Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Oh Sh** Moments

These are the moments where our hearts skip a beat, the moments when we realize we're in a little deeper than we liked or when we've bitten off more than we can chew.  This list will most certainly grow and change and we continue to cruise - but for now, here it is! Hopefully you can learn a thing or two from our mistakes, or - at the very least - laugh at our expense.  Enjoy!

1)  Our first overnight of the trip when we got caught, totally unprepared, in a gale that lasted over 12 hours. 
Lesson Learned?  Pay close attention to the weather and make sure you can properly interpret a weather map.  This will greatly reduce your chances of getting caught like we were.  The lessons we learned during this storm, however, were critical.

2)  When we hit a rock in the Erie Canal. 
Lesson Learned?  Do not cut the corner.  That buoy is there for a reason.

3) When we stepped into water in our boat in Lake Erie.
Lesson Learned?  No matter how good of a bilge pump you have - it always pays to check the bilge and test the pump from time to time to make sure it's working.

4)  When we pulled into the fuel dock in Annapolis and realized we hadn’t reeled in our fishing line and discovered it was sufficiently wrapped around the prop. 
Lesson Learned?  Do not forget to reel in that line before you come into a dock/mooring/anchorage.

5)  When our engine transmission died. 
Lesson learned?  Your engine won't just keep running if you don't monitor it.  Have a mechanic walk you through the various parts of your engine and how to check them, the oils, the belt....etc. 

6) When we were pinned to a dock in Beaufort, South Carolina and managed to get off anyway (...by the skin of our teeth - this one still makes me shudder)
Lesson Learned?  Tides and their associated currents are real and they are dangerous.  If you are pinned to a dock, don't try to fight it - have a beer or take a walk and wait for slack tide.  The only reason we can tell this story is because we have a 53 hp engine.  No joke.

7)  When, in the Erie Canal, we flushed our toilet one too many times only to burst the top off of our holding tank and have the contents overflow into the locker and our bilge.
Lesson Learned?  Make sure you either a) can monitor the fullness of your holding tank or b) you know roughly how much waste it can hold.  When in doubt?  Pump it out!!

8) When, along the East Coast, we found ourselves in a Force 8 Gale with winds blowing a sustained 35 knots for hours. 
Lesson Learned?  The weather people lie.  If they tell you it's going to blow 15 knots, it might just blow 35 knots so it's always best to be prepared.  That - and the East Coast in November/December is gnarly!

9) When we realized the bottom of our dinghy was coming off.
Lesson Learned?  Invest in a decent dinghy (and outboard)!!!  This is the ONE area we completely overlooked and paid little attention to and we are suffering because of it (but, not for long - thanks to our new sponsor Island Water World!!).  Honestly, your dinghy is your freedom and we have been nothing but a slave to ours.

10) When, very early on, we realized during an overnight shakedown cruise (when our old engine surged and died) - that Scott had topped off our fuel tank with GASOLINE and not DIESEL.
Lesson Learned?  We were lucky.  We only topped off the tank with 5 gallons or so.  Much more and you can kill your engine.  Always double check that the attendant has handed you the fuel that you need (we always ask twice) and then smell it to be sure (diesel and gasoline smell different).

So, there you have it folks!  Our learning curve was steep, but looking at it in Top Ten form, it's not so bad, right?  


Brittany & Scott

Thank you to our avid follower and reader, Paul Ouellette for the inspiration for this post.  :)


Paula said...

Hitting a rock was the best one. :)

Deb said...

We've all been there and done that. The nice thing I've found about the cruising community is that they usually don't give you too hard a time about mistakes just for that reason. It's great that you're learning from the mistakes!

S/V Kintala

Paul Ouellette said...

Hey Brit...glad to see you liked my "Oh Shit" suggestion for the top 10 contest...why no credit ?? Cheers, P.

Windtraveler said...

I changed that for you Paul. :) thanks.

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