Friday, October 1, 2010

A Salute to Our Captain

The SnowHawke is returned to her berth in Olympia and our 2010 season has ended. We safely traveled over 3000 adventure- filled nautical miles between May and September and it is timely to salute our Captain for a journey well skippered.

Early in the season, our friend, Heidi, asked Doug how many engines he had on the boat. For a moment he looked a bit perplexed and said, "Do you mean engines or motors?" After a brief clarification of the difference between an engine and a motor, Heidi answered, "Both!" And we counted. At first count we tallied up 19 systems that had an engine or a motor. To maintain and troubleshot each of those systems requires a variety of skills all of which Captain Doug possesses. He continually monitors all systems. What is this 5 degree increase in temperature on the starboard engine really telling me? Why would the generator pressure suddenly drop? Does the dinghy engine sound a bit rough to you? And so he goes day by day. And when he encounters a problem that he can not figure out, he knows who to call. If it is an engine problem, he has Erath in his speed dial. If it is the micro-commander that would be Ted. The Onan technical support people know his name and love to have him call because he understands what they are telling him. Captain Doug maintains systems and knows where to get expert help when he needs it.

When we decided to boat, Doug enrolled in a Captain's course and obtained his Coast Guard Captain's certification. Many of the skills he was taught seemed a bit archaic to me. Do you really need to be able to plot set and drift when you have that brand new Garmin system on board? Do you really need those paper charts when you have electronic charts? I thought not until we headed out of Blunden Harbour to pick up Shari and Ryan for a week on the boat with us. The Garmin didn't light up. Checked the connections. Moved it to the downstairs port. Called Garmin. Oh, no, the little Garmin brain had fried itself. The only good news was that the warranty wasn't up for two days. But that did not get us 17 nautical miles across the Queen Charlotte Strait to Port McNeill in the fog. All of the sudden the Captain's ability to plot a course of compass headings was mighty important.

Our Garmin dealer over-nighted us a new system which Shari and Ryan brought up. A kind boater who was flying out mailed our system to Garmin and there was hardly a blip on the radar screen. Once again our Captain came through.

The more we boat, the more thankful I am that our Captain can keep me and our guests safe and fishing. Hats off to Doug!