On a still November morning
The fog rolled in without warning
Just as we were casting off
With a Great Lake to cross
Twenty-eight miles straight
Set a course for three thirty eight
Four hours motoring would take us there
Until the fog came, the morning was fair
It was this last window of good weather
That Jim and I would try together
To get Sequoia across Lake Ontario
To Toronto, to be her new home
Fuel, check. Dog, check. Lunch, check
Radio doesn’t work. What the heck
The motor was brand new and
Had never been properly run in
We motored slowly down the river
Into the chop where we shivered
The fog was cold, the sun weak
Drops of moisture beaded the teak
The river current meets the lake wind
If you don’t fight it you’ll spin
Visibility was fifty feet
In weather like this you can’t cheat
Couldn’t get the radar to work
Now, as the pilot, I felt like a jerk
No radar, no radio, just eyes and a cell
This picnic cruise was looking like hell
Midway across Lake Ontario
The motor sputtered and started to go
We throttled back and nursed it
But in fifteen minutes we burst it
Dead in the water, fog all around
We weren’t in danger, weren’t going to drown
But we had committed a number of sins
And all our resources were growing thin
I had gotten a buddy on my cell phone
It just barely had the juice to reach home
He texted the towboat’s number to me
I called, and asked them to come to sea

Out of the fog came looming

The police launch we usually see zooming
Across the harbor but this time
They were coming to throw us a line
The police stayed with us ‘til the towboat came
They bid us goodbye, we did the same
The tow pilot put on a bridle
Off we went, with our prop in idle
Two hours it took to get to Toronto
At the end of a long wandering tow
We were nudged and bumped into our slip
And then I grabbed my bag and jumped ship
It was supposed to be a four hour cruise
I’d done it before, it wasn’t news
Bad preparation pooched the trip
And I won’t sail again on that ship