How many Physicists does it…?

How many Physicists does it…?

Tracy&James | Thursday, 2 May 2019

During our Bahamas trip, we hired a small boat to go fishing with another Sexylooper and his friend who were staying on the same island. We should have realised something wasn’t right when the boat hirer took a while to start the boat just before we set off, the engine sounding distinctly rough and ‘coughy’. We thought we were prepared for anything with lots of rods for any species, plus a GPS and map with specific spots we wanted to fish. However after stopping at the furthest point we were intending to get to (several miles away from the mainland – we intended to fish various spots as we moved back in), the boat started to make a high pitched whistling sound and then refused to restart.

So how many physicists does it take to start a boat engine – clearly more than the three I had with me. We called the boat hirer using the only phone we had a signal with after finding that the emergency radio didn’t work! This was 1pm and he was out fishing with clients so told us to go fishing and he’ll find us and fix the boat later that afternoon. So we went fishing, James hooked a nice cuda, some bonefish were caught, plus a small shark. I ‘annoyed’ and hooked a good sized cuda but lost it in the fight, but not before it did some impressive jumps. 

Time passed and we tried to restart the boat several times but to no avail, we did manage to drain the battery from trying though. By 6:30pm, the boat hirer hadn’t turned up to fix the boat so we towed it a few hundred yards to anchor it off the highest ground we could see and started to set up a camp. Within an hour we had a roaring fire (thankfully one of us had a lighter) with a stone surround to protect it from the wind – we’d selected a windy area so as to minimise the biting insects. We’d dried and changed, and stripped the boat to make seats from the life-jackets. By 8:30pm when it was pitch-black, we decided we were probably there for the night and removed the canopy from the boat to use as a shelter in case it rained. (Paul would have loved our make-shift campsite!) We had plenty of water as I’d ensured we had a full cooler box before we left, sadly I hadn’t thought to put in any beer.

We were just discussing whether to do some night fishing to catch something to cook on the fire, when we heard a boat – it was the boat hirer who had finally come to rescue us. So we dismantled our camp and extinguished the fire. The chap started our boat and suggested that two of us drove it back by following him. This is where things turned scary for our two friends, who being younger than James and I volunteered to do this. I gave them one of the torches and I sat in the back of the bigger boat so they could follow the light from my torch and I could keep an eye on them by watching their torch. Being in a smaller boat following in the wake of a bigger boat in complete darkness in an area that we didn’t know was daunting; by watching the torch light I could see them regularly bouncing and I had to keep telling the boat chap to slow down. At one point, they hit a marker post hard and one of them lost his hat. The torches were getting soaked and went into ‘wet-mode’ by flashing rather than having a consistent beam. Thankfully an hour later we were all relieved to be back at the dock. 

I think the moral of this story is perhaps not to rent from the cheapest boat hirer, at least paying more might have provided us with not only a working engine but also a working radio. Annoyingly the overall cost for the day was as expensive as hiring it from a reputable firm as the chap charged us for not only the fuel we used but the fuel he’d used to rescue us too!

For the rest of the holiday, we have stayed close to shore, no more boating for us, other than a bit of kayaking to get to some remote flats. We have a yellow kayak and a yellow vehicle so they can be easily spotted from a distance. However to access some flats, we have also swum across some short but deep channels using our little blow-up floatation device (a baby pool) to transport our rods and gear.  I’d recommend this addition to any DiY-ers tackle as it can be easily folded into a pocket etc.

The weather has not been good this week, lots of heavy rain and thunderstorms; so much rain that the garden of the place we are staying has flooded. Reminds me of the last week of last year’s holiday, however we are still fishing.

Whatever you are up to this weekend, have a great time,


2-boat broken
3-boat dragging
7-floating baby pool 1
8-yellow transport
9-raining 1
10-raining 2