Disaster Averted

Sonia - June 24, 2014

Last week, when Shaun got home from fishing, he had a classic crazy fishing story that I just had to share.

So.  They day of fishing had been going pretty well.  He had 75 sockeye on board already and time for another set.  He was running along the net checking for fish, put it in reverse to back up and suddenly wooooosh, the engine raced and the boat went nowhere.

That could only mean one of 3 things: the propeller was gone, the shaft was broken or something was wrong with the transmission.  And now the boat was drifting toward the beach.  This wasn’t going to be a good night.

He got out the air horn and blasted 7 short blasts to signify that he was in need of help. Soon enough, one of the packers hooked up and began to tow him to Port Alberni.  Not ideal, since Shaun had parked the truck in Ucleulet, but you can’t be choosy when you are being rescued.  But it wasn’t going to be easy to deal with a boat load of fresh fish with no truck in town.

He got into Port Alberni around 8pm and had to unload fish before he could deal with the boat.  Thankfully, James, a fellow-fisherman from the False Creek Fisherman’s Wharf was there and agreed to truck our fish to Vancouver for us.  By this point, Shaun was exhausted and had only had about 4 hours sleep in the last 24 hours, but he had to figure out what was wrong with the boat.

He took off the hatch and looked at the engine.  No signs of anything wrong with the transmission.  He took a nap for a few hours and then got ready to investigate further.  He put on his scuba gear and jumped under the boat.  He couldn’t believe his eyes.  The propeller was still there but the nut had come loose and the prop was now wedged between the shaft and the rudder!  It was just dangling there and somehow hadn’t fallen off yet!

It was time to improvise in classic fisherman fashion.  Using his dive lift bags and hanging his tools from ropes off the edge of the boat so he wouldn’t lose them, he set to work.  The way he describes it, it’s tough to imagine, but he wedged his body between the boat and the rudder and heaved with his legs to get the prop back on the shaft.  It took him the better part of the day working under water, but he managed to get the prop loose and put it back on the shaft.

After a bite to eat and a couple of hours sleep, it was time to figure out how to get back to the truck in Uecluelet and home.  He spent about 2 hours trying to hitchhike but with no luck.  So then he wandered up to a truck driver who was driving a company truck with a name he recognized from Uecluelet and asked him for a lift.  Even though it was against company policy to take hitch hikers, he agreed to help out a fisherman.  He made it late at night into Uecluelet, slept a couple of hours in the truck and caught the 5:15 am ferry out of Nanaimo home to Vancouver.  Thankfully, Tristan had already met James and taken our fish to Rumi to be cleaned in preparation for our pick-up.

I heard the whole story when Shaun got home.  He grabbed a bite to eat and a cup of coffee and then took Oliver and Lyndon for a morning hike before lunch and finally catching a well deserved afternoon nap.

Sometimes I just don’t get fishermen – I would have fallen apart a hundred times on that adventure, but fishermen just keep on going and finding inventive ways to get things done.  They never cease to amaze me.

Sonia - June 24, 2014

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Disaster Averted

Sonia - June 24, 2014

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