Well, we got away from the marina as scheduled on Wednesday morning at 0800. We motored up the river into a cold breeze,not much above freezing. I know, we are whimps down here complaining about near freezing temps, but we were chilly.

Things were going well. I had gotten the computer up and running, and the GPS was interfaced with it, showing our position on the chart. The new chart bag kept everything organized in the cockpit. Mur tidied up the lines and fenders from the dock and we both took a breath of relief to be underway once more.

I made some nice hot oatmeal for breakfast and we kept boogying along. About 1000 hrs, Mur went below. While there he noticed some water on the floor and, like any good husband/sailor, he wiped it up. Then noticed more. He pulled the floorboard giving access to the bilge. Yikes, his finger got wet pulling it up! We have water almost up to the floor. We are sinking! He had turned the bilge pump off as it was running on his last trip below and sometimes it gets stuck on. In retrospect, it might have
been running with a little water although he did check and saw nothing unusual. He sprang into the cockpit, grabbed the manual bilge pump handle and said ” We’re sinking!”. I slowed the boat and took over the pump while Mur looked for the leak. He check all the thru-hulls and things were ok there. Now, empty the cockpit locker to get access to the engine. “Shut her down” he said tersely. He had found the leak. It was the stuffing box. The locking nut had backed all the way off and water was pouring
in. While he repaired the problem, I continued to pump. Soon, the water was all pumped out and we started the motor once again and put it in gear while Murray watched the stuffing box. Slowly I increased the revs while Murray watched. All was well.

What had happened? Well, in the workyard Murray had removed the old packing material from the stuffing box and put in fresh. To do that, he backed off the locking nut. This is always difficult to do and Murray remembered a friend saying that he just leaves his finger tight. This seemed like a good idea and that is how he left ours. And, it was fine at the start, while we putted along the dock. But eventually, it worked itself loose and allowed water to pour in around the prop shaft. So, needless
to say, our locking nut is now locked down tight.

That was enough excitement for that day. The rest was quite enjoyable and even warmed up. Murray put up the spare VHF antenna and hooked up my new ais system. This connects to my computer and shows, on the computer charting, the position and course of ships around us. It is a wonderful addition to our nav station and, since the radar is about dead, saved us spending another $4000US. This ais unit was only $189 plus the cost of a VHF antenna.

Today, Thanksgiving down here, we traveled with little other company and made good time. There is a turkey breast roasting in the oven to be enjoyed later. Because of the cold and because the boat’s system were mostly untested yet this year, we decided to stay inside on the ICW. So, it will take us a few days to get south at approx 50 to 60 miles traveled each day.

Take care and hugs to you all,
Heather & Murray