It was Sunday May 19th the day had finally arrived. I gathered a couple of my neighbors and good friends Rob, Mike, and, Pete to assist me in the first ever voyage of the Salty Dog. Mike unfortunately, was unable to make the voyage, however was able to assist in the launch of the vessel by using his truck which was much more capable than mine.
We still needed to test a few vitals of the boat, and I wanted to give her a good run as to test her abilities. I figured a 3 hour, 35 mile tour should be a decent test for the old girl, and little did I know just how right I was.
Well of course and just as expected, nothing was going to plan. After a few quick tests and trying to get the vessel running prior to taking her to the lake we find out that the ignition coil was defective. Should be an easy fix right? Nope, wrong.
With not much in the way of stores being open on a Sunday of a long weekend we had no choice but to start harvesting coils from other sources. We tried getting one off Mikes boat. It was the wrong size. We tried going to Mike’s shop. He had a brand new one there, It too was broken, we thought one might be over in Robs garage, it wasn’t. Canadian Tire was open, but they were sold out. Part source in Bellwville had what we needed AND, was open. Rob hopped on his Motorcycle and was off to get the part.
After a couple hours, Rob returned with the part. We got it installed quickly along with a couple sparkplugs and we were off to a nearby river to try and get the old girl started. A few tries, and SUCCESS, Salty Dog started, and actually sounded pretty good.
It was now after 2pm and getting late in the day, but I still had a bit of hope that we would still get Salty Dog launched this day.
Once in Deseronto, we launched old Salty Dog for the first time.
We gently lowered old Salty in the water and checked for leaks in the engine compartment below deck. So far so good. No water, “well, thats a good sign” I thought to myself as I let out a rather large sigh. Next was a test run around the Bay surrounding Deseronto. To the bridge, a few circles (testing the steering) and then back to the launch again.
My wife and Robs wife were standing on the dock when we returned. You would think this was because they came in support to see the launch right? Nope, it was because I was an idiot and forgot my keys for the car I left at our destination the night before so we could get back home once we got to the marina, and had to call my wife to come and drop them off to me before we left for our journey. LOL.
A good 15 minutes or so of looking around and last second adjustments and Salty Dog was good to go, she was all warmed up, one last check in the engine room and POOF, we found water . Wait what? Where did that water come from? It wasn’t much but enough that had me a little concerned lol. Well that’s what these tests are for right?
Now thinking (do I put her back on the trailer and pull her out of the water again?) “Hell’s no! “. (Lol) not for a dribble of water anyway. I call to my now “engineer” (Rob) who was directly beside me, a quick diagnosis of what it was? Tightened a loose hose clamp, and there was a very slow drip from a bolt on the housing, “PHEW”, (almost lost my Kool there), anyway no big deal. So we started off on our days journey. It was now 330pm and we had a 3 to 4 hour tour ahead of us.
Just as were were getting started a coworker Erin, messaged me asking how the voyage was going? “We were just starting” I told her. and since Mike wasn’t able to make the trip I had an extra spot so I offered Erin a spot aboard, and we picked her up on route 10 miles ahead of our starting spot at the public launch over at the Glenora Ferry docks. A quick stop to let Erin Aboard and we continued on our journey.
At this point the vessel was running very smoothly. I had noticed once we tried getting the boat on plane, she seemed a tad sluggish but I chocked that up to some old gas and full tanks of fuel along with a 4 man crew now making the vessel quite heavy. Anyway I didn’t pay much attention to that at this point.
After about an hour of slowly cruising at about 8 knots east in adolphus Reach towards the Gap. (The Gap is an opening in the Bay Of Quinte, between Picton County and Amerst Island, that allows access to Lake Ontario.) I thought it a good idea to take a couple pictures of the group. So I stopped the boat and positioned us to what I thought would be a good photo. Lined the gang on the back deck and as I was about to take the shot, everyone was leaning on the back rail and , SNAP. The rail gave way and all three passengers fell backwards into the lake. Rob did a backwards summersalt hitting his back off the swim platforms ladder, Erin’s legs and hands trying desperately to cling onto the side of the boat and not fall into the freezing 54° water, well she couldn’t hold on for long and (SPLASH) into the lake she went. And Pete fell backwards breaking our flag pole and landing right onto the swim platform. Peter really didn’t get too wet.
I quickly went and turned the engine off as everyone was right around the prop the I went to see if everyone was ok. I could reach Erin who was gasping for air, so I grabbed her arm and pulled her up on the swim deck Pete was already in the boat and then I went to give rob a hand but he was half way up on the platform already Pete was busy trying to salvage the broke handrail LOL. Everyone was safe and so I figured now was a great time for a photo OP, not really the one I was looking for originally, but this will do nicely LOL
After a couple moments to make sure everyone was ok and to stop laughing uncontrollably at the situation we got everyone out of their wet clothing and into dry ones. Ok now it’s time to just get to our destination I think.
I go to start the motor back up, and nothing. Now were dead in the water. A soaking wet and shaking cold Rob was quick to have a look at the motor we used ether to get the motor started, something I never want to do but it was necessary to just get going at this point, once she started we were on the road, or water I guess, once again. I got the boat up on plane, and this time and cruised at a cool 30mph on the way to our destination to Waupoose Marina.
Now 730 PM and just pulling into the marina we pulled up to my slip and there is a nice 35 foot cruiser beside where I need to park. No problem. I pull up so I could back into the slip and when I try going into reverse, nothing, she quit on me again. I tried to start her, and nothing again. Rob once again on his belly almost hanging upside Down took only seconds to get her going once again. And we backed into the slip, shut her down, tied her off and the inaugural trip had come to an end.
So I guess she’s not perfect, but that’s to be expected of a 1979 boat I guess. So looking back on this Inaugural voyage.
A bit of a rough start I know, Some forgotten keys, a broken rail, a missing flag pole, a motor that needs some TLC, there is a very slow drip into the engine compartment that I must fix ASAP, A trip that should have been a total of 5 hours door to door ended up being 11.5hrs, and to top it all off, I only dropped 3 out of 3 passengers into the lake on the first trip out. (SIGH) I now have some fixing to do but all in all it was an adventure and a memory of a life time LOL this is exactly what Salty Dog was meant to do. (Create Memmories) now let’s hope the next trip is a bit less memorable lol.