hadn’t started a new life for herself. Good thing she was off my boat.

The harbour staff loaded her into a cab and sent our guest on her way. SWMBO and I talked on the way home. Who was in the wrong here, and who was in the right? We can never know the whole story of the relationship between Lisa Lee’s skipper and the girl. It was probably better that he gave her money and told her to find her own way home than risk an altercation out on the water. With both of them drunk, things could have escalated from abandonment to murder pretty quick if a shove had sent someone overboard, and they couldn’t be recovered by the drunk left on board.

Having at least one of us sober enough to run the boat was also important. If this had turned out to be a more serious matter, and had required someone to be away, the not-sober person could relax on another boat while letting the other one take care of things. And finally, both of us should have a set of car keys, and some supplies for the baby should be left in the car, just in case.

Life is never boring in our family.

1 comment:

  1. So, having read this, I have a request.

    Perhaps IRIS could not rescue damsels in distress.

    It doesn't seem to work in your favour.


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