On Saturday, we picked up our repaired generator and departed our friends’ dock the next day, headed for West Palm and a possible weather window to cross to the islands. The weather guru, Chris Parker on Bel Ami, had said that it might be the last opening before the end of the year.
Murray made preparations on deck while I baked some muffins, hard-boiled some eggs and made our dinner in advance. Due to the limited length of the window, we decided to head straight to Great Harbour Cay, in the Berry Islands. This would entail a departure around 10 or 11 am out of West Palm Beach.
Almost every mystery story starts with ” it was a dark and foggy night”. But this was a bright but foggy day, as we headed on south of Ft Pierce in the ICW. Suddenly both of us again heard the ” squealing ” that signified problems in the transmission. Veering off to the side of the waterway, we stopped and dropped anchor. Murray pulled everything out of the cockpit locker and checked the transmission. The drain plug was lying below the transmission! And, of course, there again was no fluid in the transmission.
It was long past the time to replace our old lifelines as the vinyl coating was cracked and rusty in many places. All of the stainless fittings would also need replacing as the swaged ends showed the effects of corrosion. A professional rigger is needed to install the swaged ends and it would be expensive.
The weird sound was getting louder and now was almost a screech. Just 2 miles behind us was the dock at Reynolds where we had worked so hard on the boat for 2 weeks. Would we need to return? Could we return?