Volume 16, Issue 33 - August 14 - August 20, 2008

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Trouble in Fundy on Sunday

Boater’s e-Bay aquisition not up for the trip to the Great White North

You’ll remember [No. 31: July 31] that via eBay, Chris Roper spent some of his strong Canadian dollars on a powerboat boat long-abandoned in Anne Arundel County, slapped in one engine (the boat has two) and embarked for his home in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on what he expected would be a four-day journey.

Adventures don’t always go according to plan.

A week after his July 28 departure, his wife, Fiona, told us that Chris had been rescued twice by the Coast Guard, that his new vessel, a 1985 30-foot Cruisers, was in drydock and that her husband would be boarding a bus for home.

“I thought I’d be reading about him under the headline: Coast Guard Charges Man,” said Fiona Roper, a physician.

Boaters at Herrington Harbour North, whence Roper departed on his journey, wondered about his future after his shakedown cruise, when the vessel’s radar fell off and a rotted antenna snapped. Six years on the hard showed on Pleiadas.

Somehow, Roper, 58, an electrical engineer, made it 700 miles north and almost home when, on the night of Aug. 2, engulfed in fog in the Atlantic Ocean and worried that his compass had failed, he radioed the Coast Guard.

They towed him into Woods Harbour at the Bay of Fundy — treacherous waters with the highest tide shift in the world — and said good-bye.

It should have been so long.

With a storm brewing, Roper set out again Sunday. He hit something submerged and started taking on water. The Coast Guard, busy looking for a missing vessel, wasn’t happy to hear from him again.

They called Fiona, who was peeved herself that Roper had left the kitchen half-renovated and that his pick-up — which she needed to help their daughter move — is sitting in the Herrington Harbour parking lot in Tracys Landing.

“If you think I have any control over him, you’re wrong,” she told a Coast Guard commander. “But he’ll be getting it in the neck from me, too.”

This time, on Brier Island, Nova Scotia’s ecotourism destination, Pleiades was in no shape to continue. Fiona suggested that Chris might just want to stay put for a few days, visiting the liquor store and watching whales gambol.

He didn’t. By Aug. 7, Roper was back at Herrington Harbour, planning this time to drive his Honda Ridgeline back home to bail out his boat. Seems like he’d had some trouble with Customs as well as the Coast Guard.

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