Friday, May 06, 2011

Stranded At Sea

A few weeks ago (w/e of 16th April) we made the trip down to Essex.  The plan was for me to get some work done on Eb, and for Bill and I to get out fishing. 

After a few beers on Friday night we devised a friendly wager, based on first fish caught and biggest fish caught.

We finally laid our head down for about 4 hours kip.  Surprisingly such little sleep was no problem, and we were fresh out of bed ready to head to Brightlingsea at 4am.

Since Bill bought Reel Grumpy last year we've long wanted to do proper session fishing with a real early start and it felt good to be out and about so early.  Its the sort of thing we did virtually every weekend when we were 18, and I guess that to us that's part of what fishing is all about.

Having reached Brightlingsea, we were out in the tender before 6am.  We weren't the only ones looking for  good days fishing!

The tide was pretty much at its lowest point, and negotiating our way out of the mooring gave us a few heart in mouth moments ... as you can see, the depthfinder was telling us there wasn't much water below us!

We found ourselves a suitable location to drop the lobster pot, and then made our way out to where we were hoping to get lucky.  Getting ready to cast out was a joy ... this was my first time to use my new reel!  It was my birthday present from Bill - thanks dude!

After getting everything set up, we got the kettle on.  You know when coffee granules get damp .... well that's all we had!  Its fair to say we enjoyed the most disgusting coffee known to man.  Bait was squid and/or herring.  With everything ready to go we got our baits out in the water.

The tide, the weather and slowly the fish all started to come to us.  I had a dogfish, and Bill started with a small Whiting followed by a few Dogfish.

As the fishing tailed off we raised anchor in search of a lucky spot.  By now the sun was out, and it was a gorgeous day!  We though there was no better place to be.  All changed within moments though.  With time ticking, and the tide disappearing, we decided to head back.  We'd had fun and it would still give us an evening with the womenfolk.  As we made our way to shore the buoy marking the lobster pot came into view - there was always a chance of lobster for tea!  But then Reel Grumpy stuttered ... and seconds later died. 

This wasn't the end of the world, Bill had joked on many a time that he had never refilled it, and we knew there was more diesel on board.  We checked the tank which was low, and so topped her up.  Turns out that the spare diesel was ancient and we had no idea if it would be good or not.  Bill hit the ignition button, the engine turned over ... but didn't even attempt to fire.  Within moments we had the engine cover up.

We then spent HOURS trying to prime the fuel system to get it going.  We even read the bloody manual!  We thought we knew what we were doing ... but were armed with just a 10mm socket and some needle nose pliers!  The photo above shows bill drawing a bottle of water up through a bucket to create the suction to pull the diesel through.  This is a tried and tested technique ... didn't work on Reel Grumpy though.

Eventually we had to admit defeat,and rang Bill's did to register our need for our "one free rescue".  We sat back, had a smoke, and figured we might as well through a bait in the sea!  After an hour or so Bill's Dad arrived, and with tools too!  Whilst I tried to get the fuel system primed Bill went to collect the lobster pot that had been taunting us of its location for the past hour or so.  This is how close we were.

This was the contents of the lobster pot.  Missing lobsters, but it did contain a cool little hermit crab!

Although still missing the 8mm we so desperately needed we played around for another hour or so but with no joy.  As well as the questionable diesel, we now guessed the batteries were getting too low to fire her up too. 

And so we tied the two boats together, and took a tow back to port.  Lesson learnt - NEVER run out of gas!

As we came into harbour the tide was once more DEAD LOW!  Having stopped for a natter with the locals it was determined we had no chance of getting back onto our mooring.  But after the mornings efforts Bill and I felt confident.  We went for it and thankfully got back OK.  Gary moored up, and were supposed to collect him.

With Reel Grumpy safely back on her spot, we jumped in the tender and fired up the two stroke outboard to go and collect Gary.  It just wasn't our day though, and halfway back the outboard coughed and stuttered into silence.  At least the tender has oars on board, and so our day ended like so.

1 comment:

Bill said...

Brilliant writeup mate, sums up the day perfectly.

The good news Is that I'm now a dab hand at bleeding the fuel system and have the right tools on board ;)