Greenwich, NJ to Chesapeake City, MD
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 9
We departed from Greenwich, NJ before sunrise at 0640 hours and headed out of Cohansey River with a current giving us a boost... we enjoyed while we could because soon we would heading out in to Delaware Bay and have a 1.5 knots current against us... :(
Just outside of Cohansey River we hit a crab pot with the starboard wheel... a quick thud and luckily nothing stayed on the wheel... bits and pieces of what was the float remained in our wake. But we did have the current on our nose slowing us down to 5-5.5 knots.. slow going... winds were as predicted blowing out of the NNE at 15-20 knots and it was causing a short 1-2 foot chop... just making noise on the hull... it was not affecting our ride at all... and it was bright and SUNNY!!! WE had gone to sleep thinking we would be having rain to deal with so the sun out was awesome!
Not much ship or boat traffic at all... the night before coming up from Cape May. NJ there were 5 or 6 ships running in the ship channel... communicating their approaches and passes on the VHF radio... today the radio was silent for the most part.
After we made the turn to the north adjacent to the nuclear plant we started noticing a lot of large debris in the water... mostly braches and chunks of trees... enough we had to keep turning to avoid them... just before the C&D Canal the debris got really bad... just in front of was a large patch of branches and other debris...suddenly, 100 feet in front of the boat a large tree bobbed to the surface... it was maybe 20 feet long and 8-12 inches in diameter... it was bobbing from submerged to on the surface... there was not enough time to try and swerve and avoid it... I took the engines out of forward and dropped them into reverse to slow us down as much as possible before we hit the tree... reversing of the engines slowed us quickly with the help of the strong current on our nose and we hit the tree just as we stopped moving... I continued to back down slowly and back away from the tree. Suddenly, BAM, BAM, BAM, BAM... a loud banging from the wheels... we had picked something up in the debris field... I took the engines out of gear and we drifted with the current until we were well clear of the tree and the debris field... I put the starboard engine in gear... no noise... put the starboard engine in gear... BAM, BAM, BAM... a loud banging on the hull... SIGH.
I continued forward on one engine and headed toward the mouth of the C&D Canal just an 1/8 of a mile in front of us... 3 knots.... UGH! I looked out at the water we were traveling in... it was a lovely shade of brown and appeared more like coffee than water... plus the current was ripping at about 2 knots now... I did not want to dive under the boat in these conditions... IDEA!!!! let's call TowBoatUS and maybe they can dive and clear the wheel or at least tow us to a dock where I could dive safely.
The closest towboat was at Chesapeake City and informed us that they would be to us with in the hour... 1115 hours and we continued slowly east across the C&D Canal using only the starboard engine... 3 knots is really really slow!
1200 hours I could see TowBoatUS approaching us from the east... he hailed us on the VHF and let us know he would be right there... he came alongside... I asked do you dive to clear props? He replied no but I can get a diver to come out to where ever he towed us... I asked how much... he said diver is $150 an hour with a 2 hour minimum... OK... just tow us to Chesapeake City and I'll dive under the boat myself... secured the towline and off we went. According to my chartplotter the would take us about 2 hours arriving around 1400 hours. I killed the engines and saved some fuel!!!
Halfway, through the tow the towboat hailed me... if you're wondering why we slowed down it's because I've lost one engine... I'll keep trying to get it started but wanted to let you know what was going on... I acknowledged and we continued on... Susan had just made us lunch so we enjoyed the ride and ate our lunch.
It was not long before the towboat hailed me again and said he got the engine started and all was okay... something to do with switching fuel tanks but all was good now... :)
We arrived at Chesapeake City just at 1400 hours and the towboat came alongside to be our port engine as we docked... the floating face docks were wide open with the exception of one 20 foot sailboat that we slipped right behind. 1420 hours and we secure to the dock... :)
Now it was time to go for a swim... water conditions had not changed.. coffee colored and maybe 1 inch of visibility... but no current to deal with. I pulled the Hookah rig and my dive gear from the lazarette... jumped into the water... BRRRRRRRR! it was cold!!! dove under the boat and went to port wheel... I found 10-20 of poly line and attached to it was a piece of steel rebar... it was maybe 6 feet long... at least that was how long it was before it wrapped around the shaft two times like a pretzel. I managed to wrestle it free untwisting the wraps... took me about 45 minutes. It damaged two blades of the wheel and I will have to swap it out fro one of the spares we have... but I think I will hire a diver to do that job... :)
Jumped out of the water took a HOT shower to warm up and noticed that somehow I had injured my left wrist... the top of it is swelled up with a big knot... will ice it and see how it does... :)
We traveled today for 7 hours and 40 minutes covering 33.38 nautical miles and averaging 4.35 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 377.83 nautical miles
Hours: 65 hours 36 minutes
Avg Spd: 5.75 knots
Days not moving: 1