Becoming People of the Sea
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Cormorant on a Channel MarkerBecoming People Of The SeaYo Ho Ho - Here We Go
October 2005
We headed up the inter-gulf coast waterway toward the Manatee River. We successfully cleared the two Bascule bridges and headed out to the bay. We rolled along with the waves in rising weather, and motored up the river staying close to the channel markers.

Once we got near the last marker before the marina, Don decided to practice maneuvering in reverse. Desiring to back the boat into her slip, we wanted to get an idea of which way the prop walk would pull the bow while in reverse. Don got a good feel for it and put us back into forward – and that’s when our first adventure occurred.

Cortez Bascule BridgeThe transmission wouldn’t engage – either into forward or reverse. Don jumped below to see if he could figure out the cause while I tried to keep the boat in the channel. With no water moving over the rudder, steerage was not feasible, so we dropped anchor and called the marina to let them know what was happening.

The culprit turned out to be the flexible coupling. It is designed to fall apart in a grounding and thus save the transmission. Ours had apparently aged to the point where the quick move from reverse to forward caused it to disintegrate. So close, and yet …



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"Never a ship sails out of the bay but carries my heart as a stowaway." ~ Roselle Mercier Montgomery