July 26 - August 1, 2007 — When I arrive home after Bristol Bay, all I want to do is kick back, relax, and enjoy this brief period where I have nothing demanding my attention. This state of being is always too short lived, primarily because of the sockeye run that is swimming around the San Juan Islands.
My first fishing-related task is to get my Puget Sound gillnetter, the Satisfaction, ready to go into the water and fish. This year our neighbors had a woman and her children visiting from Germany who my wife, Maureen, took a liking to. Maureen offered Elsa and her kids a ride on my boat before she left, which was just a week after my return. That was a very nice gesture indeed, and one that assured my boat would be a priority to get into the water and ready — at least for a boat ride. I would not have rushed to get it into the water so soon, but when your wife tells you to get your boat in the water, it's time to get the boat in the water.
The biggest project was the net-reel drive, which had a 3" x 5" hole in the side of the gear case. Toward the end of last season the drive chain broke within the gear case, and as the gears turned, it forced the broken chain right through the side of the cast aluminum housing, thus draining the oil all over the deck and disabling the higher-speed setting of the drive (I finished the season with crossed fingers, putting much faith in the notion that this old drive is bulletproof).
I tried to locate a replacement, but these old Easthope Makers drives are not too common these days. Even without a replacement, I had a solution: Splash Zone — the fix-all epoxy that no fisherman I know lives without. I smeared a quarter-inch layer onto a piece of cardboard from an old half-case of beer, and slapped it onto the side of the drive over the hole. After that set up for a couple days, I added oil into the drive, and voila! It was good as new — for the time being.
I still needed to change the water pump on the engine. It leaks water through the front seal, and therefore slings a fine drizzling of water in all directions. Fortunately, if I run the engine with the cap loose on the expansion tank, it does not sling water. Since I never worked up enough enthusiasm to take the engine apart and change that water pump, it remained in that condition all winter long, and continued to remain in that condition through this preseason fix-it session, because just as before, I just didn't have the gumption to crack into the engine.
The rest of the boat prep was mostly cleanup and of course bottom work. I was painting the bottom right up until zero-hour, when it was time to launch. After it hit the water the first order of business for the Satisfaction was to give Elsa, her sister, our neighbors, and all their kids a marine tour of Friday Harbor, complete with seals, otters, seagulls, and jellyfish. It was sort of a convoluted goal to be working toward, but it worked just fine in getting the Satisfaction in the water.
TO BE CONTINUED...
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