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1986 Transfer Trip

Day Five: Rest in Little Tub

Wednesday, June 18, 1986. Aboard Voyager II

It is too late to leave the harbor, and, to tell the truth, everyone has been enjoying the day ashore and doesn't want to leave.

It's summer again! The weather has returned to normal: sunny skies, mild temperatures, gentle winds from the southeast. It's a beautiful day in Tobermory's Little Tub harbor, but we have some problems.

Yesterday, after I jumped ship for the motel, the other boat finally arrived in Tobermory. The plan called for the two crews to switch boats, so all our gear was transferred to Voyager, and their gear to Serenity.

They also had some story to tell.

While we on Serenity were closing in on Cape Hurd, aboard Voyager II there was an emergency! Their leader, John, collapsed in the cabin. They got him on deck and revived him. They tried to contact us on the radio, but their transmitter wasn't working. Eventually, John was okay; what he needed was some fresh air. The cause of his illness was soon discovered: he had succumbed to engine exhaust fumes leaking into the boat from a broken exhaust manifold.

Stan, from the other crew, is upset about the way things have gone. He is really steamed about the radio situation on Voyager , and rightfully so. The radio is a pathetic old crystal-controlled set with an early solid state final. It's doubtless lost the output transistor, and its range is about 500 feet. That's why we have been able to communicate all during the voyage so far: we have seldom been more than that far apart when attempting radio communication. He vows he won't leave the harbor until he finds a replacement. Unfortunately, Tobermory doesn't seem to have a radio in stock anywhere. As Stan is moving to the other boat, which has a working radio, it's a moot point for him.

But he is also mad that we got so far out in front of the other boat yesterday. "What if John had been having a heart attack", he asks. Good question. No one has an answer.

Besides these hypothetical problems, we do have one immediate problem. The engine on Voyager has a leak in the exhaust system. Even though it is an Atomic-4, probably the most popular sailboat auxilary ever made, there are no spare parts available in Tobermory. But there is a solution.

We ask the harbormaster if he know a mechanic. Sure he does. But the mechanic is out fishing, enjoying the beautiful day. The harbormaster gives him a hail on the radio--oh joy of working radios--and he agrees to come in and take a look at our engine. Since we are now aboard Voyager, it really is our problem.

Around noon, our mechanic stops in. He's tall enough to play in the NBA, a huge guy with a beard and covered with hair. He crawls into the engine of Voyager and removes the broken exhaust fitting. Off to his shop he goes. In an hour, he's back with the new part, made from the old and some shop materials brazed on.

It needs a little adjustment, so off to the shop he goes again, then back once more. This time all fits well. The engine is fixed! We settle the bill with him: after applying the currency exchange, his fee is less than $20! We give him a big tip and our thanks. We are back in business, again.

But it is too late to leave the harbor, and, to tell the truth, everyone has been enjoying the day ashore and doesn't want to leave. We decide to stay another night here, and we will resume the trip tomorrow.

The change in boats allows me an opportunity to change berths. After three nights sharing the vee-berth, I ask my mates for a break. They assent and let me move to the port quarter berth. It's luxurious compared to the vee berth. It's a giant single, all to myself.

It's good to be back with the rest of the crew. Tonight, everyone--both boat crews and both leaders--goes out to dinner together. We have two cars sent over from the Tobermory Lodge, a mile or so across the harbour, and all eleven of us pile in for dinner.

The menu offers something new: Splake. It's a local variety of fish, a cross between a Lake Trout and a Brown or Speckled trout. Everyone on our crew orders it! It's typical of our growing unity. We are all out for adventure, even if it is just a new variety of fish for dinner. It turns out to be delicious, especially washed down with some Canadian beer.

After a great day, it's back to the boat to sleep. This time there is a restful night ahead. The boat is gently rocking at the dock, the night is warm, my gear is all dried out. I'm off my Scopolamin daze, and I feel much better.

Continues with Day Six: Tobermory to Snug Harbour.

Copyright © 1995, 1996 by James W. Hebert. All rights reserved.
Page Last modified: October 19, 1996