14 October 2011


So here's how it started. We left the Great Dismal Swamp canal visitor's center dock - and the boat didn't immediately engage in forward. Before we left Maine there was a question as to whether the reduction gear turned over a little rough or made a funny sound. But everyone asked denied it being a problem. So. It didn't improve. We proceeded down the ICW in search of diesel stopping in Belhaven (where Irene's full force was felt) and then in Oriental. We found fuel and filled our water tanks in Oriental and anchored above a 43' bridge away from others. In the morning we hauled the anchor heading for the bridge. The call was made to re- anchor. This was Monday morning, a holiday. The dear mechanic made an initial investigation and the decision was made to proceed to Beaufort (Bō-fort) 20 miles further where supplies were more readily available. We anchored amongst sunken boats in the Town Creek and went for a walk in search of ATF. (Automatic transmission fluid not alcohol or tobacco...not as easy to find as one would think.) After changing the oil there was a slight improvement but it slipped at high rpm. We went to bed with the plan to continue on in the morning and see how things went. We awoke to a dark rainy day with forecast for gusts to 40 and thunderstorms. Not set on our plan we postponed departure and made phone calls to the MA Universal dealer and a VA dealer.

With the forecast against us we made the decision to have a new reduction gear shipped overnight and to send the faulty one back for warranty inspection at a later date. We picked up the new gear the next morning after a 3 mile sunny humid walk to the laundromat and grocery store.

Making the noon bridge opening we were underway. How good it felt to leave the sunken boats behind.

The dear mechanic changed out the gear at a quiet anchorage tucked off the ICW that night and now two days and one ATF change later we are headed South!

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