Monday, January 13, 2020

Way down on the Caloosahatchee

Time to bring my good readers up to date. We’ve been busy.

One more night at the marina allowed our mail to finally catch up with us. We also got some other business done at the public library at Big Pine. While we travel with two laptop computers, we don’t have a printer. Fortunately, libraries usually have them these days.

Our take out from the marina was a mess. The electric motor ran just enough to get us in front of the channel to the bay. Then it died and the tide sucked us into the channel. I was able to paddle the boat to the side where my lovely wife grabbed the mangroves. I jumped into the channel holding onto the bowline, doing my best “African Queen” impression.

I was figuring out how to get the boat back into the marina when some nice young Mexican fishermen agreed to tow me back. The rest of the loading was uneventful. We even made it to our campground on the Caloosahatchee in time.

Currently we are staying in our tent. While I was able to do what had to be done at the channel, my muscles were sore the next day. We’ve been taking it pretty easy since.

The problem with the electric motor turned out to be a corroded wire connection. That’s been fixed. I’m thinking a test on the river here will be in order. The plan is to motor into the wind. If it dies we can then sail back. Better to test it on a narrow body of water than in the middle of the ocean.

When it first failed I was tempted to toss the motor in the dumpster. That might still happen, depending on how well the test goes. Whatever happens, we aren’t going to go out there with a motor we can’t trust.



  1. You can also kedge. Take two anchors, each on separate lines.

    Drop one to stop moving. Then toss or using a canoe/paddleboard/swim/walk the other anchor in front of the current moring anchor.

    Pull boat to new anchor, lift up old anchor while passing, and then repeat with old anchor by moving it in front of the new anchor.

    Repeat, repeat, repeat.

    If the current isn't too bad, with muddy bottom you can use 2 3-5lb mushroom anchors. Sandy maybe 2 light Danforth style, or whatever you have (you should have 2-3 anchors, right?)

    I've helped do it in a 20' centerconsole. Two 10+yoa kids, one dad telling us what to do.

    And it worked for the USS Constitution back in the day, but of course they had whaleboats and lots of strong men.

    As to corroded wire, if there's one corroded connection, betcha there's another. Go over the motor real well, make sure all the connections are still good. Then test under load. Tie up boat on wharf/dock/using anchors, and fire up the motor, using the immovable object to hold you still. Check for wires that are warmer than others, as this can show you which are bad.

    Good luck.

    It's hard to actually kill a trolling motor. Mostly what goes bad are the wires going from battery to motor, and from the controller to the motor (including any stupid switches be they simple on/off or rotary.)

    1. While I got it running I don't trust it. We are going motor shopping. I was about to use the anchors but the nice fishermen came by.

  2. Let me know if you need assistance. I assume you're in Ft. Meyers now ?

    1. In that area, yes Thanks Spud.We are fine. Definitely need a better motor. Will be shopping for one.