Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Boat Owner


This week my son Jaime R. Hernández is my guest blogger. He tells a true story about adventures in boating.

What a day! Where to begin....
My friend Sandra's dad came over with his new chainsaw and cut up all the dead branches from the storm we had last month. I mowed the lawn and restrung his weed eater. Then we worked on the boat and got it going. So our next logical step was to take it out for a test run (keyword here is test). We picked up uncle Bruce and headed for the Wayne B Stevens boat ramp but on our way we decided to get sodas and made the impromptu decision to go to the Curtis Lee Johnson boat ramp off San Juan instead (this will be not so great choice later).
We put the boat in and fired up the engine, no issues, she purred. So we got underway on our "test" run. We were in a no wake zone for a bit and basically trolled to the first bridge. No issues, we were loving the breeze and our drinks. Three old guys on the water living it up. Soon after the first bridge we throttled up a third and worked on trimming out the boat. After the next bridge we turned North and headed towards downtown Jacksonville. At this point we full throttled and did some more trimming. It was a blast! So much fun, I forgot we were TESTING the engine...
Next two bridges were a railroad drawbridge and a busy road near Ortega drawbridge. They lifted the railroad bridge but kept down the one near Ortega because we were small enough that there was no need. We went under, jumped when the cars flew over the metal grate and then opened the throttle wide as we headed towards St Vincents.
It suddenly dawned on me that we were "testing" the engine. A sick feeling came over me so I throttled down and turned the boat about. I said we should head back to the dock. Everyone agreed...
On our way back as we approached the first bridge I had to do circles while the boat ahead of me stopped for the incoming boat. They looked unsure of themselves so I completely understand why the boat ahead of me stopped. After the boat passed, we both continued on our trek back. I kept my distance as to not make a huge wake for the smaller boat ahead.
As we approached the second bridge on our way back I noticed two ladies on paddleboards, one standing and one sitting, trying to traverse the across the river. So I throttled down to kill my wake. I wound up shutting down the engine. And then it happened...
We were dead in the water. I could not restart my engine. The engine temp was increasing. My initial reaction was an overheated engine. So we drifted to let the engine cool. I noticed the current had us, so I broke out the paddle and made my way to an upscale marina. My thought was that we could moor, troubleshoot the engine and get some help if need be.
I soon realized the battery was draining from our troubleshooting and trying to restart the engine. I noticed the sun going down. I researched and found the nearest boat ramps were the original one I set out to and the one we actually used. They were far far away.
So I called SeaTow. WOW are they expensive if you're not a member. $300 and hour and the closest boat was in Julington Creek. There went that idea...
My next thought? Start waving down inbound boaters. You can not imagine how many people would not turn their head in our direction as I waved my hands like a mad man. I could see them looking at my out the corners of their eyes. I was blown away! Over an hour of waving people down.
I see a smaller boat coming down the river, two guys looked like they had been fishing. I start my waving and the younger one turns his head and looks right at me. I holler out "is there ANY chance you could tow us to the San Juan dock?" but he couldn't understand me. He turned to the older fella and then turned back at me. He crawled forward on their boat towards me as to indicate they were going to approach us. As they got in conversation distance I restated my request for help. The older guy said he could take us to the Wayne B Stevens dock. I said THANK YOU LORD, I will take you up on that offer. We threw him the line, made it taut and tied it off to our bow. His boat was small but had just enough horses to pull us all the way. As we got close to the dock about a half hour later I asked them if they had Google Wallet. They both looked at me as if I was speaking Russian. I explained that I wanted to pay them some money for helping us out. I explained how many people had ignored us. They both waved us off and said absolutely not. It was the right thing to do. Yeah I got choked up...
Pete called Sandra  to come get me and drive me back to the Curtis Lee Johnson boat ramp. She asked what happened and after her dad explained she said "bless his heart, he has been trying to get that boat going forever" LOL But to tell you the truth, I actually felt blessed at that moment. The help of these two strangers, Sandra and her daughter dropping everything to come get me. Pete and Uncle Bruce having such an awesome attitude about the whole thing. Bruce said he would do it again in a heart beat. And I would also and you know what? I will. Only this time I will already be a SeaTow member so my tow is free ‪#‎lessonlearned‬

9 comments:

Patricia Gligor said...

Great post, Jaime! "Lesson learned" could be MY middle name and that probably applies to most people. We seem to learn the important lessons in life the hard way. The only thing that matters is that we learn them.
Your post reminded me of how many wonderful people there are in this world. Sure, we meet our share of "not so nice" people but it's heartwarming to know there are still people out there who are willing to lend a hand to a stranger.

Jaime Hernandez said...

Thank you for your kind comment. :D

Palmaltas said...

Jaime, my friend Diane Compagno wasn't able to post her comment so she gave it to me to post:
that was a great story. I have actually been in a similar situation many, many years ago with a friend. We also had trouble waving anyone down and I am sure many just did not notice us. Once someone finally did stop and toed us back to dock, we were SOOOO hot, tired, stressed and freaked out. We had no idea at that point if we were ever going to be seen or heard. Those who stopped to help were so kind and yes, like angels for sure. It is always good to know that people can be really wonderful and I try to remember that when I see others who need help even today so that their stress and frustration can be alleviated.

Jaime Hernandez said...

Ty Diane...

It's boating etiquette (and law in some places like Florida) that you have to render assistance to a boater. With that said, I was moored to a very posh marina and that might negate the mandatory rendering of assistance.

Luis Hernandez Bravo said...

Wonderful experience Jaime.. wich I had been there, these are the times that teach us and gets those "out-there" to face uncertenty together and builds a special bond.
May your travels on that boat, be always safe and fun. And the wind fill your sails.
Dad.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Jaime,
I'm glad two helpful people finally got you to a marina. I can only imagine the awful feeling of being dead in the water.

Jaime Hernandez said...

I was fine until I realized the sun was going down lol

Marja said...

My husband was a boater and he had a few instances he never forget. Thankfully, he was the type to help others out. I'm glad you got back safely, and God bless the two men who towed you. Excellent story. I felt like I was right there, with you.
Marja McGraw

Jaime Hernandez said...

Boating is a great way to build memories, even the not so great encounters make for great stories lol. Thank you for the compliment.