Wednesday 27 May, passage Cayman to Chesapeake day 13, Cape Lookout inlet:
The wind is forecast to veer from E to SE today. Where we are anchored, in the strong current, that will put wind against tidal flow and likely have Cloudy sailing over her anchor chain. I hate it when that happens. Nothing worse than the chain rubbing on the hull, as it had done last December in St. Augustine, taking churns out of our newly painted antifowl. So after breakfast we move across the bay, back to where we had been when we first arrived, out of the tidal flow and tucked in under the beach, sheltered from the new wind.
After sanding and a 2nd coat of varnish on the companionway wood, the next job to tackle is the outboard. It needs its first 20h service. We’ve had no less than 3 of these Suzuki 20HP outboards in the last 3 years! This is only the second one to make it to its first 20hrs service! The first we lost over the side in 2018 between Martinique and St. Lucia (that was a big ooopsy!). Second one got stolen in Puerto Rico 2019. And this is the third.
With the outboard positioned on the pushpit rail facing inboard I start the strip down to get to the oil filter. With oil and filter changed and not even a drip of spilled oil, I comment to Oana how things are so easy once you have done them once before. But I spoke too soon.
Next task, changing the gear oil, was not my proudest moment. Last time we got in a mess too. That was in the marina in Barbados. I swore then that I would invest in a proper pump to push the oil in. But I was too stingy and never purchased one. So here we are again with a simple tube of gear oil held in the lower port, and with slippery oily hands I attempt to make it seal while I squeeze the tube. 1/2 goes in, 1/2 squirts out. And when I finally see the oil come out the top port (indicating it’s full) the tube slips and all the oil pours out again before I can get the plugs back in. And in the gusty wind, a load of it splatters onto the deck. I scream in frustration. The damned oil is everywhere, except where it’s supposed to be. What a stupid system. And for most outboards it’s like this. Surely to goodness there could be a better design to refill this oil?
After a cup of calming tea (tea always makes things seem better, if you are British!) I clean up and go back to it with a fresh mind and a new tube of oil. This time I nail it. I manage to get the oil in and get those damned little plugs screwed back in before it all escapes again. A gear-oil pump is now on the shopping list! I’m quite relieved when the engine is back in it’s place, all cleaned and serviced. Thank goodness it will be another 100 hours use before I have to do that again. Assuming, that is, this one will remain in our ownership for that long!
There are only 10 boats anchored in the inlet now. What a contrast to the weekend. Interestingly, 2 large coast guard boats (ships really) are anchored here too. It never ceases to amaze us just how much first responder focus there is in the USA. Whether it be a well equipped fire stations in even the smallest of towns, police boats/cars/helicopters and coast guard ships & helicopters. I’ll bet there are more coast guard boats in any single coastal US state than in any single country in the rest of the world. Just what do they all do? Well, tonight at least, 2 ships do nothing, here at anchor.
We meant to watch movies again in the evening but by the time we came to it, it was already too late. These evenings seem much shorter now that it’s light so late.