It was a long time coming, but this past weekend I finally had the boat out on the water again. It turned into a weekend’s worth of boating actually, as I had “Sea Dreams” out both Saturday and Sunday. Sunday Winnie and one of her friends went with us and we did a bit of fishing.
I just re-registered the boat here in Virginia, receiving the registration sticker and numbers two weeks ago. So the previous weekend I put on the new numbers, cleaned Sea Dreams up a bit and made sure all the equipment was still usable after the move and long winter.
I’ve been looking around for a Yamaha-certified outboard motor shop, but so far haven’t found one. As much as I normally like to have the motor serviced at the start of each season by a certified mechanic, I also didn’t want to spend all summer looking for one here. I also like to put on a coat of marine-grade Teflon polish at the start of each season to help keep the boat cleaner. But my cleaning stuff is still packed away as we finish repairs on the garage.
Saturday, Winnie had to work and I really needed to get back out on the water. I drove her to work, came home, hitched up the boat and left. I had a vague set of directions to a nearby state park where I could launch close by the house. I’d tested the motor in the driveway (seriously impressing the neighbors) and it sounded pretty good, but there’s really only one good way to test a boat motor. I figured if I broke down on the water, at least I’d be drifting around alone and not have to listen to someone complaining at me!
The park, Leesylvania State Park, turned out to be about four miles from the house and an easy tow. There was a bass-fishing tournament Saturday so the launch area was a bit busy. No problem, I dropped Sea Dreams in the water, parked the truck, and got the boat out. Ran her up and down the Potomac river a bit, got myself oriented on the river charts I’d picked up, and did a bit of exploring. The water was rough enough out in the middle of the river so I took it slow, steering back and forth with the chop.
On the opposite side, the Maryland side, I anchored, had lunch, and hung out in a protected bay. About 2:30 I headed back for the launch, only to discover it was weigh-in time for the bass tournament. There must have been fifty boats all waiting to come in, with nearly every berth filled. As I wasn’t really in a hurry, I tied up and walked around for a while. About 4:00 the crowd had thinned out enough I was able to put the boat back on the trailer and go home.
Sunday was Winnie’s day off and we had planned on going back out together. We had both gotten out fishing licenses Friday evening so we planned to do some fishing. Winnie really wanted to go crabbing, but we were going to launch in fresh water. Winnie had invited a co-worker, Mali, to come with us. By the time Mali showed up, about 10:00, the boat was ready and we left. Mali had never been on a boat before, and had never fished in open water. We got to the park, launched the boat, parked the truck, and motored off.
The water was more calm than the previous day, but still choppy enough that I had to take it slow across the river. We explored a bit and I really tried to head down to Chesapeake bay, into salt water, so we could go crabbing. The river was too rough so we just headed back across to the Maryland side again to a small bay. We located a small Maryland State park with a marina and pulled in for a rest stop, then anchored out for lunch and fishing. I also got a few shots of the two ladies hanging out on the boat.
“Fishing” turned out to be me fishing with Winnie and Mali chatting and encouraging me. Whatever. After a while we moved to a different spot, fished some more, and moved again. About 2:00 we headed back across the river, explored the Virginia side, and did a bit more fishing. Winnie decided to take a nap and I showed Mali how to use a fishing pole. Beginner’s luck showed itself as Mali caught the first (and only) fish of the day on her very first cast. Too small to keep, but I got her a picture as her trophy.
At 4:15 we headed back in, after my normal going-home full-power run which had the added advantage of getting Winnie and Mali, sitting up on the bow, sprayed a bit. At the pier Winnie proved to already be adept at handling lines and remembered how to help winch the boat back on the trailer.
Back at home, I did my usual cleaning out the boat while the ladies chatted again. All-in-all, it was a very nice weekend boating. I like to think it wa a good omen for the boating season ahead. And with going out twice this weekend, I’ve already matched the number of times I took the boat out the last summer we were in Mississippi.
As for this coming Memorial Day Weekend – There should be at least a day out on the water, squeezed between home improvement projects and cutting the grass.
Be safe everyone, and have a great memorial Day!