Thursday, May 21, 2009

How to pump out a sieve - - ?

You know - - , sometimes the job you make the most money on, is often the one you walk away from.  Well, you would think we might get smarter over the years in this business, but not always.  Take one 27 ft, 1966 Chris Craft Cruiser, no insurance, just purchased as a "restoration" project for a grand total of $500.  (O.K. lets take a look at that real hard - - 1.  1966,  2. No Insurance,  3. "Restoration" project - - - - and of course $500?????)  Now what part of that scenario DOESN'T spell "disaster"??  Somehow the new proud owners actually get this puppy underway and head for its new home - - perhaps not aware, or maybe their confidence was bolstered by the consumption of a BUSCH product,  the non-marine plywood patch covering a hole (about the size of a Honda Civic) near the bow of this fine vessel, could not withstand the voyage!  Result - She sinks!!  We are immediately notified by the water patrol to respond to the incident.  About 15 minutes later they tell us to stand down, as the owner/operator has no insurance and no money and there is a dispute as to WHO will take responsibility for the removal of the now derelict vessel?  O.K. we can live with that - .  The officers tow the partially submerged vessel to near shore and tie it off to a tree - -(We can do that out here in the sticks, cause we got a lotta trees)  
O.K.  the guy who bought the boat, doesn't have a title or bill of sale, the guy who sold the boat is still the "owner of record" and it looks like he gets to pony up for the removal.  He calls our salvage partner, Tim McNitt of  Atlantis Dive, plays the no money, no insurance card and Tim calls us and I reluctantly agree to split the total salvage fee and tow the wreck the 3 miles to ramp and haul it on our trailer to the owners property a few miles away.  (All along thinking this is not a good idea, but its a little slow, cash flow, boredom - and so on)  After all this is not our first Hayride - - - -.  Long story short, after couple of hours of dinking around with this piece of *!%& - she surfaces with the help of a couple of 6,000lb lift bags after which Tim and his boys begin to add pumps, (two - 3 inch pumps and three - two inch pumps!)   Where are the "MYTH BUSTER"  guys with their barge load of ping-pong balls when you need them?  In the meantime I have caught up on my sleep tied up alongside Atlantis's Salvage boat the "Nautilus", awaiting to rig her for the "tow" (after all this was a piece of cake) Speaking of cake, by now I'm thinking I should have brought dinner along.

If you look at the photo's, you will notice at one point, all that pumping puts a LARGE VOLUME OF WATER IN THE AIR - this results in the lake level dropping a couple of feet and the guys at the dam are calling us to tell us to "knock it off" as their turbines are losing speed and we're causing major power outages in the main grid - - - - - - O.K. - o.k. I exaggerate slightly.  We're beginning to draw a crowd, and this old cruiser, is looking more like a fireboat leading a "tall ships" parade in New York harbor.  Finally Tim gives me the thumbs-up to take this beast in tow - I put on my rain suit and away we go - -  well sort of, I can make about 3 to 4 mph tow speed, any faster will remove a few more planks and this thing will turn in to a submarine - -.  (For you Nautical buffs,  we use mph out here in the sticks , cause a knot is something you tie in binder twine that holds your britches up!) Anyway, this piece of cake is beginning to take on the form of grandma's 40 year old FRUITCAKE!  After an hour tow we finally arrive at the ramp, wrestle her on to the hydraulic trailer and  - - - she is finally out of the water!!
Now, this should be the end of the story and yet another old wood cruiser goes to her final resting place  - but wait!  Captain Jones takes her to the owners place, sets her down on a couple of pieces of foam - collects our modest salvage fee and just when he gets in to the truck to leave some six hours after this began, the owner's buddy announces, (while taking a snort from a near empty five gallon bucket of something resembling "white lightening")  "We're gonna PATCH this baby up and get her back onBold the water real soon" - - - - - -  Oh my GOD, maybe I need a CAREER CHANGE - - - -

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