Proud Moments

When you think of being proud, most people think in terms of being proud of their children or grandchildren. If you are a teacher, there are many proud moments with “your kids”. I don’t tend to be proud of myself. I can see good work in others but that doesn’t really translate internally. Others will say they are proud of me, but I tend to fluff that off. That changed today.

We left Nashville yesterday heading back to Green Turtle Bay. Our first stop was Clarksville where we were staying for two nights so we could explore the town. I was in a terrific mood. Good night sleep. Woke up pain free. It was a bright glorious day with blue skies and fluffy clouds. We had about a five hour cruise ahead of us and the water was smooth as glass. We had one lock but we’d been through on our way to Nashville so we knew what to expect. There was virtually no commercial traffic on this route and it was Monday, meaning no pleasure crafts to speak of.

I was deep in the last third of a very good novel when Rick shattered the pleasurable day. He started, “I don’t want you to freak out.” I stopped reading and looked up. He continued, “I had to shut off the starboard engine; it was running hot. So until I can get down there to check it out, we have to run on one engine. “

He further relayed that he thought he needed to add fluids. They were fine when he checked this morning, so we either had a leak or needed a new impeller. Then the other shoe dropped. “So I need you to take the wheel while I check it out.”

Negotiations began immediately. He offered up a stretch of river that was fairly straight. There was a bridge, so I countered we make the switch after the bridge and we slow way down. I cleared the hatch space to the engine room and opened it to save precious time at the wheel alone. A speedboat went flying by requiring us to turn into the wake right before the swap. I looked at him. “They’re already long gone,” he assured me. Then he promised it would be only a minute and I started counting the seconds.

It took him only 38 seconds. But that was because he needed a stick from our home improvement pile. Back down, he checked the fluid using the stick. It was down since morning. He set out all the “tools” I’d need to add the fluid and took the wheel back.

Access to the starboard engine was somehow easier than when I performed the same task on the port months ago. I don’t know if it was because I was a lefty or because I was familiar with the process. Or maybe because I was in better shape to crawl around. At any rate, I got the job done quickly with no spillage.

I came face-to-face with the pup as I crawled out the hole. Banjo doesn’t go below the aft deck while underway. The noise is scary to him. He frets, too, whenever Rick goes into the engine compartment, his little tongue flying through the air. (His self-calming involves licking. He used to lick his paws raw. We broke him of that but now he licks air. Occasionally I can divert his attention with a chew stick.)

Banjo hates when Rick goes "down under".
Banjo hates when Rick goes “down under”.

When I go downstairs to make lunch, he’ll peer down the stairs to keep an eye on me, but never ventures. Today was a first. Worry overtook fear and he stood vigil until he saw me emerge, then raced up top.

We spent the rest of the trip on one engine, using the hot one only for maneuvering in the lock and to dock. Once in for the night, Rick confirmed it was the impeller that needed replacement.

The port impeller kept us moving even though it was falling apart. On the right is what's left of the starboard one.
The port impeller kept us moving even though it was falling apart. On the right is what’s left of the starboard one.

They had been replaced not long ago, but speculation was the winter storage dried it out. Luckily, the last time this happened, we stocked up on spare parts. Whiz, bang, boom (okay, it was more like clunk, sweat trickle, exasperated sigh), Rick replaced them on both engines. Apparently the port engine was just as bad, so we could have been stranded. On the river. With nothing in sight but trees and water.

Its hot work down there!
Its hot work down there!
Definitely not a walk in engine room.
Definitely not a walk in engine room.

This morning as I reflected on the previous day’s events, I realized not only did I steer the beast and add the fluid (I had, after all, done that before), but I hadn’t thrown my body into panic mode. There were no tears afterward. I didn’t break out in a heavy sweat, palms sticking to the wheel, mopping my brow with the back of my hand. No, I wasn’t pleased but I wasn’t freaked out. The actual acts weren’t proud moments; but my reaction to them? Yeah.

So, I’m proud of Rick for handling the engine trouble with so much riding on those engine and I’m proud of Banjo for facing his belowdeck fears. Silly as it is, I’m also proud of myself. In the past I would have deemed yesterday a catastrophe but this time around I took it in stride.

1 thought on “Proud Moments”

  1. You both need to be proud. When you took possession of your floating home neither of you had the experience of operating and maintaining your huge boat with two large Diesel engines, unique plumbing, navigational systems etc. etc.
    You both undertook a learning process, reading manuals, joining a group with sailing experience to tap into their knowledge.
    Your boat is not new so you basically remodeled it from stem to stern. Then what you should be most proud of; you stuck out sailing and learning as you sailed through locks, getting docked and tied up into impossibly small spaces. You learned by experiencing it. You struck out into the unknown bravely following your dream.
    You will never have to say what if, or have regrets that you didn’t have the courage to go after it.

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