It has now been a week since we arrived at Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort, SC, and it has been a good week. We have had a chance to rest as well as get a lot of projects done. We are going to be heading back to Michigan next week Thursday, and will not return to the boat for two weeks, on or about May 29. As we hope to leave and head north again up the ICW soon after arriving back here we want to get all of our maintenance projects done before we go back to Michigan. So far we have accomplished a lot and should have the boat set and ready to go.
The weather has been good so it has allowed us to do a lot, although it certainly is consistently very humid. But they say that is typical for this area. On the boat we have changed the oil filter, changed both fuel filters, changed the transmission fluid, scrubbed the chain and re-painted the measurement marks, and I will thoroughly wash and clean the boat in the next day or so. Sharon has spent a ton of time cleaning inside the boat and reorganizing. Mold hasn’t been a huge issue, but in cleaning ceilings and walls it is clear that it has all needed a thorough cleaning. Sharon will also repair the middle dodger panel tomorrow as the thread on the top has disintegrated in all the sunshine we have had. Oh, the problems we have!
Our dinghy outboard motor, a 15 hp Mercury 4 stroke, has worked flawlessly the whole trip and we would greatly like to keep it that way. So we spent the most part of the day on Wednesday changing the oil filter and changing the lower unit gear lube. Not an easy task as we had to do it with the motor suspended from our motor mount off the back of the boat partially hanging over the water. But we didn’t lose any screws or parts and got it all set. It seems like it should have been a lot easier, but it took longer than I thought. But it all seems good now and is continuing to run great.
On Tuesday afternoon we took a delightful walk over the Beaufort Swing Bridge into downtown Beaufort and saw the sights. It is a very pretty town and there are many historic buildings and landmarks to see. We topped it all off by having a great cup of coffee and scone and gelato sitting along the edge of the river. It was wonderful!
We have taken advantage of being at a marina for a while and have ordered a bunch of stuff to be set for the next year. It’s interesting how difficult it is to get extra oil and fuel filters while we are underway, so I stocked up on a lot of those. Just before we left the Bahamas and before our 26 hour passage I had checked our oil level to make sure we were good. After checking it and topping it off to be sure I went to put the dipstick back in the motor and it broke! Have you ever heard of a dipstick breaking?! There are very small rivets at the top of it and because of the angle the dipstick goes in and out, it broke right above the rivets. Thankfully it was out of the engine when it broke! But as we were headed back to the States anyway and I knew the oil level was good, it was no issue. I actually got a hold of a place before we left and ordered a new one to be sent to our home in Michigan and then had our daughter, Lisa, send it to the marina here once we knew where we were headed. It was here upon arrival so I could change the oil. Whew!
I also paid a visit to West Marine and stocked up on oil for both the boat engine and the outboard motor so should be set for a while. While at West Marine I also got a new (yes, it’s the third one!) wash down pump. I use the wash down pump when pulling up the anchor to wash all the mud and muck of it and the chain so it doesn’t get all over inside the anchor locker. We didn’t use it all in the Bahamas as the bottom was always sandy. But in the ICW it is a totally different story. I put an original wash down pump on the boat the summer before we left and it quit as we were coming down the Hudson River last September. In New York I got another one and installed it and all was good until we got back onto the ICW a month ago when it stopped working. Thankfully they were both under warranty, but I got a beefier pump this time, a Shurflo brand, so hopefully it will last longer. Because it was a different size than the original I had to do a bunch of finagling to get it installed, and had to do some creative plumbing, but it’s up and running. It also would be easier to work on it if I didn’t have to do it curled over the windlass looking backward and upside down in the anchor locker where I have it installed. But I guess it’s all part of the adventure, right?
Today, Thursday, May 9, we got our MFD (Multi Function Display) chartplotter back! Oh happy day!! I had to ship it back to Raymarine in Vero Beach on April 17 as it had stopped working just as we were ready to leave the Bahamas. Thankfully it also was covered under warranty so didn’t cost anything other than shipping it there. It really was a huge hassle in getting a hold of them a week and a half after they received it, but finally (after repeated calls to them) they called back and diagnosed that the touchscreen had gone bad. He replaced it and instead of shipping it to our house in Michigan he agreed to ship it here to the marina this past Friday so we could get it up and running ahead of time. On Tuesday afternoon I received a call from a gentleman in the Orlando, Florida, area who surprised me by saying our MFD just showed up at his house, addressed to him. He also had an MFD in to Raymarine for repair and it looked like they inadvertently shipped our MFD to him instead of to us. A phone call to Raymarine by both of us the next morning confirmed they goofed up and promptly took care of it by emailing him an overnight shipping label to have it sent here. The gentleman in Orlando was super kind and went way overboard in getting it straightened out with Raymarine and reboxed it and got it right over to FedEx for shipment. Thanks so much, Matt!
It really is a huge deal in getting the MFD back up and running. We had been using Sharon’s iPad hotspotted off her phone since arriving back in the States so it was continually running the batteries of both devices down as we traveled. We also had my iPhone Navionics, but it is a much smaller screen to navigate from, especially with the many tricky and shallow spots on the ICW. It all worked, but will be so much better with the MFD back in action. (Did I mention how glad I am to get it back?!!)
There is one last bigger thing we need to take care of before we head too far back up the ICW, and that is the condition of the bottom of the boat. It seems like each day the growth and slime stuff is growing even longer. I had mentioned in an earlier post that it appears as though after about 9 months the effectiveness of our VC Offshore bottom paint deteriorates in keeping slime off – especially in the warmer waters of the Bahamas. So once we leave Beaufort in the first of June we will travel, albeit slowly as I’m sure the growth will be an issue with our speed, up to Georgetown, SC to Hazzard Marine. This is one of the few DIY boat yards we have found along the ICW where they will haul your boat out of the water, pressure wash the growth off and allow you to paint the bottom yourself. This will save us well over $1000 (you read that right!) by doing it ourselves. Definitely well worth it! We will then have a coat of new paint on the boat as we go up the east coast and then come back south this fall. I will then have the boat hauled again, probably in the St. Mary’s, Ga, area next fall and put one more coat of fresh paint on for the rest of the trip. This will allow the best effectiveness time of the paint to work when we are in warmer waters again, probably the Bahamas.
So a week from today we hope to be on the road back to Michigan. We are renting a car so we can take Max with us, and we have a bunch of stuff on the boat we’d like to take home as well. It will be fun to see family again and we are greatly looking forward to it. It will also be a special time to be with my Mom as she celebrates her 80th birthday!