We’re fixed…Brand New Out-Drive Installed

Friday, August 12th – Ft. Myers, FL
Rented a car on Thursday from the Lehigh Acres office. Dave couldn’t believe how the area had grown up since he was here in the late 80’s. Took a ride into Labelle…stopped at Flora and Ellas for lunch. That was where we were heading when the boat broke on Tuesday. Their slogan “Life is unpredictable, Eat Desert First” has been one of Dave’s favorite saying since we went there years ago. The sisters, Flora and Ella, have now both passed away. The property has been sold, the family is carrying on the tradition and they are still selling those fabulous homemade pies. We stopped at a couple real estate offices and as we had heard they confirmed that property values have gone crazy over here. The riverfront lot that we sold for 95K a couple of years ago is worth well over 500K now. We though we did well…but, guess we should have held onto it a little longer.

Came back to the marina about 4:00 to see what Chuck had heard from Volvo. He hadn’t! So a call to them came back with an answer first that the out-drive had been shipped. Five minutes later another call came in to say no, it hadn’t been shipped, but that they were having to build one. We have one of Volvo’s new salt water out-drives and they are not as readily available. Needless to say, we were not very happy! Dave called our friend at the Rinker Manufacturer, Gainer…the gentlemen who has been calling us regularly. Gainer wasn’t very happy either and told us he’d make some calls. It wasn’t too long until we received a call from Scott, from Volvo…the guy who helped us with the problem in Panama City. Dave conversed with him a couple more times during the evening.

This morning, Friday, while Dave was in the office reading the paper, Scott, from Volvo, called Chuck to say he was on his way with an out-drive and that he’d be here about noon. We returned the rental car and came back to the marina. When Scott arrived he not only brought the drive, but he jumped in and led the technician in the removal and assembly of the new one. It was great to see that happening, because he seemed very matriculate about what he was doing. He insisted that the lines be flushed, blowed out, and flushed again until he was sure the metal shaving were out of the system. He also had the technician realign the engine. We were very impressed at his attention to detail. He also insisted that before it went back in the water that the shifting be checked and insisted on taking it out in the water himself and testing. It’s 7:00…too late to head out, so we’re going to get an early start in the morning. Will try to make it to one of our favorite places, Captain Hiram’s in Sebastain tomorrow.

Broke down…

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.