Did you know that right in front of the bell housing on the back part of the engine, (accessed by removing the propeller shaft coupling and transmission), is a part called a pressure plate or damper.

It is a basically 5 big steel springs set into three connected steel thin plates whose function is to take up the torque when the engine is shifted into gear and allow the transmission to smoothly change from forward to neutral to reverse. You have one on your car .

And did you know when the pressure plate explodes while the engine is running it makes a LOT of noise as pieces and parts get flung around the back of the bell housing like a washing machine.

Then you have no transmission. And if you are out in the waterway, you have no propulsion.

We learned these things last week.

For the last ten days we have been in Myrtle Beach, at a dock, with engine parts all over the place.

The hurricane passed us by with no harm last week, the weather has been very nice, and it is kind of cool to be able to turn on the air conditioning during the day when it gets hot! (Kind of cool – get it?)

The old plate. And the heat exchanger out and ready for repair.

We are almost all fixed. Waiting for the welder across the street to finish up an exhaust elbow that needed looking at while it was off. (As long as the transmission was off, and we were already at the dock, we took the opportunity to take a bunch more off and clean, fix, overhaul…

Ryan was very happy to help degrease and clean the engine. Hehe. He has also been back on his bowsprit working to make the underneath part look as good as he did the top part…

Shelly has been varnishing and painting. With access from the dock, a place to lay things out, and not having to worry about moving the boat, we are in maintenance mode (again).

Engine parts all cleaned up and painted ready for reinstall..

The new pressure plate is in and ready for the bell housing and transmission.

We did have a very nice trip up from Georgetown to Myrtle Beach. And we are really very fortunate to have broken down here. The marina is relatively inexpensive, and very cruiser friendly; there are a multitude of great repair facilities and parts, and the wifi is awesome!

The Intracoastal waterway along this stretch is made up of connected rivers. The Waccamaw was flooded due to all the heavy rains, and flooded with weekend boaters. We saw lots of floating debris, trees, logs etc and actually bumped one floating log with the bow that scared the crap out of all of us.

What was amazing was watching all the parents chugging their beer and hauling their little kids on their tubes and things behind their pontoon boats at full throttle through all this debris.

Not only was I visualizing one of the kids getting run over by someone looking back at their kids instead of where they were going, but we could easily imagine one of those speeding inner tube things getting drug over a floating log at 30 mph and ripping the poor little kids to shreds. Definately braver parents than we.

Every single waterway marker has an Osprey nest with young ones screaming to be fed. You can just see the chicks heads at the top of this one.

So that's the news fit to report. Future plans are still in the air, although our next scheduled stop is Wilmington, only 50 miles further. We have to be in Northern Va in early September but that seems a long time away.