Sounds of Silence

Blue Wing is carried in the Travelift from the Work Yard to the water.

October 27 – 30, 2018.

SPLASH. This is what it is called when you move your boat from the hard (land) to water. Using the word “splash” to describe putting one’s boat in the water is perhaps a bit of a misnomer. Hearing a splash during this process is the exact opposite of what one wants to hear. Besides for the loud hum of the Travelift (the big contraption that ever so gently lowers your boat into the water) silence is absolute best.

After little over a week in the Indiantown work yard the Travelift did just that and gently, silently lowered our boat, Blue Wing, into the water, after which, the marina guys ever so gently pushed the boat out of the boat launch onto the dock where we tied up until we were ready to go. In past years after our ever so quiet splash we have headed out straight away, but this year we had work to do that needed to be done on the water so we rented a slip in the marina. This slip was a short spot along a dock that would require us to snug up rather close to the stern (back end) of another boat. So once we were splashed and while Greg was getting Blue Wing ready for her short motor to the other side of the marina, I walked over to our new dock space to tell our new neighbors we were coming over in a bit – well, that is if we get the boat started – lol, ha, ha, ha. Except, actually, I wasn’t really being funny. After 5 seasons sailing I don’t expect anything to start the first time, most especially our boat engine.

Back on the Blue Wing, Greg was ready to fire her up. I turned the key. CLICK. Now if starting one’s boat was called a “click” that would Really be a misnomer – because unlike the quiet of a splash, one wants to hear quiet the opposite when starting one’s boat – the loud obnoxious rumble of a diesel engine. But, remember, as I have already inferred, this silence was not a real big surprise. Greg took the engine cover off and dove into the problem while I reached into the depths of my memory trying to recall any of the many reasons the engine hadn’t started in the past, throwing out suggestions as Greg tried different things. All the while, I was also secretly working on the contingency plan. Actually I am always secretly working on some sort of hypothetical contingency plan way back somewhere in the recesses of my mind, but at times like this (when our abode/transportation fails) this planning gets a lot more real. Like the time our VW van, Great A’Tuin, broke down in the middle of nowhere Alabama and we spent a weekend in a motel waiting for a part to arrive. In between our morning walks and our nightly binge watching of Cspan, I was plotting our escape from this little slice of Alabama excitement just in case the expected part didn’t solve our problem. And good thing I did. Minutes after Greg told me the part was a failure we were hiking a mile up the road in time to catch the only bus out of there that day.

Back on Blue Wing, we had a little luck in that it was Friday. We had all weekend to figure out what was wrong with Blue Wing’s engine and get her moving before Monday morning when we would be in the way of other boats trying to launch.

Then Monday rolled around. CLICK. Blue Wing remained ever so silent. It was time to put the contingency plan into action.

We were going to tow Blue Wing. I rounded up a few volunteers to help on her deck and then we “splashed” the dinghy, Fever, into the water. Greg climbed into the dink, we tether it to Blue Wing’s bow (the front of the boat), and then I handed Greg the oars. “Oars?” you might ask, “Don’t you have an outboard engine for your dinghy?” Lol, ha, ha, ha – yes, we do – but, of course, remember what I said about boat engines back there at the end of paragraph 2? We only wanted to deal with one mute engine at a time.

Our friends on deck, Don and Tamar, helped keep Blue Wing from running into the other boats along the dock and helped guide Greg who, as per usual when he rows the dink solo, was facing opposite of the direction he was moving. It was a short, uneventful trip. Our dock neighbor, Bonnie, who I had spoken to 3 days earlier was there ready to catch some lines and help us tie up.

We spent the next couple of weeks buying parts for the engine. After the purchase and installing of just a few essential components – a new fuel pump, a new starter battery, new glow plugs, and finally a whole new starter – we tried again. BA BA BAA BAAA BAAARRROOOOM!


Ok, so this is where I was going to throw in the joke about being relieved that Greg wouldn’t have to row Blue Wing all the way to Mexico – lol, ha, ha, ha – but then plan completely changed. So here is where I am introducing you to a new bit to our blog… What is really happing right now, this very minute…

Right now, this very minute, I am sitting in a dentist’s office in Los Algodones, México. We did not sail here, we drove our van. After 3 months of working on our boat at Indiantown Marina, we hauled her out, put her back on the hard, packed up the van, and headed west. We were days from heading out on to the water, the only project we had left was to get our outboard engine for the dinghy started (See, I told you it wouldn’t start). It currently remains as silent as Blue Wing engine was when we splashed. I am not sure I can adequately describe all the reasons we did this. It just really felt like the right thing to do at the time. My next blog post will be about all the projects we worked on while we were in Indiantown, perhaps it will shed some light on the direction we headed.

* All pics are click to enlarge.
** Indicate pics taken by Ellen J.

She is ever so gentally, quietly lowered into the water.
Tamar pushes Blue Wing away from the dock. Greg is ready to row in the dinghy and Don helps on deck.
Leaving the dock and rounding the corner. **
Tamar keeps Blue Wing from hitting the boat on the corner.
Greg rows her across the marina.**
Our new dock is in sight. Our new neighbor, Bonnie, is ready for us to arrive.
Almost there.**
Don and Bonnie connect boat hooks and pull us in.
And we made it!**

8 thoughts on “Sounds of Silence

  1. Awww! Here I was, looking forward to another season of marine adventures and….

    Oh well! Be safe and fill us in on the landward adventures.


  2. The section on “right now, this very minute” is a really clever way to catch-up with what’s happened over the past several months, while also letting us know what you’re currently up to. Very smart!

    It’s hard to believe all of that happened back at the end of October. Where has the time gone?

    1. Glad you like “Right now, this very minute.” My goal this year is to catch up this blog and make it current! Time just slips away so fast.

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