Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 17, November 28 was a tale of 2 days. We left Oriental at 0700 and headed out bound for Adams Creek. There was not a hint of wind as we crossed the Neuse River.

We were making excellent time until we got near Beaufort then the tide started to come in as we were approaching. At the town of Beaufort we turned into Bogue Sound and now the incoming tide was pushing us along. We were able to raise the main and motor sail along quite nicely. The Bogue Sound is very deceiving as its very wide but only a foot deep with a narrow navigable channel running down its length. Those fan boats that you see in the Florida Everglades are everywhere here as their only thing that can blast around with so little water.

Then it happened, Dolphins! We ran into a pod of dolphins. There were probably 30 or 40, but they came by 2 or 4 at a time and played in our bow wake or raced along side next to the cockpit as if they were looking at us. Christy was out of her mind running around the boat, hanging from the bow trying to get pictures in every direction all at once. I may have to get her counseling.

Then it happened, no not dolphins, hideous noises from the engine compartment. We quickly kill the engine and intentionally ground ourselves perpendicular to the channel so we can back out of the mud when we fix whatever’s wrong. The noise was horrible but I can’t find anything wrong. Sitting here is not going to help so we fire up the engine, noise and all, back out into the channel, kill the engine and throw up some sail. There’s less than 3 knots of wind so we’re ghosting along with only most of the genoa up as there’s not enough wind to fill the entire sail. We’re moving along at 1.3 knots only 5 miles from our destination.

We have to call Tow Boat US to come and tow us to port. The tow boat takes 35 minutes to arrive so we just plod along until he arrives. We’re towed to Casper’s Marina. The 2 marinas here don’t employ full time mechanics. It’s up to the boat owner to find and hire their own mechanics. The tow boat guy suggests one man and the marina suggests another. We call them both, one says he’ll show but doesn’t for 2 days and the other diagnoses the problem on the phone (probably because of my uncanny ability to recreate the squealing coming from the engine). It turns out the plate between the engine and the transmission has fractured flinging metal and a spring or two around inside the bell housing.

He says to remove the starter (the one I just installed the other day) and to fish a magnet or wire down into the bell housing and fish out all the pieces I can. If I can clean it out pretty well he says it will be safe to run until we get to full service marina and have this plate replaced. When I pull out the starter one of the springs comes out with it, cool, but after about an hour of fishing I still hadn’t caught anything else so I put the starter back in. I restarted the engine and could hear pieces being flung up and around the flywheel so after 1 minute I kill the engine and again I remove the starter and viola more chunks of metal were sitting in the starters cup, awesome. I end up removing and reinstalling the starter 5 times total, finally coming up with no pieces. Thank you Jesus. I may need counseling after this ..

Well that was actually both days here in Swansboro N.C. They kind of blended into one long day for me and now for you as well. The people were nice, the weather was great and we saw dolphins. On our way again tomorrow at 0700

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