My body aches as I sit here at the computer, but it’s a good ache. A great one, really, because of this:

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We spent over 30 hours at sea, and as always happens on a trip like this, I learned some nifty new tricks. As you might expect most of them relate to fishing and fishboat rigging, and I’ll share them with you in the daily tips and articles. But right now, I have a super-cool general boating trick I saw that every boater and fuel dock attendant should know about: the Ta-Tonka.

When we fueled up in the morning, the boat’s owner, Craig, pulled out a 2′ length of 1″ fuel line and held it up to his head. It looked like a buffalo’s horn, hence the name. (Remember Dances with Wolves?) When the tanks approached full, he put one end of the hose against the fuel full and the other against his ear. Listening closely, he could hear the fuel rushing into the tank – and the change in pitch as the tank filled. When the gurgling stopped because the tank was filled and fuel entered the fill line, he shut off the pump. This prevented any spill-over, and as any experienced boater knows, spitting fuel line vents account for a huge amount of fuel spilled into the water.

You want to be a greener boater? Save a few cents on wasted fuel every time you fill up? Or, maybe you just want to look like a buffalo? Whatever – a Ta-Tonka is the answer.