When we jumped into this owning a pleasure craft thing, we knew there would be a significant learning curve involved. Neither of us had spent more than a few seconds steering a powered craft on water. Neither of us is mechanically minded, meaning we can’t quickly diagnose and then fix problems. Then there’s the matter of educating ourselves while making sure everyone on board stays safe. Kind of takes the pleasure out of pleasure craft if you dwell on it.
This past weekend we had a couple rookie mistakes.
When we took the p.c. out for the first time Saturday, our plan was to head straight to the marina to fuel-up. The fuel gauge showed that a quarter tank remained, but gauges on the water are notoriously unreliable. Still, we figured there was plenty of fuel for the quick jaunt across to the pump.
Our engine died inside our cove, just before we left the no wake area. It was a quiet day on the lake, but luckily some folks on a pontoon nearby were nice enough to tow us over to the marina. We filled the tank up, I cranked the key, the engine caught, sputtered for a few seconds, and then died. I tried again, same thing. I let it sit for a moment, then tried a third time, same result. We called the lake patrol over and got a tow back to our dock. The girls were not pleased. They expected to be tubing by now.
When we arrived home the engine did catch and hold and we were able to dock safely. Apparently we weren’t just out of gas, we were really out of gas, and it took awhile for the new fuel to cycle through the system. We made it out for a tentative run later in the day, but I’ll admit I was a little spooked. It’s one thing to run out of gas in your car on the side of the road. It’s another to do so in a boat on the water. Even on a small lake like ours, you are kind of helpless.
On to Sunday. We had some family down for their first ride. We cruised around a bit, stopping in the bigger coves to show them the sights. The girls complained of being hot, so we found a quiet spot and let them jump in to get wet. As they climbed back in and dried off, I decided to take a quick dip, too. In the two years we’ve had the LVS, I’ve never jumped into the water as I would off the side of a swimming pool. Reason? I don’t want my sunglasses to go flying. I’ve always eased into the water backwards off a ladder to keep the specs safe. For some reason I lost my mind and decided to jump straight into the water.
Guess what happened? My glasses flew off and quickly sunk out of my limited sight.
Fan-freaking-tastic. I have very expensive glasses. Not because I’m trendy or a slave to high-end brands. Rather, because I have fucked up eyes. A plane ticket to Kansas City or a new iPad just disappeared into 17 feet of water.
This was not the best moment of my weekend, as you might imagine.
It did turn out to be a learning moment, though. It reinforced my choice to never jump into the lake again. I’ll stick to the old man, cautious entry from now on. And it also gave S. the chance to learn how to drive the p.c. because we were about as far away from our dock as we could be and I everything beyond the bow of the boat was a blur to me.
Fortunately, she did just fine. When it came time to dock, I took the wheel and somehow managed to get us in without incident.
So it wasn’t the best of weekends. But no one got hurt, we learned to never let the fuel gauge get to the 1/4 mark, and my optometrist made some money to boot. Better to get these things out of the way on quiet weekends rather than when we have the house full of visitors.