Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Passage to Charleston Day1

Kristen here – today is Wednesday 6/10/09. The plan was to leave this morning at 8AM to head to Charleston. We got up at 6:30 to check the weather one last time with Chris Parker. He said we were good to go, so we started the preparations. The final thing to do was start the engine. Harumph…harrumph…harrumph…no turning over for us. Lately our starter has been giving us trouble, so this was not unexpected. We waited for the starter motor to cool down and tried again. After going through this cycle several times, we decided to swap in a new starter motor.

Our friends on Miakoda were having engine trouble as well and had to order a bunch of parts from the states. We piggybacked their order with a new starter motor for us. Thank goodness we did! Suprisingly enough, it only took about 45 minutes to take out the old and install the new. Chris walked over to let Shiver know we were having issues, and I started unscrewing the bolts on the motor. When I got a big spark, I realized that it might be a good idea to cut the power to the motor! The next hurdle was the bolts holding the starter to the engine. I tried with all my might and they wouldn’t budge. I let Chris have a whack at it with no success. Then I brought out not so gentle persuader…the hammer! The gentle persuader is my name for the rubber mallet. The hammer did the trick.

The new starter fit perfectly. Then it was back in with 3 bolts and five wires and we were in business. Chris went up to start the engine and we all held our breath. If the new starter didn’t work, we would have to check every wire running from the battery to the starter. I must admit, I stood back away from the engine opening. With fingers crossed and a large prayer, Chris turned over the engine and it immediately sprang to life! Yipeeeeeeee!!!! Us one, engine zero!

It’s always a huge feeling of accomplishment when we can fix something ourselves. It’s funny, we had a yanmar guy come out to the boat when we were in atlantis, and he swore it was the battery. We knew it wasn’t because the generator starts off the same battery with no problem. It just goes to show that if we can do it, anyone can. It’s a lot of work, but with the right books and common sense you can do it. I’m not saying we can rebuild the engine, but some simple troubleshooting can solve a lot of problems.

Once we finished reveling in our mechanical abilities, we pulled away from the dock and headed off. Shiver was right behind us. It’s very comforting knowing that they will be out there with us for this trip. As I sit here, I can look behind and see them, and I can see the pink blip on our radar that represents them. I know I will be happy to see that blip for the next three nights.

The seas are completely flat except for some long and low rollers. The wind is going from 0 to 4 knots, so we are motoring for now. At about noon today we were ushered along by a pod of dolphins, many of them babies. The last time that happened we were working our way down the east coast. They didn’t stay with us very long this time, but it’s still a beautiful sight. We all rushed up to the bow to watch them dart back and forth just under the bow of our boat.

We find it very fitting that we’re traveling with Shiver back to Charleston, because Charleston is where we first met them. We saw them again in Vero Beach, and after that they headed down to Cuba with Evolution. We were dying to go with them, but as of yet Cuba is still off limits. We have no regrets though, because the Bahamas were just beautiful!

I have mixed feelings about leaving the Bahamas. The islands we saw were all so different, each one with something even more special than the next. This place is truly amazing and beautiful. We only scratched the surface on what there is to see here. We missed a lot of the southern islands, and a good part of my favorite islands, the Exhumas. For those reasons, I’m quite reluctant to leave. We were being pressured by MiaKoda to come with them to Abacos, and I must admit it was hard to say no. But we’re all missing the states as well. I miss my family and friends. Chris would like to be a bit closer to work. And, quite frankly, I need a new pair of running shoes! Just kidding, I do need sneakers, but it’s no reason to leave paradise. I can’t put my finger on it, but for some reason I just want to be home for a while. Maybe it’s because everything here is new and unfamiliar and difficult. It has its rewards, but it is tiring. Maybe I just need a good mall where you can actually get things you need. It’s a lot like camping. It’s fun for a while, but you wouldn’t want to live like that.

So for now, we have a good weather window and the timing just felt right. I’m excited to head north and hit some familiar and some new places.

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