the Gulf Islands

Sidney Spit Marine Park, Sidney Island

Monday, October 18, 2010S.V. CAMBRIA

Scuba Dave gearing up.

Lance called this morning while I was onshore walking Sally to say that he had the part in hand, so David made arrangements for a berth with the marina and, a few minutes later, we were on our way.  Unlike the past two days it was cold, grey and forbidding – perhaps we should have taken that for a sign.

The entrance to the marine park is shallow and littered with crab pots, some of which are illegal (no name, phone number, licence number or using a line that's too long).  And yes, you guessed it, we snagged our first pot.  Well, second actually.  David was watching the depth so intently that he didn't see the small float.  I did.  But for some unknown reason I picked today to not be a back seat driver and point it out.   We ran over the float but, fortunately, it popped back up a little worse for wear from our prop.  The second one he saw and avoided but, because the line was too long and still floating underwater, it got caught in the rudder post and stayed there.

We tried everything we could while using the dinghy as a working platform – pushing the float with a boat hook, cutting what he could see of the line, duct taping a knife to the boat hook and trying to puncture the float so it would sink away – all to no avail.  Someone had to get into the water.  And we don't carry a wet suit aboard.  David called Lance and got information on divers in Sidney, but nobody could do anything without having the boat there.  We still had some maneuverability but moving while snagged wasn't a good option, so I drove the dinghy over to one of the other boats moored along with us and knocked on the hull.

As luck would have it Alan and his wife, Bet, had gear aboard and were happy to lend it to us.  I brought everything back to Cambria and David got dressed – no booties, no gloves and very, very cold water (50ºF) – and jumped in the water to see what he could do.  Meanwhile, Alan rowed over to have a look for himself.  The mask was leaking and David wasn't able to get close to the problem, so he and Alan went back to their boat where Alan then put on the suit (with the aid of a hot shower) and pulled out his scuba tank.

Back on Cambria, Alan got into the water with a hacksaw tied to his wrist and was able to saw the rope away from the rudder and release the float.   Apparently the line had wedged itself in between the rudder and stalk with a float on side and a knot on the other – it wasn't going anywhere.  It's always difficult to be on the receiving end of help – we're more comfortable giving it – but, as Alan said, “that's what boaters do.”  And we're so grateful that they do.

David took Alan back to his boat, said thank you again and good-bye.  Four and a half hours later, we were tied to the dock in Sidney – a two nautical mile trip that should have taken less than a half hour.

I took Sally for a walk while David plugged us in along with our two small electrical heaters. Lance arrived a little later and he and David changed out the compressor head and got the heater working again while I went up for a shower.   It was the first one I've had in over a week. Without the heater, we didn't have hot water and had been managing on sponge baths. Needless to say, it was the best shower I've had in months.  But poor David.   The machine ate his money and his was cold.

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