Wednesday, August 10th – East Ft. Myers, FL
We are at Jack’s Marine South on the Caloosahatchee River about 10-15 miles from Labelle. Tuesday afternoon, after we went through our first lock on the Okeechobee Waterway, the boat started sounding funny. Then all of a sudden, we heard a loud sound and the boat stopped and would not go…sounded like metal scrapping against metal. It would kind of go in reverse…so Dave managed to get it pulled over to the side and tied to a private dock. We tied up at a picturesque place…complete with horses roaming in the yard…a real southern charm of a place. The homeowner was very nice, very understanding of our need to be tied to her dock.
After a call to Volvo, they dispatched a tow boat. It was to be there in 2 hours. But, of course it took 3 ½ hours for the tow boat to arrive and they sent the “tow boat captain from hell”. He had to tow us back through the lock to get to Jack’s. What a trip! His tow line was less than 15 feet long. Dave got on the bow and Barbara on the stern with boat hooks and managed to keep MemoryMaker from smacking real hard against the sides of the lock, but the anchor got a good whack. When we arrived at the marina, 5 miles from where we broke, the tow boat captain literally crashed us directly into the dock, bow first. The anchor drilled the pilling; the tow eye chewed up the dock decking and after about 5 minutes of scrambling around we finally got tied up. He then gave us the $835.00 bill. He billed 6 hours for his service with 1 hour being a night time charge. Fortunately, we have towing insurance…
Jack’s Marina has a Ft. Myers address. It is a fairly small mom and pop operation. They have goats, a donkey, chickens, cows, horses and several dogs on the grounds. Sue, the sister of Jack, and her husband run the facility. Sue is a wonder woman. This morning she moved our boat, by herself, without starting the engine, from the front of their place around into their canal…past a half dozen boats tied to their dock. She jumped on and off the other boats and literally walked it around before Dave knew what was going on. Barbara followed her around, but she asked for “hands off” while she did her work. She lifted the boat using a travel lift. They pulled the props off, drained the fluid out of the out-drive, and found that it was full of metal shavings. The technicians said they did not recommend rebuilding…they said it would be best to put in a brand new out-drive. After a call to Volvo, they agreed and are sending one out “overnight”. But it won’t arrive until Friday. So we’ll rent a car…and do some exploring by land here for the next couple of days.
To have to be broken down, this turned out to be a good spot. Once they discovered what the problem was, they put the plug back in the boat and put us back in the water. That was going above and beyond what we expected…but certainly nice to be able to stay on the boat…as opposed to having to rent a motel room. Chuck, the manager, said they’d do everything they could to get us back underway by weekend.