The Search For Bright Waters

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snowed In and Resting Up

We finally left our cozy free dock in Oriental Sunday morning.  We made it to a military basin in Camp Lejune where we anchored.  Along the way our engine started making funny noises so I went down below to check on it but found no major problems.  As we entered our anchorage we were practically limping and the engine was making a knocking noise in low rpms.

We knew it was inevitable that I would be making repairs again one day and that day had come.  After I emptied the cockpit locker and took a closer look behind the engine I noticed some bolts lying in the oil pan.  Thats never good. Turns out three of the four bolts that hold our drive shaft coupling together to spin the prop had fallen out.  One lone bolt remained spinning our prop. I put the bolts back in tight and made a note to replace them.

Nooooo!!!! Not back to the hole!

However there was also a steady leak at the stuffing box of our prop!  The stuffing box is just bolts and wax around our prop to keep the water from coming in the boat.  The vibrations from a wobbly drive shaft had unpacked the stuffing box.  It was enough water coming in that the bilge pump was turning on about every 5 minutes.  It wasn't too worrisome though because I had learned how to stop this leak before. So after some tightening and repacking of the stuffing box I got the leak to stop.  I made a note to repack the stuffing box with new wax when we got to port.

The next morning (Monday) after we checked the prop and drive shaft to make sure it was all running fine we set off on our way to Kure Beach!  Christines Grandpa and Granny Kay have a beach house there where we plan to spend the week with them recuperating.   But that was not in our cards Monday...

As we left our anchorage Monday morning the snow began to fall.  Christine moved to the bow of the boat to provide a better view but the snow just kept coming and the fog got worse.  Soon we had almost no visibility and we had to pull over.  We tied up to a near by marina to wait out the snow.  After tying off once a US Army boat pulled up and told us to move and retie up behind them.  Another sailboat had already tied up and we were forced to squeeze in between the two boats in the snow.  We were less than graceful and ran aground three times, once into the other sailboat and into the dock but soon we were snuggly tied up and secure.  It snowed most of the rest of the day so we gave up trying to go anywhere and made friends with the other sailors and played in the snow.

Eying up the tight dock space behind the Army vessel

We squeezed in

We tried to write Bright Eyes in the snow

Snowy the Snowman

Tuesday we had much better weather and followed Celtic River (the other sailboat) for most of the day.  It was the first day in our journey that we had company along the way.  We had to time a few bridges that only opened on the hour but were soon anchored in Carolina Beach dreaming of the beach house.

Other pretty beach houses along the way

We threw out two anchors for the first time ever because of the surrounding shoal and near by anchored boat and because we would be leaving the boat for the next 6 days.  We didn't really know how to deploy the stern anchor but after a few attempts we were able to swing the boat against the current and toss the second anchor over.  It held pretty good and we moved on to preparing the dinghy for departure.

We left the cats aboard the first night and crammed the dinghy with dirty laundry and other necessities.  The dinghy ride in was bumpy, wet and cold so we tied off to the closest empty dock.  When we got there we found that one of our "water proof bags" had came open and my laptop was now soaked.  It was heartbreaking but we continued on and were soon picked up and in a warm cozy house with Grandpa and Granny Kay.

These pics are from the next day, we actually pulled up in the dark and much wetter.

While we are here at the house we will be recharging.  We ran around town finding the bolts and stuffing box packaging.  We will do our laundry and rest our bodies.  And we went to Best Buy and got me a new laptop!   In choosing a new laptop I opted for the better battery life over the faster processor which was the better cruisers choice.

The second day we went back to the boat and brought our cats to the beach house.  It was quite the event stuffing them into a box and a bag but we made it.  Now they are running around wild enjoying all the extra space!


Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Glad you made it to the beach house and catching up on some warmth! Love the snowman on the sailboat picture.

PhilSoc.Org said...

What a awesome adventure. You two are doing great!

The Ceol Mors said...

Sailing while the snowflakes fall means that you are officially Sailors. With a capital S. Well done!

Captain Dan (Dock Bum) said...

Very pleased you are safe, was kinda worried for a spell not seeing any postings.

Joey and Christine said...

MLC - The warm house was nice, but continue we must!

Phil - Thanks!

Ceol Mors - We are very good pretend sailors. Although a guy who built his own boat came over us after watching us anchor at Jekyll Island, GA and said we must be very experienced after watching us anchor close to shore and another boat. There's a fine line between confident and idiot :)

Capt Dan - Sorry to worry you. Internet is scarce and weekly blogging will probably be the norm, maybe longer. We added a SPOT link on the sidebar that should show where we are daily.