Good Morning, Georgia?

I was nearly rocked out of bed, again, by the wake of a passing ship! We’d certainly anchored near the shipping channel, just as far outside as we possibly could without running aground. But we hadn’t expected the Savannah River to be quite this bustling! We were all so tired that I’m sure we slept soundly between the wakes, but I did count at least six ships that passed during the night (midnight – 9:00) and each wake jostled me awake. This time the sun was shining and it was time to get motivated! I peeked my head out of the hatch…good morning, Georgia!? Not the scenery I’d hoped to see upon completing our passage to the Bahamas. But here we were and we had an engine to repair in a city about which we knew nothing.IMG_6876

Fortunately, we still had an AT&T data plan on the iPad which enabled us to search for information via the World Wide Web even though we were anchored in the middle of nowhere. Thank goodness for cellular towers! The data plan also enabled us to make phone calls via Skype since we had stellar service. Brian started searching for anchoring options near Savannah. He quickly determined that there were no anchoring options near Savannah, only an expensive city dock. Savannah seemed to have a very industrial waterfront. “Well, shouldn’t we just look for a marina then?” I suggested. I did not want a repeat of last year’s two-month engine dilemma. We agreed it would be best to be at a marina with a broken down engine, rather than anchored. We also agreed that a mechanic could quickly diagnose the problem and get it resolved. Brian started another search for nearby, full-service marinas. In the meantime, I’d referred to the OCC website for a listing of Port Officers. We were in luck! Tony Perry is the Port Officer at Savannah, GA and I thought we’d better pick his brain for suggestions.

Thanks to Tony’s recommendation, we made arrangements with the Hinckley Boatyard which was located in Thunderbolt, GA just seven miles up river from our position. A check of the oil showed it was not terribly diluted with fuel. And so we hauled anchor and motored toward the boatyard. Tony checked in with us via phone call along the way to ensure we were alright.

It was a slow but scenic ride. Brian and BMac spotted an otter as it swam past, and we spotted several herons, egrets, and pelicans. We received our first, “Welcome to Georgia!” from the bridge tender of the bascule bridge on the Wilmington River. I hailed him on the VHF to inquire about the opening schedule and he pleasantly replied, “Well, how long do you want to wait?” The bridge opened on command. I did tell him that we were enjoying the scenery, to which he directed us to continue forward and he’d open once we’d reached buoy #27. BMac was thrilled to stop traffic! He lives near a swing bridge in Annapolis, MD and has had his fair share of commuter waiting time for passing boats. Now it was BMac’s turn! We watched quite the line-up of cars pass over the four-lane bridge once it closed behind us.IMG_6882Just around the bend was the Hinckley Boatyard.IMG_6883Amy met us at the dock and helped us to secure Rode Trip. BMac and I joined Amy in the boatyard’s office to get our paperwork situated and explain our engine problem while Brian opened and tidied the engine room. Within the hour the boatyard’s mechanic, Bob, was listening intently to his newest patient’s symptoms and taking a look inside to confirm his diagnosis. The culprit was a bad seal on the fuel injector pump. Brian and I had a quick pow-wow to decide how best to solve the problem. Bob had assured Brian that he could successfully uninstall the pump himself, but that it would have to be sent out for repair. With flashbacks from last year’s exhaust rebuild and a schedule to which we had to adhere (*side story) Brian made the call that he’d better have Bob uninstall the pump. After all, we’d come to a mechanic! Bob had the fuel injector pump uninstalled in approximately two hours. The pump was sent to the shop on the same afternoon that we’d arrived and was scheduled to be rebuilt as quickly as possible.

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Our OCC Port Officer, Tony, stopped by the boatyard. We were quickly acquainted and Tony assisted us with a few errands. We can’t thank him enough for being so helpful! During our stay at the boatyard, Tony was only a phone call away and he even stopped by several times to visit. But, let’s not forget that BMac was on vacation…we must make the best of Thunderbolt!

*As if we haven’t learned our lesson that it’s not wise to cruise with a schedule, the universe has reminded us with a broken fuel injector pump. BMac had a flight scheduled out of the Abacos that needed rearranging. We also had flights scheduled out of the Abacos as we’d planned to join our family for Thanksgiving. Now our plans are dependent on a speedy repair and, as always, the weather.