Kilkenny Marina, GA
3/4 Monday, 1197.3, 63/45, sunny, S15-20>NW15 - Last night, I did something I’ve never been able to do before - I acknowledged that we’d done all we could do to prepare for storm conditions and then I went to bed - AND I SLEPT. The worst thunderstorms passed just to the north of us, for which we are grateful. The Duplin River was a comfortable anchorage. In the morning, after breakfast, I rowed Murphy to shore at the ferry dock - 35 minutes each way, but a pleasant row at mostly slack high tide.
When I got back to Grace, we loaded Coquille on the foredeck, upped anchor, and motored north. The shoaled curve at the Crescent River proved a problem and we ran gently aground on sand. Dobbs was able to back and maneuver us off and continue on our way. We were running close to low tide almost all day, our speed matching the tidal flow - not good in Georgia’s unsupported ICW. We did get to sail across Sapelo Sound.
Then, as I took the helm so Dobbs could eat lunch, and I shifted out and then back in to gear to let a catamaran pass, the transmission slowed the engine. Why?! We’d just changed the fluid the day before leaving Titusville. Dobbs jumped up from the table and throttled back and the transmission went back to normal. I was rattled. The wind was honking and we’d just entered a narrow channel too deep for anchoring. We continued under motor, running fine, to Kilkenny Marina. Once we were tied up, checked in, and fueled up, Dobbs inspected the engine and transmission. The engine was fine, but the transmission was low on fluid - none showing on the dipstick. “What’s going on?” we wondered. Dobbs found no leaks around the housing but noted that the vent hole in the gear case was moist. He recalled that when we received the rebuilt transmission back from Brad, the dipstick included a new “tip” component that changed how fluid moved through/around the dipstick as it warms. Brad said it was a piece he found dropped in the housing, so he pressed it back into place. The dipstick tube is hollow and has a weep hole at the upper end. Could it be that with the tube end plugged, the transmission fluid was pressurizing and blowing out the vent hole in the top of the case? At Brad’s suggestion, Dobbs removed the piece. In 30 hours, we’ll know if it makes a difference. We also bought extra ATF at the marina store. Kilkenny Marina is an oasis of relaxed atmosphere, quiet, calm, and dark, starry skies. We shall sleep well tonight.