You won’t believe this…

Today we got our props back on and believe it or not today we ran aground again, but not necessarily in that order. More on this later but first a word about the rest of the day.

Early this morning Jan wanted to make a quick Publix run so we jumped on the Go-Line and within 10 minutes we were at the grocery store. We knew that the return bus on the opposite side would be back here in 20 minutes. A number of boaters had the same idea and inside the Publix looked like that TV show The Great Race. Everyone wanted to catch that return bus or else they would have an hour wait.


We had all of our stuff at the register in less than 15 minutes and I was paying for it when Jan took off with the cart. She was in such a hurry that she forgot a case of water and I had to chase her out into the parking lot hollering for her to come back as I staggered along with the water. I am not sure that all the boaters made that bus but we did and that was a close one.

Since we knew the props would not be here to put on until late afternoon we decided to take another dinghy ride. This time we wanted to explore up in the mangroves north of the marina. Unfortunately we had no idea about the depth of the water back there and assumed that a little dinghy would have no problem. Bad assumption. The motor struck bottom and the propeller hit. That is the bad news. The good news is that a dinghy motor is a lot different than our big Cummins diesels. The little outboard has a plastic propeller that will flex before it breaks and there is a shear pin on the prop shaft that is designed to break under stress and save the shaft and prop. It worked as designed. Of course now we were in the middle of a mangrove swamp with a motor that ran fine but no prop that would turn. Oh, did I mention that we only have one oar in the dinghy? That’s all it came with and I have tried several times to find another. Ever tried to row a boat with one oar? And I should add that the wind and current were running against us so we were being blown deeper into the mangroves. Jan said it would be our luck to finally see an alligator. I tried paddling but made little progress. So we hailed a Sheriff’s boat but they could not get to us due to shallow water. Finally some fishermen came along from the opposite direction and agreed to tow us back to Cbay. God bless them.

Back aboard I pulled the propeller and Jan agreed to take the bus to West Marine for a shear pin and a pair of oars. I would wait on our diver.

Paul from Able Diver arrived and we began the job of replacing the big wheels. Everything went smoothly but West Marine did not have anything Jan needed so she went to the ABC Store nearby so as not to waste a trip. The bar is well stocked but the dinghy is out of commission until we can find a marine supply that carries what we need.

Yes shallow water is the bane of all boaters and I cannot tell you how many people down here have stories of the damage they have done. While Paul was under the boat another diver came over and asked if he was available to do another job so I signed him up to remove another set of props in the morning and replace them with spares. This is a booming business but I am tired of contributing to it.

We travel at first light tomorrow. Be watching the SPOT.