Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Grandpa's Boat

The day that Grandpa bought his boat, Lachlan got to go with.  He drove up with them to Vancouver Washington where the boat was and drove the boat, by water, to the Scapoose Bay where it now resides. Since that day Lachlan would randomly say "Let's talk about Grandpa's boat."  Okay Lachlan, lets.  He goes on to tell me the color, the size and that it goes really super fast.

Lachlan is the only one in our family that has seen the boat thus far.  So when the weekend got here and we didn't have anything marked on the calendar I asked Jeff how he felt about going up to the boat and spending the night on it.  I told Grandma D about my thought and she talked to Captain Grandpa Neil to see if they would be able to go.  They were free, so the last minute plans began to form.  All of us headed up Saturday early afternoon.  We took the dingy out in the nature reserve by where the boat is docked.  This was Lachlan's first time fishing.  Of course I had to get the camera and told Jeff to stay close to the docks for just a while.  Love these pictures. 




First fishing, on the dingy.


Grandpa got a fishing pole all set up for Peter as well and Peter fished for his first time out the back of the boat.

Not at all happy about this new endeavor.

After the boys were done fishing all four of us, Jeff, Lachlan, Peter and I took the dingy our just for a stroll.  Grandpa stayed and worked on the shifter, which was having some issues.  When we got back he had it fixed, with some daylight left to burn, so we decided to take it out for a spin.  Went down to St. Helens and back.




"Grandpa go slower.  Grandpa go faster."

St. Helens City Hall
St. Helens Marina gas and market.
The boys were a little excited and wound up.  It took them a while to get to sleep.  We were going to try to have both boys in the same bed up front in the bow with me.  But it was apparent that wasn't going to work.  So Lachlan squeezed in to the little table top bed with Jeff.  But it worked.

Morning came fast, but not fast enough, as I needed to use the restroom for hours.  I didn't want to wake everyone in the boat.  But as soon as a woke up again and the sun was up I hopped out and made my way to the bathrooms on the docks.  When you get off the boat you get out on one side and so the whole boat rocks.  Hard not to be noticed.  When I got back the other adults were stirring.  Surprisingly the children were still asleep.  I crawled in next to Peter to lay there for a while.  Next Jeff got up and piled a bunch of blankets and pillows in his place as it was a long drop down if Lachlan rolled out of bed.  So I laid and listened in case I heard him stir.  I heard movement and parted the curtains to see if it was Lachlan.  At that same moment I heard a thud.  He literally woke up and leaped out of bed.  I think he was a little excited to wake up ON the boat.  Next words out of his mouth "uh um can I fish?"

Sure, why not?  So in his pajamas and a life jacket with his hair still sticking straight up and no shoes on sat on his knees on the back bench seat and fished.  Peter woke soon after and went straight to fishing.  Only one slight difference.  Peter didn't actually have a hook.  Just a bobber and wiggly worm thing.  This was much safer for all of those involved.

Love his, I just woke up, look.
This is the I just woke up look combined with complete happiness.


Reeling it in.



Grandpa and I started talking about what to do next.  He said that there was a restaurant in St. Helens we could go to for breakfast.  I have always thought it would be fun to take a boat to town.  We sent the boys down below to eat a bit of cereal and to start getting dressed.  We all took our turn getting ready for the day, some at the docks and some on the way.

It was a beautiful ride on the water to St. Helens.  We docked on the public docks that they have right outside their city hall.  We walked a block or so into town and found a restaurant for breakfast.  We could still see the water from our table.  The kids are not that great at sitting still so as soon as they were done eating and Grandpa and I were also done we took off and left Jeff and Grandma to pay the bill and finish eating.  Well Jeff anyhow, he enjoyed a nice crab cake Benedict. 

When the boys, Grandpa and I were walking back to the docks we heard a loud horn.  Sounded like it was coming from a big ship.  I told the boys, run!  Lets go see what it is.  Holding onto their hands we ran the half block to get around the corner to see what was making that noise.  To our surprise it was a Navy vessel.  HUGE ship.  We kept running to get closer, through the park to the fence right on the edge of the water.  You could feel the rumbling from the ship through your feet and this thing was in the water!  So crazy and super cool.  I didn't have my camera, sigh, so no pictures.

Next we hopped back on board.  Jeff and Grandpa used St. Helens' services to dump the septic.  Grandma and I got the easy part of playing with the boys.  I was getting a little sleepy and was given the opportunity for a little snooze in the bow bed.  When I woke both of the boys were looking a little sleepy but didn't want to give in.  We were cruising up the Multnomah Channel.  Grandpa was taking us to an island to explore.  But just as we were getting there, Lachlan wrapped in a blanket and staring at the wake tight in Grandma's arms just collapsed from exhaustion.  So we carried him down to bed.

Peter was next but really putting up a good fight.  Finally I brought him down to the other bed that is a little cubby right under where Grandpa drives the boat.  We cuddled up and he fell asleep.  Now we just wait until they wake up, which didn't take long.  Lachlan woke up soon after I got Peter to sleep.  He headed up top to fish.  Grandpa was positioning us by the rivers edge to cast amongst the trees and rocks.  But the fish weren't hungry for worms.

It was early afternoon and we decided to start heading back to the docks.  Both my parents and Jeff and I were hoping to get back home by early evening because we had plans.  Off we went when a whole new adventure began.  I was sitting on the back bench with Lachlan when I started smelling something.  I thought, ah no, it's nothing I am sure.  The smell started getting stronger and then I saw smoke/steam coming out of the exhaust on the side of the boat.  "Dad, there is smoke coming out of the exhaust on the side."  He slowed the boat and then all of a sudden smoke/steam started coming out in full force.  Out of the engine compartment which Lachlan and I were sitting right over, out of the sides and everywhere.  All I heard was "fire" and started moving Lachlan and I into the cabin and putting the life jacket on me, it was already on Lachlan.  The bow access is through a little vent window thing from the bow bed so that's why I was moving that direction.  Poor Grandma was asleep in the bow and was wondering what the heck was going on when we came running down.  Peter, still sound asleep in the cubby which shares a wall with the engine compartment.  Still not convinced it was fire, I saw no flames, I peaked in on Peter.   I really didn't want to wake him, but if we were going to jump ship he needed his jacket on.  With Lachlan up front in the bow I grabbed Peter, all he wanted was juice.  Poor guy, had not idea why I was standing him up putting a life jacket on.  Next thing I remember hearing is "it's just steam."  Phew, no fire.  But the cabin was now filling up with this steam/antifreeze and we couldn't breathe.  I brought the boys back up on deck as Grandpa dropped anchor.  The cover, which is normally super nice to protect us from the rain, was keeping all of these fumes in.  So I unzipped a section so we could breath.  It dissipated quickly.  When the fumes were all aired out we went back into the cabin so that Grandpa could lift the floor piece up to get to the engine.

My Dad is a mechanic and just recently bought this boat.  He has been slowly working through all the systems and has been surprised how poorly some things were put together.  Especially since it was all done by professionals.  The engine was one thing that looked great and had just recently been worked on before he purchased it.  My Dad was puzzled and rightly so, quite upset.  I think he was most upset about putting the boys in danger, but he didn't.  You just can't predict some things.  You can't.  Things breaking, on my Dads watch, is probably one of the things he hates the most.  He is very good at maintenance and trying to fix things before they break.  So this was all tough for my Dad to take in.  It killed me to see.  Of course I wanted to help, but I quickly realized, asking a bunch of questions of which he does not know the answer too is probably not helpful.  I have to say though, my Dad has the patience of a saint.  He didn't get short with anyone even though he was clearly frustrated/sad/angry.

Luckily, we were upstream from our destination.  So we could float back to where we dock, well sort of.  We could float back to the head of the Scapoose Bay and then limp our way back.  It didn't take long for him to figure out that it was a cooling issue and that it had over heated which was the cause of all the steam. We started dumping water on the engine to cool it off, but it really wasn't cooling off fast.  When we were drifting Dad got out the manual and figured out the problem.  The pump that brings in water from the river and pumps it through the engine to keep it cool, had gone out.  Next he was able to find the tube that we could pour water down to get the water where it needs to be to cool it down.  I stood on the swimming deck and scooped water with the coffee percolator and he dumped it down the tube.  It started to cool off.  When we started it back up it got hot again fast.  But we could use it to get away from logs or the rivers edge.  We floated and floated and floated.  Then a sailboat came close and was doing circles testing out his compass.  Started talking to them a bit and told them of our situation.  They continued to practice and then when they were all done asked if they could give us a tow.  We were happy to accept.  They took us down the channel and up into the bay a bit but we had them stop for fear they would hit ground.  We knew it got shallow and sailboats need a lot more water than we do.  We thought we could limp the rest of the way in.  Which we could have done, but as we were stopped cooling off the engine, with steam billowing out one of the three boats coming in asked if they could tow us.  Again we gladly accepted.  They took us right to the end of our dock.  We said thank you over and over again and they said "ah, just another day at the river."

Not just another day for us, that's for sure.  Especially not for my Dad, this was really a not cool experience for him.  For us it just added to the story.  We were wondering if this would affect Lachlan and Peter's desire to return to the boat.  However, that night at dinner Lachlan asked that Jesus would let him go to the boat again, and asked that he would teach him to fish, that he could fish for a long, long time and catch a fish.  So I think that their desire has not been altered at all.  This morning Peter woke up at 5:40 am saying "Grandpa's boat, Grandpa's boat, Grandpa's boat" over and over and over again.

Needless to say, during this whole ordeal I was not worrying about getting pictures.  So I only have the fun stuff in photos.  We already look back on the ordeal and shake our heads and laugh a bit.  It was scary for a moment, but we all reacted appropriately.  Then it was just a bit boring.  It was a longer day than we anticipated.  Didn't seem to faze the boys at all. A story to tell, that's for sure. 

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