Living on the water on the Australian Gold Coast it seemed a moral imperative to get a boat for beach hopping, fishing and just tooling around. The first step was determine my bargining position. With this information in hand i visited the local Rivera dealer who suggested i might check the local salvation army or other charity drop offs for vessels "More in my price range". About this time Jonathan Wells came for a visit and we thought he found the boat of my dreams just a couple blocks away. It was a little rough missing some minor details -like the motor and seats and walking on the floor was reminiscent of leaning against the bamboo separator at our local Chinese restaurant. Jonathan always the resourceful individual indicated this would make it just that much easier to turn it into a glass bottom boat-and we could even use the glass from the windshield (I told you he was resourceful!)
…Unfortunately the owner just wouldn't budge on the price and seemed insulted with our queries surrounding the title.
Long Story short after looking at half a dozen boats we finally found one in my price range…it wasn’t my first choice but my first choice was a boat that was owned by a elderly gentlemen that would only let us look at it while his son was gone as the son didn’t want it sold but father/owner needed the money for something. It sounded like an okay situation to me but the financial controller (my wife) wouldn’t okay the purchase.
The boat I did end up with was a 5.5 meter orange fiberglass dream with a fire breathing Johnson V4 and an advertised 140hp on tap oh baby! The “Sandpiper” was made by “Sportsman Craft” unfortunately a company that has been out of business for an unknown number of years after making an unknown number of boats –none of the local boat dealers has ever heard of it -not exactly reassuring as the company sticker listed the factory as being within 10 miles of where we were standing.
Equipped with a boat it was time to go fishing!! I went to the local tackle shop and asked the owner “What’s biting?” he indicating the marlin where –Yippee!! Marlin very cool!!! Asked him for some Marlin bait, hooks and directions to these marlin. He handed me a meat hook from the last Jason movie, pointed to the map at a location near New Zealand and handed me a fluorescent plastic mop with a Lexan top that had a price tag indicating is was $95. I inquired as to what else was biting that might be a little bit more economical he indicated the Tuna fishing was good with the Yellow Fin just moving in. I love tuna fish sandwiches!! So I asked about the cost of tuna bait which he indicated as only $20!! Very cool! The location was also much better -the tuna fish were only half way as far as the marlin! Everything was looking up!! The tuna bait turned out to be an 18 inch long model fish that has part of the plastic box it came in permanently affixed to it’s lower lip. Even better no matter what I had something to bring back.
Thursday night I filled the gas tank, launched the boat, tied it to the dock in front of the house, set the alarm for 5:00am and went to bed. At 5:00am the alarm goes off and I started getting ready!! At which point my wife asks me “What the hell are you doing?”. “Fishing” I replied “Wanna go?”. She looks at me agog and says “you can’t possibly think that boat is still floating –do you?”
Undaunted grab my tuna bait, fishing pole and left…to find my boat WAS STILL FLOATING! –yeah!!! Not in the same spot as my rope had broken during the night but the life jacket I was using as a cushion from the dock had got caught in the slats and had held it in place!
I am not certain if I got to the place where the tackle shop guy pointed to as it all looks pretty much the same but I caught two Tuna fish a long ways out there! –At this point I decided it was time to go home hmm pretty certain I had from the direction of “that” wave right over there and start heading home, after a while I could see the buildings/land and life couldn’t have been better!
At about this time my wife called & it was not a great connection but I think she was asking either “where was I” or asking if I had signed some insurance papers. In either case I couldn’t chat because my Johnson decided that would be an ideal time to stop it’s reassuring throbbing! Doh, I hate it when that happens!! Sitting there wondering what’s wrong with my motor and if my tuna would be as good as at the Sushi shop after sitting in the sun for the last two hours I noticed the buildings on the horizon seem to be sinking-uh oh! So I throw out my 10lb anchor and all 200ft of rope I had, I don’t think it did much good but I had to try something to keep me from drifting to Tahiti! While getting out the anchor I noticed an interesting fact – my once full gas tank was ominously empty. I know everybody reading this is thinking “Cell phone!!!!” Unfortunately the previous boat owner, the guy at the tackle shop, the kid at the gas station and the large sign leaving the bay all indicated large fines were in place to encourage people to not run out of gasoline. About this time two guys came from area I had been fishing toward where I wanted to go! I took off my shirt waving it frantically when they came close I asked if they had any spare fuel.
Thank god I was in Australia! Not only did they give me a whole bunch of gas they also gave me one of their few full beers they had left! I indicated I was okay and we were off! Them for the several kilometers back to the bay & me for about 200ft or until I realized my anchor line was trying to mate with my propeller. 10 minutes later I have this straightened out and on my way again back into the bay next to all the surfer chicks- oh yeah I was styling in my orange machine!
I don’t know if it was my impromptu mixing of the two stroke gasoline, fighting the tide or dragging an anchor but my donated gasoline ran out much faster than expected and the bay was all the further i got. Luckily for me this time I was in the bay & less the 500 meters from shore so I called Pilar (my wife) and asked her to bring me 10 liters of gas to the end of the sea way near Sea World. 20 minutes later Michael Leworthy calls to let me know it would be just be him, Jackson and Michele for dinner that evening, after hanging up Andrew Parson’s calls asking if I knew what version of SQL 2005 went which version of VB Express. I didn’t know but we chatted for a while & as soon as I hang up David Lemphers calls asking about VSTS as soon as I hang up, Caroline Price calls asking if I would give her a reference (of course I would!) at which point I call my wife and she asks what the hell have I been doing; as she has been trying to call for the last hour!
She indicated I had also left the car without gas and gas card was in my wallet! Not certain how she got the car started/filled but soon thereafter she appeared on shore with a gas can! I give her the okay signal, held up my two tuna and wave her out to me…I am not certain if she indicated I was number one in her books for my catch –if so it was interesting choice of finger but in either case it didn’t appear she was going to deliver my gas. The swim to shore went very quickly; I thought it was due to the pictures in the local news paper of the sharks caught just off Sea World but on the return swim I was to find out it was the 3 knot tide returning all the bay water back to the ocean with me and my gas with it! After a MUCH longer swim I manage to grab the back of my boat wondering how the hell am I going to get into my orange wonder with my gas….really wish I had thought about that before jumping in! In either case, since I am typing this, you know me and the gasoline eventually made into my boat! –we even beat Pilar home and managed start our dinner for our dinner party and no 8 hour sun baked tuna wasn’t served.<g>