March 9-16, 2018 – Joyner Marina

IMG_20180313_222120 Joyner Marina has a nice deal for weekly rates at $7.00 per foot so we decide to spend a week here, based somewhat on the proximity to the beach. The guys here are very friendly between JW, Taylor, Denis and Brad. Also there are some very friendly boaters here, but that seems to follow us wherever we stop. I guess it’s just the boater lifestyle that draws friendly people.

So Friday morning, I will get a ride from JW to the Walgreens to pick up a few things because he has to go to the Ace Hardware for some chainsaw parts. So he drops me off at the Walgreens and I tell him I’ll walk back to the boat when I’m done (about 1 ½ miles).

I finish my chores without any problem and start walking back to the marina. After about a quarter of a mile, JW pulls into a parking lot ahead of me and I get in. His errand was complete and he was heading back, so I got lucky and saved some time. It’s nice to have people looking out for you even in a strange new town.

We want to lower the dinghy here since we’ll be here for a week and we still have the full year out-of-state fishing licenses so after getting back so quickly from the pharmacy, I go up on the roof to lower her down. My routine is always to hook the crane ball up to the davit straps before releasing the dinghy from her tie-down straps. So I raise the boom, set the pin to keep the crane boom in the air and attach the straps to the dinghy. Then I release all three tiedown straps from the dinghy, go back to the boom controls and I get a hum, but no cable movement! Great, another repair added to the list.

Video: The sound of a davit not working   -tc

Back on the roof with some wrenches, pliers and the multi-tester, I go about doing some testing for a quick fix. Inside the crane boom are two solenoids wired together with one for raising the drum and one for lowering the drum. I’m able to get 12 volts coming up from the power source to the crane, but I don’t get a reading for amperage coming out of the solenoids into the drum motor. So I determine that the two solenoids are too old and need replacing. 76523759-03A3-4D32-84FA-8B570E110150I take a few pictures of the label on the solenoids and go into the office where JW advises me to call NAPA in town for the parts. Larry at NAPA is extremely helpful and even though they don’t have the exact replacement solenoids, they show an Echlin ST-49 as a crossover. So I say great, I’ll be right over, when Larry says, oh I don’t have them in stock, but I can get them by Tuesday. So I agree to have him get them for Tuesday and the dinghy stays up on the roof attached to an immobile crane.

When I get back to the boat, Tracy asks why I don’t clean all the terminals and reinstall the connections. I make some comment to the effect that I really don’t think that’s the issue and she stays that way overnight. Finally the next day, Tracy asks me again that she thinks the cleaning will correct the problem, (I also offered to do it myself.  -tc) so I agree to give it a try and get all the tools necessary to go up, work upside down on my back, fourteen feet above the water, and remove twelve hard-to-get-to terminals and clean them all back to brass to see if that will work…..Two hours later, I realize that I should never not listen to her because after all that work and returning all parts to their proper working condition, the crane drum hums into action and we have a working crane once again. The open environment (and lately it’s been a salt air environment) can do funny things to electrical connections, so I’ll remember that in the future right along with listening to all of Tracy’s suggestions for repairs!    HA!!!!-  tc

IMG_20180313_222320Now we still have five or so days here and a dinghy in the water for cruising, fishing and exploring.

Funny sign!   -tc

One of the nice things about being a member of an organization like America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association (besides Harbor Hosts that we’ve already talked about) is the AGLCA Burgee attracts other members and here in Joyner Marina is Nelson Garrett and Sandra Kay aboard Destinees living here for a month. So they invite us aboard for coffee and any questions we might have about the loop since they completed their loop in 2015-2016. We spend a nice afternoon sitting in their salon learning and absorbing everything we can of their pearls of wisdom about the loop.

Early in the week, we also make arrangements to rent a car from Enterprise to do some sightseeing for a day. We get a Nissan Sentra for a 24 hour rental and pick it up at 5 pm on Monday with plans to return it by 5 pm on Tuesday. So Monday night after we leave Enterprise in Wilmington, we drive past Atlantic Beach and go to Kure Beach for Freddie’s Restaurant, an Italian cuisine restaurant that is famous for it’s pork chops. As it turns out, Monday is pork chop special night and you get a two pork chop entrée with sides and salad for $20 instead of the regular $26, so the place is packed. We wait about 15 minutes for a table and we both get the special. Tracy gets Garlic Chops and I get Chops Italiano. The chops are at least an inch thick, so we each take one chop wrapped up to go.

Tuesday, we drive south past Kure Beach again and go to nearly the southern tip of this island to Fort Fischer which is an historic site where one of the last forts were lost to the south in the Civil War. There were about 1,900 confederate soldiers stationed here at the fort and the Union sent over 10,000 soldiers on naval vessels to attack. There’s lots of history and monuments to observe describing the attack and outcomes. After riding and walking thru some of the Fort, we continued down the road to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fischer. IMG_20180313_135251IMG_20180313_132624966_HDR   This is a nice little aquarium with exhibits showing sharks, rays, turtles, lobsters, groupers, poisonous toads, etc along with a Bald Eagle and some dinosaur robotics on the way out. The Bald Eagle is in captivity only because it was hit in Saint Louis (I think??) years ago and has a broken wing so if left in the wild, he would certainly die, so being treated as royalty (deservedly so) in captivity, he’s been able to survive many years.

 Can you spot 4 poisonous fish?  If not then check the next blog.  -tc 

                                                 Albino Alligator!IMG_20180313_222557

Once we were done we started to work our way up the island towards Wilmington where we would have to return the vehicle by the end of the day. Along the way, Tracy found a hair salon that could take her right away for a cut, so we got that done, then stopped at a antique shop that had some bureau options for an area of the stateroom that Tracy has been looking for extra storage. She almost found the perfect piece and looked at it for about twenty minutes before deciding that it wasn’t perfect enough and we left. Enterprise was only about 2 miles from that shop so we were there in plenty of time for the 5 pm return.

We returned the vehicle, had it inspected and called for an Uber ride back to Atlantic Beach (too far for the Enterprise to ‘pick us up and take us there’). The Uber driver turned out to be a lady that wrote a factual book about her life and had it published, so her and Tracy talked the whole way back about getting books published, writing strategies, etc. and she had some good advice. The autobiographical book is titled ‘Into the Fire’ and our driver was the author, Rita Lane Oliver.

Wednesday and Thursday were forecasted to be some high winds so we were already starting to think about staying here until Friday. But on Thursday morning the winds were not so bad and Kailani needed a pumpout, so Tracy drove over to the pumpout dock and we hooked up to the dock and started to pumpout the two black water tanks. The forward head tank pumped out real nice as usual, but as we were switching over to the aft head holding tank, the pumping real nice ended. We ran the pumpout hose off and on for over three hours trying to get the black water out, but couldn’t make it happen. I even went down into the bilge and replaced the vent hose because we suspected that there wasn’t any air to create the vacuum and we were right. The old hose was clogged like an artery and there was no way to get any venting going. But to our surprise, even after changing out the vent hose for a new one, we still couldn’t get any suction out of the aft tank. Again, it was off to ask JW for some advice on local marine plumbing repair and he made a call on our behalf and we waited for a reply. Soon after we left the voicemail, we found out that another couple had that same plumber coming Friday morning to do some work on their vessel, so we called back and left a voicemail to ask if the plumber could do double duty and look at our issue also when he came to the marine on Friday. We never got a call back from the other business and on Friday morning, even though I was watching for them, the plumber came, worked on Doug’s boat and left without them ever getting in touch with us. So we made an executive decision that since the seas were not too bad today and one of our tanks is completely full, we will find another marina to look at the repairs and get out of here as soon as possible. This decision is made somewhat reluctantly because later on this afternoon, Sandra is having a birthday cookout for Nelson and it would be fun to participate in that, but an empty and working holding tank is more important than a cookout for a new friend. Tracy makes some phone calls and finds out the Zimmerman Marine Services has a location 14 miles down river at Southport Marina and Steve, the service manager will look at our boat this afternoon if we can get her to Southport. Joyner Marina has been a nice week for us and it’s sad to leave on a semi bad tasting note, but JW and the boys of Joyner Marina have been nothing short of super friendly and helpful and the sour taste is from another marina, not Joyner.

So……it’s off to Southport and another new travel day blog.


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