October 11. Making plans while you’re on a sailboat is just a waste of time.
I had planned on having a new bearing pressed into our water pump while in Elizabeth City. Then I got to thinking about it. The water pump is just a small bronze housing with a shaft running through it. The shaft has a bearing in the center with an impeller on the end. On the other end is the pulley for the engine driven belt.
So what keeps the water from passing from the impeller side to the pulley side? That’s right, a seal. Now I’m afraid that they might damage the seal while trying to replace the bearing. I’m not sure if that has to be replaced when servicing the bearing or maybe its even part of the bearing.
So we woke around 0800 and I explained my worry to Christy. We elected to press on towards Oriental and our new pump. So we walked the dogs and got underway around 0900.
Once underway we had 20 knots of wind and were making great time.
We crossed the Albemarle Sound and headed south into the Alligator River. If you’ve been following along you’ll remember that last year when we ran south into the Alligator River we ran into a submerged metal I-beam and had to have the boat hauled so we could check for hull damage. So naturally we were nervous about the approach this time.
This time went much better but was not without its butt clenching moments. The two different charts and the chart plotter all showed the same marks; greens 1, 3 and 5. We passed green 1 and when we arrived at green 3 it turned out to be green 1A, ut oh. It turned out that green 3 had been moved about 200 yards to the west and green 1A was placed in its spot. Once we had it all sorted out it went well, it was just disconcerting that this place where we’ve had “issues” in the past would be so different from what the charts showed.
As we sailed down the Alligator River we were again buzzed by fighter planes out screaming about. Christy saw the first one as it crossed our bow on its side with one wingtip down towards the water and the other skyward. He was moving so fast we never heard him until he was well past us.
At the south end of the Alligator River is the Pungo Canal. The wind had died and we were motoring into a slight current. It was just after 1500 hours and the canal is 22 miles long. The sun set tonight at 1837. The anchoring possibilities at this end of the canal are pretty slim and we’ve been to the anchorage at the other end of the canal so we decided to proceed. I figured that worst case we’d have to travel in the dark for 30 minutes or so.
The other thing about the canal is that it’s a major tug and barge route after dark. We encountered one tug pushing a barge just as the sun was setting and the passing went smoothly.
We ended up anchoring in a well protected spot about 20 minutes after dark. The water pump hasn’t gotten any worse and now we’re only a fifty mile hop from Oriental.