Friday, April 22, 2011

Savannah and beyond

I have never taken so much time to sail from the Bahamas back to Norfolk. It is a strange feeling but not unpleasant.
In Savannah, we were welcome by the local Brotherhood of the Coast and treated like kings. Arriving a Thunderbolt marina, I did not even have time to go and get my rental car that they were already on the boat to welcome us when I came back. This was the start of a wonderful four days with the brothers and their wives entertaining us in turns. Albert and Alise the first evening, then dinner at Patrick and Wren the next day, then everybody showing up at Tubby's on Friday, and finally a wonderful brunch at Mike and Karen, celebrating Alise's birthday. Certainly the best time I have ever had in Savannah for a long long time.
From Savannah, we left kind of late on Sunday afternoon and dropped anchor immediately south of Port Royal sound in Skull Creek. Very quiet and charming anchorage, on the side of the waterway.
After a quiet night, we left for Beaufort, SC, which was only 15 miles away, and where we arrived at 10:15 in the morning, with plenty of time to enjoy this historic little town, full of southern culture and architecture. We even took a horse drawn carriage tour with a fun filled commentary by a young guide.
We left Beaufort, SC at the 9:00 o'clock opening of the Ladies Island bridge and took the St Helena sound to go outside and sail straight to Southport, NC.
During the night, the gremlins struck again and we lost compass light, engine compartment ventilation, tachometer, oil pressure and temperature indications, and everything controlled by the engine room control panel. I knew at that point that there was no way to stop the engine as we might risk not to be able to restart it. We made it safely to Southport marina, called for a marine electrician, moved the boat by hand away from the fuel dock, and then a little bit later found out that everything had gone back to normal, with no way of identifying the problem, apart from assuming a bad or loose connection somewhere in the vicinity of the starter motor.
I just hope that the problem will not happen again, at least until I arrive in Norfolk.
From Southport we sailed up to Wrightsville Beach and managed to sail over a crab pot that got wrapped around the prop or the shaft. Be reversing the engine a few times, I managed to get rid of most of the lines and material, enough to get to Wrightsville Beach but with still some vibrations indicating probably still some line around the shaft. A diver came to the boat while we were away with Tom and Barbara and left a piece of line on the boat, probably to indicate to me that he had cleared the prop. I still have not seen the diver and I hope I will as I want to know whether the cutlass bearing is intact.
We are now in for some more dining and drinking with Tom and Barbara who are again showing and incredible sense of hospitality.

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