The little engine that couldn’t

We had so much snow this winter, after it filled my skiff, the weight broke the trailer axle. So, I ordered a new one, and got it on on Friday, after running back out to NAPA to be sure I was putting it together correctly. No directions came with it at all, and it was not at all like the axle I was replacing.

I finally get the boat launched, and the big motor starts right up and off we go. I thought I’d start the 3 hp outboard I bought for trolling and which has never run right after the first couple of hours I ran it. I changed out and flushed all the fuel, and it started right up at the house. When I got it to fire, it would start, and then die. Start and die. Just like it always did. So, I decided just to get on with my trip to our cabin, and the big motor started doing the same thing. It would start right up, but die when I gave it throttle. (and no, they both didn’t come from the same gas tank). This went on for 15 minutes, and I finally thought I better try to choke the big outboard in and out to limp it back to the dock. It finally decided to go, and I bypassed the dock, made a U turn, and waited for it to die again. It never did, so off to the cabin.

I met a troller friend who has a cabin on the same island. I asked if he was busy, then saw what I thought was a broken foot cast. Turns out he has diabetes, and it’s causing all kinds of havoc – amputated toes, blistered feet, etc. Made me again feel lucky for all I have.

Got in to the cabin, and started reading old Southeaster magazines about life in Southeast Alaska. Reading stories about Pelican and other places made me want to get going on buying another boat so I can get back out to these places.

I awoke this morning to hooters (blue grouse) booming from the tree tops on Admiralty. I knew the skiff wasn’t anchored much above high tide, so I thought I better just get down there to it, and decided not to go hunting alone. The boat was barely floating, and so lucky I got there when I did before the tide turned. Another scorcher day.

When I got home, I changed out the fuel filter on the big motor, and put brand new fuel in the little motor. My friend Jeff and I went hunting around low tide. To my delight, the little motor started and ran like a sewing machine for 2 hours. Then it died. It started right up again, then died. Start and die. Just like before. It is definitely going into our next garage sale.

Must have been over 70 degrees out there today, which made for poor king salmon fishing. We didn’t see any fish caught in all the boats or from all the people casting from shore. Weather is going to change in the next day or two, and that will likely move some fish on in.

Mark Stopha
Alaska Wild Salmon Company
4455 N. Douglas Hwy
Juneau, AK 99801

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