Spring Day

View of mountains with trees, beach and water in the foreground

Kurt and I fished around the low tide today. We went around the corner at the end of the channel in Juneau to Taku Inlet,  I remembered I needed an orange throw ring, and remembered I’d seen one on a beach here. And there it was. It was a bluebird day in the 40’s, sunny and light winds.

So, I told Kurt I’d go get it in the punt. It would be good to run the little outboard that goes on the punt, too. We untied the punt held up on the swim step. Then I got down on the swim step and put the little kicker on the punt and tightened the bolts onto the transom.

I piled into the punt when Kurt took the tug out of gear, and I drifted back from the boat. Kurt put the boat in gear and would continue fishing to Pt Bishop and back while I went to the beach. He spotted a boat bumper buoy on a beach as well, so I’d go get that, too.

I pulled and pulled on the pull start, but the kicker wouldn’t fire. I looked in the tank and saw the fuel was low, but there was fuel. I pulled off the cover a couple times to see that the choke and throttle were functioning, which they were. After pulling and pulling on the pull start, I finally saw the problem – I had to move the lever in the back of the outboard from off to on to allow fuel to get to the carb. The little honda outboard started right up.

I cruised towards the distant beach with the throw ring, then thought – I should go to the closer beach to get the buoy, just in case. Then the outboard quit. I pulled and pulled and it wouldn’t start. It’s an air cooled engine, so shouldn’t be overheating. I’d put new oil in last fall so it shouldn’t be that. I must be out of fuel.

Luckily, I’d thrown in a paddle, so I paddled to shore. And in no hurry.  My God, what country we live in. Mountains all around. The ocean calm, and the light breeze was at my back. I leisurely paddled my way to the beach, then pulled the punt up the beach. The tide was coming in, so I pulled it up the beach high enough that I could get the nearby buoy, then walk the 1/2 to 3/4 mile round trip to get the throw ring before the tide would get up to the punt.

The buoy was practically new. And no name on it. The buoy was too small to use on the tug, but a great size for Kurt and Jeff’s boat. I started the trek down to the throw ring. I had to climb around some rocks on the beach to get there, and the exercise felt good. This was more like deer hunting hiking, and I was glad I could do it.

The throw ring was in poor condition, and not useable. I headed back to the punt. I walked along the storm tide line to see if I could find any treasures behind the drift wood. I came to a couple creeks flowing from the mountain. The streams ended in a pool that was behind the berm at the top of the tide line on the beach. The water from the creeks simply ended in the pool above the tide line, and apparently just seeped into the beach gravel. I could see no detectable spots where it weeped out. This was cool stuff I’d never seen before.

I humped it back to the boat. Kurt was well down the beach in the tug, so I was in no hurry. A day in the 40’s, sunny, and no wind. Surrounded by snow covered mountains in every direction. Southeast Alaska beauty. Another of the best times to be here, when spring is on its way, but the town hasn’t yet sold it’s soul to the hustle and bustle of summer tourist season, and before the commercial salmon season for gillnetters starts right where we’re all by ourselves at this moment.

I rowed out into deep water and Kurt idled up. It took awhile to maneuver the punt to pull it up on its side on the swim step. I needed to make more adjustments to make this easier.

Kurt took the helm and started us toward town. I put the fishing gear back out. We fished another 30 minutes towards town. I pulled up the gear, gave Kurt the all good nod, and he inched the throttle forward to cruising speed.

I went to work adjusting the attachments to the punt on the swim step to make it easier in the future. Then I put more fuel in the kicker to be sure that was the issue when it quit.  A few pulls, and it started right up.

Everything running well now going into the spring.

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