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Date:  5 September 2013. The Big News.

A couple nights ago was momentous -- and thanks to a boat friend I've spent an embarrassingly little amount of money on a new engine and transmission for my girl. Currently I've a gasoline power plant way too large for this tiny boat and, well, it's just not right. A small diesel has been on my wish list for ages, and now, well, I could not be happier. Bob on Maverick sure knows the way to a girl's heart -- right thru her engine block!

Still, I am facing the quandary all boaters face at one time or another: do we take the time from cruising to make something right, or deal with what's not quite so, and actually go places? It's a tough choice but this time I've decided that time on the hard is worth the improved boat at the end of the process.

You see, it comes down to the reason I'm in Carrabelle. I'd left Apalachicola and was cruising along toward here, planning a couple weeks layover, when the engine bogged and died. A couple times hitting the start button and nothing happened so next I lifted the hatch and saw what no one ever wants to see: oil and water atop the engine. It's grey and ugly. Frustrated and sad would be an accurate description of my emotions at the time....

Still, it was fortunate that the engine didn't catch when I tried starting her. That would have made things worse and trust me when I say they were bad enough. Argh. Thank goodness for TowBoatUS insurance. [http://towboatus.com]


Copper Belly is one of the Carrabelle TowBoatUS rescue boats

Captain Dave hauled me into Carrabelle and I'm in a perfectly lovely spot across from C-Quarters Marina [http://www.c-quartersmarina.com] fabulous folks there too. But anyway, the problem with the engine was a blown head gasket (fixed that, including replacement of all gaskets on the way to the top) however, my confidence was rocked. For ages I was hoping to find someone who had a little diesel and wanted to trade.... Hey, a girl can dream, can't she?

Well, I suppose it's natural to wonder how my good fortune with regards to the diesel all came about. It's because we're boaters. You see, when I was on the east coast Bob Winter on Maverick was and is still a friend. He needed wiring done, a water filter installed, spreader lights fixed, et al. Well, over time lots of little things and like true boaters, no money was exchanged. Out here, we help each other. [Oh, and don't think Bob was taking advantage -- there were dinners involved! Shrimp ones. I love shrimp.]

But anyway, often wannabe's wonder how they will make money afloat. Seriously, it's not about money so much as helping other people. I help you and you'll help another individual, and eventually it will all come back and good things simply happen.

  • I replaced a sheave at the top of a mast once for two home baked cookies. They were good too.

  • Given away charts I no longer needed

  • Passed along a Garmin45 to a guy

  • Recently a friend wanted to try using a GPS and I had a hand-held Garmin72 with 12-volt power adaptor cord so now it's his

  • A dinghy (a sailor had none and I had two)

It's all just stuff, you know?

That's what folks do and I believe the sense of camaraderie that exists on the water is exacerbated because we truly are alone. Cruisers travel so we don't get the opportunity to establish a long term knowledge base unique to the various areas we visit. We're on our own and thus tend to unite and help each other.

Boaters who have been out for a while usually have a generous spirit and are a pleasure, so help your buddies and who knows? Three years later a fellow cruiser might just make your life totally amazing. Have I mentioned Bob's taking payments? How cool is that?!  Of course I will name the engine BOB.

Have you swapped out an engine with a completely different model?
What went wrong?  What do you wish you knew then that you now know?

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Categories: Boats, Characters, In the Bilges, Locations,  Money

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