Thursday, April 23, 2009

Barrel Of Monkey's

When I was young, my dad had a boat...actually truth be known it was a 40 foot yacht named the Nauti Gal IV. It was a custom boat built by Thorton Grenfell. It had teak decks, a wooden hull and was really a beautiful vessel. However, being a young teenager, going away every weekend became old rather quickly. In those days there were no computers...imagine that! We had a tiny black and white TV that was powered by a battery pack but unfortunately, we would set sail to the Gulf Islands and there was not much reception for TV in those parts. Sooo...we would listen to a radio mystery program on the radio in the late evenings and we would play games. I became very good at cribbage and other card games. Then a game called Barrel of Monkey's came out. It was perfect for travelling as it didn't take up any room to speak of and we all seemed to have a lot of fun with it so it lived on the boat. While at a friends house today, she gave me Barrel of Monkey's to bring home for the kids to play with. I am sure they are going to have a lot of fun with it! I have a lot of boating stories in my head...there were some good times and some not so good the time we came upon really dense fog and my Dad sent my girlfriend and I to the bow to watch for stuff in the water ....kind of boring for awhile until all of a sudden we noticed through the fog that we were almost about to hit an island....luckily we saw it in time to reverse. And another time we were fishing near Robert's Bank Super Port and there was a car top boat not too far away also fishing. A whale surfaced within feet of the car top boat and came very close to capsizing it....however, the guys fishing in the boat had no idea how close they came to being in the water as they had their backs to the whale.... And then there was the time the boat had been in Vancouver to be winterized and on a nice clear day, a friend took us into town to bring her back. We drove all over to check the water and it was clear as ice. So we boarded and headed for home. There comes a point on a voyage where you reach what they call "the point of no return"...which in boating language it meant it was just as far to go back as it was to go forward. Shortly after we reached that point, we observed up ahead of us a wall of was like steering into a tidal wave. And of course then we hit it....we later found out it was a following sea. We had to go forward at that point but the sea was wicked. I had a friend on board who became very sea sick and went to the forward bunks to lay down. Well, after we had been riding the waves for awhile, all of a sudden there was smoke coming from the engine room. the sea was so rough, my Mom couldn't steer it as she wasn't strong enough to keep us on coarse and keep us from capsizing so my dad couldn't go and check why there was smoke coming from the engine room. We had a radio telephone and for some reason, the only voice that carried over the air waves was mine so I called in a May Day to the marine operator. They said we should veer over and tie up to the super port. We headed over there but the pilings were huge, meant for tankers and not 40 foot boats and we couldn't even get close to it as it is concrete and the sea would have crushed us into it. So I called Vancouver Marine operator again and I can still hear her voice as she said "Nauti Gal IV are you still in distress" and I yelled "yes". She said the hovercraft was on it's way. Now, of course, by sending us to the Super port we were in the way of the BC ferry so the marine operator called the ferry terminal and told them to hold all the ferries until they could get to us. They did thank goodness. About this time my Mom decided if search and rescue was coming we should at least be wearing life jackets so she went down to the forward cabin where my friend was still half dead being sea sick and she started rooting through the hatch to get out life jackets and it seemed like every one she came across was a child size so she was throwing them onto the bunks willy nilly and searching for adult ones. She finally found 4 of them and she left the cabin and shut the door. My friend later told us that he thought we were abandoning ship and leaving him behind because he was seasick. It became the biggest joke for years. We had never had this friend on the boat with us before and he swore before we left he never got seasick. I guess he was just showing off because a friend of ours whose boat he did go on regularly later told us this guy got sick every time he went near a boat...LOL...In any case, the search and rescue folks arrived. They guided us into the ferry terminal. My Mom and I were on deck with the lines and fenders and she yelled to me" had you lived one more month, you would have been 16"....The date was November 22 and my 16th birthday would have been and was December 22. We eventually were tied up with lines between the ferry docks...the captain of the ferry actually threw down lines to us and the hovercraft took lines from the other side and tied us to pillars so we were somehow in the middle in open water but tied between pillars without actually touching anything. And there we stayed until the next day. The ferry was finally allowed to leave the port and although most of the food had been taken off the boat when it went into the city to be winterized, my Mom had brought a roast along to cook on the way home for dinner that night when we got home so she cooked the roast for us and managed to find a can of potato's and a can of corn in one of the cupboards so we didn't starve. Once the boat was secured, my Dad went down to the engine room and found the smoke that was coming from there was from water we had been taking on faster than the bilge pumps could clear out and it was hitting the hot engine parts and that was where the smoke had come from. We weren't on fire which was what had been originally feared.... I have a lot of boating stories...maybe I will share more another time..... There is a picture of the Nauti Gal IV around here somewhere. I will try and remember to look for it and post it at some point. Oh...and one more interesting thing about that trip, we later found out that a few days earlier the same thing had happened to another boat that we sometimes travelled with. It was a 50 foot yacht and they ended up suspended between the pilings at the ferry terminal too and then the week after our adventure, they were bringing dredging equipment to Crescent Beach which was our home port (they did this every couple of years as the channel through to the marina was only 30 feet wide at low tide and sand bars were everywhere so they would dredge it out to keep us all off of the sandbars (another story for another time...LOL). Anyways, the dredging barge ended up suspended to the exact same pillars over night too.... I am sure the search and rescue folks were glad when we were all tied up in our boathouses in our home port for the winter...LOL

1 comment:

The Quintessential Magpie said...

What a story! My much older sister's family lived in Louisiana for many years, and they had a large sailboat (about the size of yours) that they sailed from a home port on the Mississippi Gulf Coast to Florida every summer. I loved to sail with them, but my trips were usually day trips into the Gulf when we would go to visit them. I also sailed with an old boyfriend on his family's sailboat on an inland waterway. My dad opted to buy a ski boat because I loved to ski, but Daddy always longed to sail as he did in his youth. I hope he gets that opportunity in Heaven.

Is it Crescent Beach as in Crescent Beach, FL? I was just there recently. A friend picked up a coquina rock from the beach.

Loved reading your story.