Every year

Every year I take the skiff out after the first real freeze, forget to check the fuel/water separator, get a good ways from the dock, and then the outboard dies.  Then I try to start it and see the cup below the filter is ice.  This time, I got about 1/3 of the way to Admiralty before it happened.  I saw the problem right off.  I got the motor going and idled back towards the dock in Fritz Cove.  Then the big motor quit and I could not get it restarted.  I figured I’d just come back on the little trolling motor (aka, kicker), and it was a bluebird day.  Two humbbacks were feeding in the Cove, and several cars were parked on the road watching them.  I figured those in the cars would send for help for me if I got in trouble.   The kicker was held up out of the water by a bolt that I’d used when the post that came with the outboard fell off.  The bolt was tapered, and so when I put it in the holes, it now would not come back out – probably from the change in temperature.  I’d try to get the bolt out, then work pump the bulb in the big motor and get it to fire.  It would run for a short time and quit again.  This went on for probably an hour.  Finally, I thought I had to bypass the filter as it seemed it was now full of ice.  I had no union in my toolbox.  I did find an old connector where the hose went in on one end and the other end connected to the kicker.  I cut off the little hose nipple with the saw part of my deer knife, then pulled the hoses off on either side of the filter, pumped fuel through to the outboard, and away we went.  The outboard still didn’t want to run on step, but I was able to idle back to the dock.   When I got home, I went to the store straight away and got new filters and a union for the tool box.  The next day, I took off the fuel hoses and found them full of slush.  I put them in plastic baggies, sealed them to keep the odor down, and brought them in the house to melt by the woodstove.  I loaded both fuel tanks with isopropyl alcohol to keep the fuel from freezing.  When the hoses were thawed, I replumbed the fuel system.    On Sunday, I took it for a test run and hopefully some hunting.  The boat started right up and ran fine.  I went to our honey hole for deer this year.  Plenty of tracks, but didn’t see a deer.  Saw some marten or mink tracks, so might have to set a few traps in there, too.