The trip from Bellhaven to Oriental was long, but uneventful. We weren’t even sure we were going to make it in one day, but with some favorable winds and a bit of motor sailing we were making good time. As we transited the Pamlico river, we passed a bustling seafood dock. According to activecaptain, boats can tie up there as long as they don’t get in the way of the fishing vessels, so we decided to stop in and see if we could get some fresh seafood. While the place was primarily a processing plant, not really a retail operation, they were happy to sell us some fresh shrimp right off the boat!
We kept making decent time and thought we might even make it to Oriental that day. However as it started getting close to sunset, we made the call to pull into a nearby creek a few miles north of downtown rather than try to come in to the harbor after dark. Turns out there was a really swanky marina up said creek that some of our new boat friends were staying in. Since we were anchored right outside the entrance channel, we decided to take the dinghy in to the marina and drop in for a visit. This was quite the adventure, as it was pitch black, so we had to sweep our spotlight back and forth across the banks of the channel to make sure we weren’t going to crash. Good times :-)
The next morning we did the short hop around to Oriental proper and were lucky enough to grab a spot on the free town docks. Normally I would have been happy to anchor further out in the harbor, but the winds were scheduled to kick up that evening, and it would have made for a very bumpy night… We found a wonderful marine store right down the street from the docks, and the owner was nice enough to drive us over to the grocery store for provisions! On the way down, we ran into Chris and Ryan from s/v Firefly, and had them over for painkillers just as the wind/storms rolled in. They were out in the anchorage and spent a pretty bumpy night on the hook, so the next morning we coordinated so that when the boat next to us pulled out they were able to quickly jump in and grab the spot. We spent the next day relaxing and I caught up on some work. We were planning on heading out the next day but decided to stick around for one more day due to some miserable rain/squalls coming through (yeah yeah fair weather sailors and all that… but sailing in the rain stinks if you don’t have to…)
Quite fortuitously, we also found out that there is a really good boat yard here… So far this entire trip I’ve been really annoyed by the fact that our engine did not seem to be making the power that it should. We should be doing 6 knots easily at cruising RPMs – but we were struggling to make 5. After eliminating the easy possibilities (dirty fuel/filters/fouled bottom/prop) I figured it was either an issue with the engine’s compression or injectors. We wanted to have it looked at before leaving Philly, but kept getting blown off by the mechanic (guess our little engine wasn’t worth his time…) Amazingly, the guys from Deaton Yacht Services right up the road from the town docks told us they could be out first thing in the morning. Sure enough, bright and early they showed up and within a few minutes were able to narrow down the problem to one of the injectors. Sigh… at least we had a clearly identified problem, and could get to work on fixing it.
We motored around to Deaton’s yard, and they got to work right away. We decided to have all 3 injectors pulled and rebuilt, and (as is the way with boat projects) while we were in there did a bunch of other stuff as well… full engine alignment, removed, blasted and re-wrapped the exhaust elbow, removed the heat exchanger and blasted/acid dipped that too (that was fortunate as we found a crack in the mounting strap, which they were able to fix) and re-packed the stuffing box. The injector rebuild only took a day, so we had hopes to leave on Thursday, but unfortunately our tech wound up getting really sick and called out of work. We were able to get another tech today, but there wasn’t enough time to get everything all put back together. At least the injectors are back in! So now it looks like we’ll be leaving Tuesday after reinstalling the last of the parts and doing a quick sea trial to make sure everything is looking good. Frankly it worked out for the best – we could have gotten stuck in a much worse place. Deaton’s is a great yard, and the weather has been wonderful. I’ve been catching up on work and when we get back underway we’ll have a *lot* more confidence in our Iron Genny…