Because it strikes so close to home, we had a big laugh when we read the following Facebook post by Deborah Gregory, who has been cruising the Med the last several summers with her husband Jim aboard their Pt. Richmond-based Schumacher 50 Morpheus. It was titled ‘Husbands’.
"This morning, as we were approaching the Corinth Canal in Greece, I lovingly went up to my husband and said, ‘I’m not nagging, and I’m not scared, but can you please make sure we have enough diesel in the tank we are currently drawing from to make it all the way through the canal?" For it would be just like Murphy to have us run out of fuel in the middle of the Corinth Canal.
"I got ‘The Look’. Ladies, you know the one.
"Three hours later, in the absolute middle of the 4-mile-long canal, the engine started to sputter. ‘Debbie, quick, get back here,’ shouted Jim. ‘Steer down the middle of the canal!’ Like there was anywhere else to steer with a 15-ft-wide boat in a 25-ft wide canal.
"Jim ran forward as the engine sputtered, grabbed a diesel jug, and started pouring diesel into the tank, as the engine continued to sputter. Finally it started to run smoothly again. Jim looked at me with a shit-eating grin. What can I say. He’s mine. I love him. I can’t beat him. But, Jim, come on!"
The reason this strikes so close to home is that one time Doña de Mallorca gave us the same little chat/warning when we were a few miles outside Paradise Marina in Mexico. And we, too, ran out of fuel. She swears that it’s happened at least two other times too, and that we’ve come close to running out of fuel a dozen other times. We like to point out that most of the time we haven’t run out of fuel. And infuriatingly, we usually finish the Bash with a couple of jerry jugs of fuel.
As for Debbie’s claim that the Corinth Canal is 25 feet wide, that is a little stretch, as the canal is actually 70 feet wide. But having taken our Ocean 71 Big O through the Corinth back in the mid-1990s, we can confirm that thanks in part to the near-vertical sides of the canal, it seems a lot narrower than it really is.
But it got us wondering, have any of you other skippers run out of fuel after being warned by your spouse or significant other?
For the record, the 4-mile-long Corinth Canal saves vessels that are trying to get from the Ionian Sea around the Peloponnese 430 miles. The shortcut was so worthwhile that in ancient times ships were dragged across the isthmus. The canal was finally completed in 1893 after 12 years of work. As it’s only 70 feet wide and less than 24 feet deep, it’s too small for most commercial vessels. As a result, it’s mostly used by tourists, but 11,000 vessels did pass through last year. The canal is at sea level, and there are no locks. It’s not cheap taking a boat through the Corinth Canal, but if you get the chance, and the boat has enough fuel, we recommend the experience.