First thing the next morning we got her registered, but in our haste to get under way we forgot to get numbers for the hull
. No biggie, we have current
stickers for AL (boat still in MS), and have the paperwork showing her former status as documented vessel, as well as blank forms to have it documented again. I'm sure there's an opportunity in there somewhere to talk our way out of a ticket. I hope.
I got the wind vane
up on the masthead, but only temporarily. Had to remove the loading coil for the VHF antenna
and use that mount. I'll go up later with another mount and get it all straightened out.
Got the outboard
motor mounted on the bracket. Got the fuel tank
hooked up, and levers and pushrods arranged just so and pulled the handle to crank the motor and.... Chirp, chirp. Nothing. The salty sea captain
from two slips down came over to see what these two lubbers were doing, and if he might get an opportunity to point fingers and laugh at us. He did.
He was also most gracious in his attempts to help, bringing cans of spray lubricant and calling the local Tohatsu service
center to find out the algorithm for fixing "lubber" on their 8hp outboards.
I was just about to get it to crank when I broke the pull cord. Got it replaced with a minimum of tools and parts
going in the water
, but when I pulled the handle, all the rope
stayed out. So we loaded the outboard
in the truck and carried it down to the Tohatsu guy in Pascagoula who, A) was able to diagnose the problem as a carb destroyed by of all things, get this, gasoline! Yes sir, apparently. They have thin "new" fuel
additive ethanol, and you can't put it in marine
engines, only land based ones. It's become such a problem that he had to make a sign (showed me the sign) proclaiming that "ALL fuel
problems related to ethanol will no longer be covered by warranty". Guess he's the one that makes that determination. And B), he was able to know all this without even looking at the engine
. I asked him what it would take in time and money
, he said $250 and 6-7 weeks. We thanked him for his time, and went to Auto Zone. $3 can of carb cleaner and putt putt... Ethanol problem fixed. Amazing. I should go into business fixing outboards. Maybe I can make my own sign.
Finally got underway, and ran aground. Just a baby run aground though, we backed right off and continued on. The big daddy run aground happened at the mouth of the Pascagoula river, in a place so confusing that even the NOAA charts
have the suffix "ish" on all the information given for that area.
When we finally did get under way again, a task accomplished by a measured application of patience, bailing out the bilge
, and the right amount of profanity, we found our way was blocked by a drawbridge that refused to draw. We loitered in the area for perhaps an hour and a half trying to get the bridge operators attention to no avail. Having no operating electrical system
, and therefore no lights, we were forced to tie up to an unused wharf to wait for dawn.
What do you do when tied up in a strange city? Find a bar. Or a Waffle House. We did both, but in the wrong order.
I was quite the sight. While on the transom trying to get the outboard to crank, my (favorite) shorts were split up the front of both legs to the belt loops by an ornery cotter pin living on the backstay turnbuckle. It also inflicted several lacerations to my knees and thighs, and if it weren't for the protective layer of 5200 all over me, I might have been in real danger
of exsanguination. So with shredded shorts flapping in the breeze showing my boxers with little guitars on them to the world, diesel
stained T-shirt, and hair all standing up waving to each other, we struck out across strange lands. We wanted hot food
, cold beer
, and a flush toilet.
After finding all three, we arrived at the boat to find the bridge up. Sigh. If we had navigation
lights we could have motored back the two miles to our slip, the car, and a real bed
. Alas, no rest for the weary. The long night was a mixture of fitful sleep interrupted by trains blaring by not 200 yards from us. How do you get fingernail gouges out of a fiberglass headliner
When the sun finally came up and we could leave, it wouldn't have fit the pattern unless the engine
gave out right before we got to the drawbridge. Stupid ethanol! O, wait, I just had the fuel hose caught in the lazarette hatch
. Nevermind, back under way. Finally at the slip, exhausted and sore, I knew I'd one day be able to look back on this and laugh about it... But not that day.