A ten minute boat ride, step by step
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Photo of Chris in ground of Earthship

Written by Chris

March 2, 2014

So yesterday morning, I had to pick up two cameras from buoy 1. If you head out from Carmabi and go north, you cross Piscadera Bay and the channel that leads into the nearby harbor and wetlands. Continuing on and around the rocky outcropping, the coast lies more or less in a straight aspect until you hit buoy 0, followed by buoy 1. All in all, it is about a kilometer long trip that  makes up my daily commute and I enjoy the quick trip with fellow researchers off to answer their own questions on coral reef ecology. We take the trusty Carmabi II each day at sunrise, and sunset. Carmabi II is our small local field station boat, about 4 meters in length with an outboard motor.

So here we are, out to collect two cameras. Zipping over to buoy 1, I quickly arrive with a coworker working on microbial communities of coral mucus. We tie up and drop in. I locate my cameras quickly, detach them and head over to where my coworker is. While she finishes her collection, I enjoy the moment to hover in the water column, rising with each breath I take in, falling with each exhale. It is a peaceful morning and moment.

It doesn’t take long for her to finish and back to the boat we head. We reach the approximate spot and looking up at the glimmering surface, I don’t see the familiar shadow, but a clear shimmering light all around. Ascending from our dive, I spin around and there is no boat to be seen. It flashes into my mind that maybe it was stolen. It is a possibility but as I ponder, I spot a trace of blue on the coast, and recognize it as Carmabi II.

Immediately, I set out, swimming towards the shore where the wind and current took it. Approaching, the waves toss me on my side as I awkwardly try to maintain my balance with scuba gear and fins.  I can still see the buoy attached to the boat, which means the mooring dislodged from the seabed. The motor has dislodged from the back and lies next to the boat in two feet of water. Taking my fins off, I manage to stagger to the boat, miraculously missing all the urchins with my bare feet. First things first, I grab the motor and hoist it into the boat. Then my partner and I start towing the boat, back out into the sea, navigating around the delicate branching Acropora corals. The current and waves are not with us, but we manage to get it to buoy 0, the one remaining buoy where we fasten it. Sitting on the boat, I am happy that it wasn’t worse, having this happen as sunset for example. I relish in the moment that the motor might still work… that it could be a funny moment and we could move on with the day.

I reattached the motor to the back of the boat and try it. No good. Try again and again and the same result; flooded of course. It leaves us with one option, dive back to Carmabi. So, after making sure the pull string does not fix the issue and are certain it is attached once more, we roll overboard and make our way back to Carmabi. The trip back is one I often do in the mornings, and besides crossing the channel, it is a trip I enjoy.

Emerging to the church in the back yard

Emerging to the church in the back yard

Arriving back at Carmabi, I am greeted with a baptism in progress. Locals in full suites and dresses elbow deep in the bay, celebrating their religion within the grander context of Carnival. While fumbling through my 10-minute boat ride, I can’t help but smile at my busy moment and theirs of peace.

After the swim back, I enquire into how we might get the disabled boat back to the station and the solution lies in recruiting another guy to swim back with paddles. So, dropping the dive gear, we grab the paddles and make our way back to Buoy 0. He of course has to try his luck in starting the engine, but with similar results, we set off to row. The wind and waves are reasonably strong, to the point where our progress is minimal and after feeling like I am on a treadmill for 15 minutes, I roll off the boat and start towing the boat. Seems to work and my buddy joins in the adventure. Half an hour later we arrive back at the dock, indeed stoked to have the task behind us. The engine still does not work however and given the fact we need to continue to make the journey to buoy 1 for the foreseeable future, we begin to clean the spark plugs and engine. I find myself learning from my knowledgeable coworker and am sure to thank him for sacrificing his Saturday so quickly for the prospect of the “10 minute boat ride.”

Another 45 minutes and as the sun moves lover on the horizon, the motor roars to life once more. No harm no fowl so they say. What I do realize though is that if I were confronted with the entire problem from the beginning, I probably would have opted out, maybe choose to sleep in given the synthesis of the entire issue. But every problem has its pieces, perhaps in this situation more evident than most and whatever the challenge, breaking it into relevant steps and taking them one at a time does yield results. One just might find themselves reaching the solution, previously seen as remote and if you’re lucky enough to get lost in the challenge at hand, you may even find yourself enjoying the moment.

Related Articles

A Brave New World – The arrival of AI through flow of logic

A Brave New World – The arrival of AI through flow of logic

A Brave New World was written by Aldous Huxley and discusses just how a technological future might look like for earthlings. It sits atop a list of other noted books including 1984 (George Orwell) and The Foundation Series (Isaac Asimov) which eerily predict the...

Sphere of influence – the expanding/collapsible bubble

Sphere of influence – the expanding/collapsible bubble

Those who have known me for a while have heard occasionally about efforts to bring to market ocean wave driven pumps. Since 2009, I have been involved in the development of sustainable wave energy in some form or another. I still consult on the projects from time to...

The Ecosystem Engineer

The Ecosystem Engineer

Earlier this summer I went on a camping trip with my family. We drove up from New Mexico to Silverton Colorado and took the steam train down towards Durango. A ways down the canyon on the Animas River, we got off and spent two days camping along the river. It was...

Stay Up to Date by Following Us on Instagram

Follow Us

Be the first to see what’s new, workshop announcements, and yurt life on Poncha Pass.

Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Summer 2023 flyer earthship workshop
Yurts at Poncha Pass - Colorado Yurt Rentals and Sustainable Building Workshops - Spring 2023 Workshop group eating out


Come stay if you are looking for a peaceful and comfortable place to hang your hat while relaxing and adventuring around in nature. And after adventuring don’t forget to regenerate at a cellular level with our wood-burning sauna and cold plunge tub, immersed in good old fashioned nature therapy.