04 April 2012 | The Marina at Emerald Bay, Great Exuma
This morning was the nadir of our cruising life so far.
Yesterday Bud was still feeling ill. He ate a little, but could only stay up for a few hours at a time. I spent the morning e-filing our taxes. Never a pleasant task. Jamie and Adler are gone; we miss them. We have no more visitors to look forward to this season. I went and visited with Ed and Karin aboard Passages for a bit. Bud was able to walk over in the late afternoon and say good-bye. They left this morning and are going back to St. Mary’s, GA, as the weather allows.
We’d decided that we would try to move on at least a little bit ourselves. We’ve been in the George Town area for quite a while. We wanted to go up and visit the folks we met from the Perry Marine Center on Lee Stocking Island. It’s only about 16 miles total, so a reasonable undertaking for two people on the mend. I had a bad night, a relapse of sorts. I took ibuprofen at 3 AM for my sore throat and achy muscles, but was feeling well enough for the short trip by morning.
We took down the awning, I cleaned up the boat, we stowed the electric coffeepot. We put away the electric cord, topped off the water and settled our bill here. Bud topped off the Racor and checked the engine oil. We were ready to go. Bud started the engine while I was down below to turn the fuel supply back on (we always shut it off now, hoping to minimize air in the system). But Bud forgot one important part of his routine. He always checks the gearshift lever to make sure the engine’s in neutral and the throttle to make sure it’s at idle. He didn’t. Adler had been playing with the levers. The engine won’t start in gear, but it started in neutral, started racing and fell into gear before Bud could react. There was a horrible noise from the transmission as Bud switched the engine off. He started the engine again in neutral at idle speed and it came on just fine. Our neighbor came to help us cast off the lines, but as the last lines were loosed and Bud put the transmission in reverse the horrible noise returned. We tied back up. We tried it again just a bit with Bud below and me at the controls. It makes the horrible grinding noise in both forward and reverse.
By this afternoon we were resigned to being here a while longer. I finally reached someone from ZF transmissions, and we found someone on the island to pull the transmission on Friday. (I thank Joe, on Onward, for his online cruising guide to the Bahamas with listings of local people with phone numbers!) We think the transmission will have to be shipped to Florida for evaluation and repair or replacement. It has 150 hours of operation on it. We spent way more than we’d hoped or planned on repairs and upgrades last summer and now we’re faced with another major repair. But we are safe and this is a very nice and reasonable marina. We will be fine.