I knew my spark plugs were once again fouled, that they’d need to be taken off and at the very least cleaned, and probably replaced. Yet somehow, after thirty minutes of finessing, we got the engine to start.
“Don’t let it die,” Olivier said as he un-rafted and puttered away. “Meet me in Sloop Cove.”
I hauled the anchor, Jesse monitoring the idle, making sure it didn’t cough. When we were free we shifted forward and the engine died. It started again, shifted forward, and died again. This went on for some time, until we slowly began drifting into the small boat in front of us.
“Sorry!!” I called, hoping they enjoyed the concert by the Floating Dinghy Band that went well into the wee hours of the morning.
“Engine troubles!” I said, laughing awkwardly. “Know anything about outboards? Got a spark plug wrench?”
I sure chose the right boat to crash into because we threw them a line, rafted up, and within seconds Guy and Mary, two French Canadian sailors, were to the rescue. We had the spark plugs removed, cleaned them up, put them back in all under thirty minutes, but the engine still wouldn’t start.
“Okay, Emily,” Mary said. “Fifteen minutes and we are going to Plattsburgh.”
So off we went in their little boat to the nearest civilization, where we then got in their car and drove to the store to get new spark plugs. Then they bought us lunch and we headed back to the island, feasting on nachos and juice in the cockpit.
When it was time to head back to the boat Mary had said, “Come on, kids.” I loved that. That she called us kids. And when I told her she recalled a story about her son who hitch hiked across the United States.
“You hope someone is there for your own when they run into trouble traveling,” she said.
Back on my boat we installed the new plug and had a quick moment of silence before trying to start the engine. I flipped on the battery, toggled the key to the electric start, and she came to life in seconds purring like a kitten. We cheered in unison.
As Guy prepared to leave in his dinghy he handed me the spark plug wrench.
“Keep it,” he said. “You will need it.”
We hugged and I thanked him profusely. I hauled the anchor and we puttered out of the harbor waving to Mary and Guy–my heart once again feeling warm from the kindness of strangers, my faith in humanity rising in unison with the RPM’s of the engine as we gave it more throttle…