At first the plans were to leave the dock on July 3rd to stay overnight off of a favorite island, and then make the way back up to town where the fireworks take place for the 4th. The weather and minor details tripped up that plan so leaving early on the 4th became plan B.


I woke up early like a kid on Christmas morn. All I could think of was getting my own independence from being tied up at the dock for the first time since arriving in November! 


Many details had to take place to ready the boat, even though we thought things were ready, those last minute chores like filling up the water tanks and doing a pump out started to chip away at our time. We are not at the optimum place for this boat. It drafts 4 feet of water and during extreme tide changes we've bumped bottom before and sucked up mud into the AC intake. NOT GOOD. We had to plan a departure for  near high tide to be sure we could easily avoid any such problems. 


At last, the water and electricity was unplugged, lines were untied, fenders were out and it was time to cast off. Right away I knew there was an issue or else the captain had forgotten how to steer a boat. We wavered back and forth between the two docks nearly running into the windlass on one before making it to the river. Was it the tide, the wind, the lack of recent experience? No, it was the steering itself wasn't working!


All the way back in we went using only the engines in forward or reverse to steer. Personally I have steered like this quite a bit but it is still tricky as heck and then to make the turn to get once again docked. The owner of the boat shop came down and gave us advice to turn the steering wheel while looking at the rudders because the wheel was turning and stopping but not responsive. We previously had some work done in these areas and the Captain himself also did part of the work. 


Well, as it turns out, it was that the lines had been hooked up to the wrong sides! For those unfamiliar with steering that means when the wheel was being turned to go starboard, we went port. At the end of the fix, it was still debatable who hooked these up wrong. (ahem) By the way to look at the rudders required moving the mattress off the master cabin bed and taking the panels up to see down below. 


An hour or so had passed when the debate was whether there was still time to get out. While this was being discussed, I noticed it was quite warm inside and that only one AC seemed to be working. A frantic inspection ended up with the determination that indeed we had sucked up mud getting off the dock and the lines had to be cleared. Another hot sweaty hour later and the captan finally had that taken care of but by then he had spent most of his energy sweating in the engine room next to the hot running generators, or up under the steering wheel doing repairs. 


It took me more than a few minutes to convince him to go for it because he was tired as heck and by now the tide was almost if not already too low. But somehow, thanks to the occasion to go see fireworks, I talked him into it. WHEW! But now we had to actually do it. Once again lines were untied, once again we backed up to cast off. One try, two tries, three tries - and we couldn't get spun around. We were bumping bottom. Thank goodness I turned the ACs off so at least we weren't sucking up mud again. 


Finally the idea to use a spring line came forward and we were able to get the aft around and out of the shallows, but that meant we had to back out of the marina between two docks. FINE NO PROBLEM ..... off we went. Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! (I don't want to imagine the looks and comments made back on the dock after our awkward departure.)


We idled slowly up the winding river, with steering working correctly. When we came to the inter-coastal, it was time to throttle up a bit just to discover we had a vibration coming off the props. OH NOZ! Hopefully this was not from bending the prop through to get out of the marina! Most likely it isn't but something caught up on the prop or wrapped around the shaft. Luckily it wasn't far to the firework area so we just ran slow up to the bridge, which was closed for the rest of the day!


Yikes! There isn't many if any places to anchor on the south of the bridge but there is a mooring area and I spotted a few empty floating mooring balls. I got on the radio and called the city marina and was able to get us a spot. We picked our way around the nearly full bay to find our number and I was the one this time to grab the hook and go up to try to snag us onto the tackle. The hook is eight feet long. The water is about ten feet below the front deck where I needed to tie off at. 


Don't ask me how I did it, but I did it. I was determined at this point, and nothing, I mean nothing was going to stop me. 


The next thing was to launch the dinghy so the captain could make his way to the marina, which was quite a good ride away under choppy conditions. Everything went well with that probably because I had my fingers crossed the whole time he was gone. This was the maiden trip on the new (to us) dinghy and everything worked fine! Secondary to signing us in, the captain had the task of going across the street to what is normally a really good restaurant to grab us dinners.


For the sake of brevity, I can only report that mine was so bad, I threw it out. In fact later, I threw it up, but it might have been in part due to other things. Still, that was a bit of a disappointment but I wasn't going to let it stop me from enjoying the evening. The kitty even came out for the beautiful sunset and to see all of the marine patrol and sheriffs' boats with flashing lights securing the barge on the other side of the bridge where the fireworks would be launched. 


Finally the time came and I saw up front on a dock box leaning over the rail for one of the best seats in the house for ooooohing and awwwwwing the exploding lights in the sky. Yay! We made it!  The neighborhoods around went on with the after - party fireworks for another couple of hours and it was a tremendously beautiful, breezy evening with stars above, fireworks on the horizon and lights from the boats and shoreline activities flickering off the water. There was also a parade of vessels leaving the area that went on for at least an hour after the main event was over. 


I thought the night was perfect. 


Then I went inside where I found the water pump making a noise every few seconds, and the AC in the master cabin had quit working.  It was too warm, I barely slept all night even when I made my way into the salon where the AC worked but where the kitty was trying to sleep with me all night and her toys kept chirping and tweeting at me when the boat would vibrate or rock a little too much. 


When I woke up, I was then informed that it wasn't just the AC issue to deal with for the day, but that we now also had no water on board! The water had leaked from at that time places unknown, into the bilge, causing that pump sound I heard all night. With the generators and remaining ACs still running, it was way too hot to go down into the engine room to figure any of this out, so the prospect of staying out and going on to the island we'd hope to visit, was not going to happen. Then we had to make it back to the marina in time for high tide, which we did fine and docked without issue. 


Everyone was happy for us that we made it out and had fun, of course they had no idea the problems we brought back with us and at least it was recognized that we did a small successful trip worthy of celebrating. 


It took a while for the sun to go down enough and the engine room to cool off once the generators didn't need to be ran anymore to be able to get in there and see if #1, the AC hoses were still clogged up somewhere causing the one unit not to operate and #2 where the water leak was at that caused us to empty the tank. There was a 50/50 chance the fixes would be relatively quick and easy or hard to fix, costly and timely. As luck would have it, or rather no luck would have it, both issues turned out to be not easy to fix. 


Either the compressor is shot on the AC or it needs Freon but being these are such old units they need R72 which the government couldn't totally outlaw due to so many things being made dependent on it, so they made it so expensive that a fill up could cost up to half of what a new unit would cost!  The water loss was due to the water heater croaking and leaking like a waterfall. It is located right against the hull and weighs at least 80 pounds. The carpet in the salon does come up and there are engine access panels there too, other than the access under the steps that raise up from the galley to the salon being on different levels. But where it is located is not directly under the panels so only God knows how the old one can come out or how a new one can get put in! Until these things are fixed, we have NO WATER and NO AC in the master bedroom cabin. 


Lovely.......


And here's the worse part; my daughter took off so we could go out this weekend for an over nighter on the boat. We have all been looking forward to this for a long time. When she called earlier it was before the investigation took place to see what the issues were and with that 50/50 chance that both things might turn out okay, I didn't tell her about them. She has already had her own share of crazy broken things dilemmas this week to deal with. I was hoping not to add to those but now it seems, we are likely doomed. I can't imagine getting both things fixed, and finding out what is causing the prop vibration before Saturday! 


So that was my fourth of July, how was yours?


PS I was going to post pictures but now I can't find my phone. It's here somewhere, but at 3:36 AM I am not going to knock myself out searching for it. Maybe when it turns up, if it is still working, I'll stick some in. i wonder if I will be able to get any sleep? I've let the captain have the couch in the cool salon. I'm dreading the tossing and turning ahead in the master cabin!


Oh I do have this one of Kitty watching the sunset and loving her plant made on the fourth. The look on her face, yep that's about how I feel right now... 



 

Wanda Hope Carter
this might need edits - I was lucky just to get it written out ... so no promises there lol
  • July 6, 2018
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IndyLinda
O.M.G. Your 4th was very special. I hacked and coughed, sneezed and choked my way through the day.
  • July 6, 2018
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Wanda Hope Carter
Thanks for reminding me --- how special it was, I will definitely never forget it lol I am sorry you are sick! Praying you get well soon! 
  • July 9, 2018
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Wanda Hope Carter
Update - the ac is fixed, new hot water heater installed and hopefully the diver coming out to scrape the bottom will find it is just a small piece of something tangled around the prop this week.
  • July 9, 2018
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Johnny Rudick
The barge from which the fireworks were launched were set up right out our back door. So we sat on the porch with friends we invited over and watched fireworks the evening of Independence Day. No Incidents.
  • July 9, 2018
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Wanda Hope Carter
That sounds fun!
  • August 5, 2018
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