Monday, February 20, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

There is a truism in boating.  You never cruise on a schedule.  That will certainly hold true today (Monday) in that our planned departure from Isle of Hope is on hold for two reasons. 

First, the electric windlass is dead.  It's used to lift 200 feet of 3/8" chain attached to an 80 pound anchor.  It normally operates by flipping a switch in the helm station.   In the event of a failure, there is a short metal stick that I can insert into the drum to lift it by hand, but that ain't happening unless I absolutely positively have no other option.  I have an option.  Stay at the marina and get it fixed.

I grabbed my multimeter and went into the vee-berth where the anchor locker is.  I checked the battery dedicated to operating the windlass and it checked out fine.  I replaced all of the batteries on Drift Away just before we left Stamford, so no surprise there.   Next I inspected the electrical stuff between the battery and the windlass.  Rain water can enter the hawse pipe (for my landlubber friends, the hole in the deck that the anchor chain passes through) and soak everything electrical, which it had done.  All the electrial connections were corroded.  See?

I'm pretty sure that corroded connections is the problem, but my aching back and advanced years prevented me from fixing it in the tight confines of the chain locker, and I called the marina for younger help.  Their electrician will be here today to sort this out.

Defeated, I packed in my multimeter and decided to take the dogs up to the fenced in boat storage area for a romp.  They ran and played as they usually do.  It was sunny and very warm, up into the upper 70s.  Before I knew it, both dogs disappeared over the bank.   I walked over to check on them and Ruby was swimming.  No surpise there.  Ruby loves the water and swims like an otter.  Chevy decided that it looked like fun and joined her.  I'm usually OK with swimming dogs, but there are alligators down here, and I nervously looked for tell tale signs.  Being a yankee, I'm not sure what those signs are.  Floating logs with eyes... a ticking clock.... not really sure.  So I called for the dogs to get out of the water, which they eventually did. 

Chevy came out limping.  He sat down and started licking his right front paw.  I checked on him and saw blood.  A lot of it. He cut his paw on something, probably an oyster shell.  PAMELA!  I got both  dogs on their leashes and dragged them back to Drift Away and hollered for Pam.  The dogs were covered in river mud, and as I hosed them off, she came with gauze and tape and antiseptic.

Poor Chevy.  He was a hurting dog.  Pam stuck his paw in antiseptic, which must have really stung because poor Chevy whimpered, something pit bulls rarely do.   But he's a good dog, and Chevy let Pam clean his cut and inspect it closely.  He was bleeding profusely.  Pam declared that he's going to need stitches.  Great.  It's Sunday.  The vets offices are all closed, except for the emergency clinics which charge a bazillion dollars an hour.  He's not that injured.  He can wait until Monday.  So Pam cleaned it really good and wrapped it in gauze and tape.   We'll take him to the vet this morning.

He tolerated it quite well.  Being a rescue, he trusts us, and knew we were helping him.  He's a good boy.

He was lame though, and couldn't get up the steps to the boat, so Pam helped him.

Chevy is a paw licker.  He licks his paws all the time, even when they don't need licking.  Put gauze pads on his paws and he's going to lick them for sure.  He was still bleeding quite a bit, and add licking on to that and you've got a mess.  His gauze pads were bleeding through.  Pam fixed it by putting a zip lock baggie over it.

Chevy didn't like it.  Not one bit.

Today's plan of leaving Isle of Hope Marina and anchoring at Sepalo Island has been put on hold.  The electrician is coming for the windlass, and Chevy is headed to the vet's for stitches. 

Such is the cruising life.  You don't make plans.  You just have general ideas.

10:30 AM Update- Pam took Chevy to see Dr. Christopher Gall at the Chatham Animal Hospital in Savannah.   The doc said that Pam did a great job cleaning up the cut and it looked really good, especially for an oyster shell cut that often gets quickly infected.  Chevy's cut took five staples to close, and he was sent home with some serious pain meds that knocked him on his butt, but he will heal up just fine.  Pam will take the staples out in ten days and then he'll be back to his old self.

Kudos to Dr. Gall, and to Isle of Hope Marina for making an exception to their no-dogs-in-the-loaner-car policy so Chevy could get to the vet.


  1. It's the solenoid and the connections :) ask me how I know.

  2. Can you put the Whaler in the water while at the dock to check out everything before you anchor ?

    Bill Kelleher

    1. Can't do, Bill. The Whaler has to launch off the starboard side, and we're tied to the dock on that side. We'll just have to test it in real time, no time for beta testing.

  3. Why do I have this picture in my mind of the Whaler buzzing down the ICW, jowls blowing in the wind, and the motor falls off...... (Don't forget the oars)

  4. Hope Chevy is fine. Do they make dog water shoes? The south is loaded with clams and it would be a shame for the dogs to not to be able to do what comes naturally. Don't let the shallow waters of Georgia fool you, there are definitely gators in the water! You'll see them heading down towards Sapelo Sound. With the warm winter they should be pretty active, so be careful.

    1. I'm really nervous about alligators down here. I'm not sure how shy they are around marinas, but I'm guessing that if they're fine hanging around golf courses, they have no problem being around marinas.

  5. Poor Chevy. I hope he heals up soon.

    When I saw this I immediately thought of you guys!

    Then there's this one. Should be used as an instructional video when dealing with gators! :-)

    Of course, Gertie already knows all that silly stuff! *wink*

  6. Sorry to hear about Chevy - with pets on board it will always be something. But, it's all worth it.