Smoke On The Water

Source: Not us. Could have been us.

After 2 glorious days at Isla Los Islotes diving, playing and interacting with the seals we reluctantly headed back towards town. It was a must – we were out of tortillas and getting dangerously low on Capt Morgan.

After 2 hours of motoring (because, of course once again the winds were working against us) the motor started spinning madly out of control. And the smoke! Oh, the smoke coming out from under the boat! Lucky for us, Leo was an engine builder. His instinct was immediate as he quickly turned the key and ordered me to pull on the kill engine switch.

Unluckily for us, that was useless. The smoke was increasing. The motor’s screams were blaring and it sounded like something was going to blow. Or as we say in racing “the thing kicked a rod” We did not want THAT to happen.

He pulled off the cover to unveil even more screams since the walls were no longer acting as muffler to the motor’s complaints. Everything he pulled, shoved, and attempted had zero results. It kept screaming and spinning wildly out of control. And the smoke! Have I mentioned the smoke?

Sidenote: Leo has taken up the habit of sailing naked. No clothes. Nada. Zip. Full commando. In the wild. His new objective: to be sans tan lines. He’s squatting on the floor, butt naked, with his johnson oh so perilously close to a motor on the fringe of blowing up. Normally he ignores everything when he’s working in a climatic situation where an engine is concerned. But this time he took a pause to run and grab a pair of shorts.

I was getting constant commands “Keep an eye out for rocks and other boats!” as we were drifting out of control and “Pull the kill engine switch again!”

Then the light came on and he remembered on old Volkswagen he once owned that needed to be stalled to stop the motor. The situation was very reminiscent of this one. Only problem is – how do you stall a boat without jumping underneath it to stop the prop without having it chop your head off? Or worse yet, cut off your johnson? He grabbed a rag and shoved it in the air intake, and finally part of the nightmare was over. Silence. Smoke and nasty burned motor smell, but silence.

He dumped quarts and quarts of oil in the motor and it fired up. Normally. But that thing puked up so much oil as it was trying to destroy itself and it all ended up in our bilge pump on the verge of being pumped out in the sea. I had images of my beloved Squeaky (our adopted seal pup) and could not let that happened.

I scavenged the boat for any empty container I could find (sacrificed myself in finishing off whatever was nearly empty: orange juice, water, wine, tequila – I drank everything and anything!) and filled every container on hand. I gathered as much as 3 gallons of oil mixed with diesel mixed with water! Some traces were left, but very little oil remained.

Squeaky can live happily ever after…


7 thoughts on “Smoke On The Water”

  1. That is crazy! I'm glad you're okay.

    Is it weird that my first reaction was OH NO THE BOAT IS BROKEN and my second one was NO TAN LINES? HIS JOHNSON WILL BURN!!!


  2. LOL. Holy crap, the visions in my head of this incident is hilarious. Naked Captain, billowing smoke, frantic emotions, low on booze… this is a book in the making.


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