As for why Tunaneeded pliers, it seems our outboard motor was attempting to escape into theroomy sea, which would leave us far from land, powerless, at the mercy offishermen's luck or perhaps the Christmas Island Rescue Service, if such athing existed. In thousands of hours of boating and the requisite number ofmechanical failures, I had never been confronted with this precise situation.The vibration of the motor had loosened the two heavy clamping screws that holdthe motor upright on the transom of the boat. As a result, the motor wasjiggling slowly upward, and one of the clamps had only the barest grip on thetop edge of the transom. The other screw still had a better purchase, but it,too, was migrating toward freedom. If Tuna had not detected the situation, themotor would have simply climbed up and up until it dropped kerplunk off thetransom into water that we knew was at least 699 feet deep. For good measure,it would probably have jerked the gasoline tank out behind it, since the twowere connected by a stout rubber fuel line.