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To Hear Then To Know

To hear then to know. To believe and have faith.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths." Proverbs 3: 5,6 As we sailed into Wahoo Bay the intensity of my focus was hyper acute. It felt like I could have counted the raindrops as I reacted to each wind gust and breaking wave. All my senses were engaged. So the feeling of relief as we passed the rocky shoals and rounded the breakwaters was equally intense. Shouts of hallelujah went up and Zack ask me what the plan was for anchoring. I had spent some time studying the chart for the bay and coming up with a plan before we arrived. However, just as new information about treacherous waters can change your poor plans, a mighty relief can lead to abandoning a solid plan. The wind was out of the East, so we were able to continue under sail further into the bay but under much calmer seas. The breakwater did its job and the anchorage looked so inviting I ditched my charted route. Instead of sailing along the north shore of the harbor, gybing to port into the anchorage and using the wind to slow and stop us, I yelled to Zack to prepare to drop the anchor and I headed straight at the south shore of Wahoo Bay. The charts were clear that this anchorage was a sandy bottom with good holding. But counting on my oversized Mantus anchor to catch and stop us immediately was a error in judgement. We saw that right away. I quickly furled the staysail and Zack dropped our anchor in 8' of water and let out about 25' of rode. Not enough for a long windy night, but enough to grab and swing us. I had turned hard to port into the wind but we hadn't turned more than 60 degrees yet and the wind was pushing us hard. We wouldn't turn more unless the anchor caught and swung us around. It didn't. With the intensity ratcheted back up to full I surveyed the distance between us and the private docks on the shoreline. One more chance and we would be either safely at anchor or grabbing fenders to lessen the impact against the pilings. I yelled to Zack to let out another 25' and prayed for the Mantus to do its job. The wisdom of counting on everything working, working right, at the right time, under pressure of disaster is questionable. No it's not. It's just wrong. But Zack let out the exact amount of rode and the anchor caught and held in the sand I couldn't see and Faith began to swing towards the docks. When we reached the end of the line I felt a lurch and knew we were firmly in the sand. Zack let out more chain and we were now, finally, securely anchored all alone in a new harbor in a pitch black rainstorm. Of course the rain immediately stopped. I could say the wind was instantly calmer by half, and it was, but you may have a hard time believing it. It seemed to us as though the storm cell was over us for the exact 11 minutes we were under pressure to perform. What a way to learn! Maybe it was the adrenalin or maybe we really were hungry, but we lost no time jumping in the whaler and setting out to find dinner and wifi. My family had been notified four hours earlier that we had lost power and we were sailing for Hillsboro Inlet. But then, as it is with BTC service most of the time, our signal dropped, SIM cards quit working and phones lost service. We needed to get word out quickly that we were ok. Heading west under the Pompano Beach bridge that spans the harbor and separates the bay from the ICW I noticed the current kicking hard. It's no problem for the whaler, but I realized that we were so lucky the tide was going out during our entrance to the channel and harbor. To steer Faith under sail I have to have water moving past the rudders. The more the better. At the speed of 1.8 knots, our speed under the power of the staysail alone, there is very little responsiveness at the helm. I knew right away why I was able to steer so much more accurately than normal: there was another 2-3 knots of current running under us that was unseen in the dark. (Another reason to keep a hard copy of tide tables handy). We actually had three times the speed through the water as we had over ground. Back to the search for dinner. Zack made the call to turn south on the ICW after we passed under the bridge. Zipping along in the calm waters and well lit channel it felt so far from what we just experienced. Almost as though we were running from it as we got further away. After a couple miles of no possibilities we turned around and headed north. Just before the bridge on the east side we saw a small shopping center and an Italian joint we could try. We quickly tied up to a public dock and made our way through the water puddles in the street to the restaurant. As I walked up, I saw one person inside cleaning up and no one else. The sign was still on so opened the door. The man who turned out to be the owner told me to sit anywhere I liked. I grabbed an adult beverage from the cooler and asked for a menu. I ordered three appetizers in 15 seconds and grabbed another barley pop. Zack caught up with me and I told him I had ordered already. He didn't like the sound of wings, meatballs and mushrooms so he ordered a slice of pepperoni pizza. The wifi was strong and messages began to pour in. WhatsApp, Messenger and IMessage are the normal ways to communicate in the islands since voice service is spotty almost everywhere. I scrolled through quickly and answered my family that we were fine, just shaken. Then the phone rang and Mayra wanted to know all the details. She must have heard a tenseness in my voice and didn't press much when I said I needed to just chill for a second and get my thoughts together. I told her I'd call back soon. I turned to Zack and told him we had better say a prayer of thanksgiving. And we better mean it. He agreed, so we did. Then the food arrived and Zack decided he liked mushrooms after all. When he asked what the plan was, I told him that I'd come up with something as soon as I stopped shaking. Probably at breakfast the next morning. Friday morning I was up early and eager to find a solution to our problem. We took the whaler back the the public dock and walked to a coffee shop. We were still 24 miles north of our slip reserved at the Suntex Hollywood marina. Getting there under sail was not possible. We would need to get the Honda running or get towed. I set out on two different paths looking for a possible plan. One, get towed to the marina and determine the problem with the Honda there. Two, get the Honda running and motor to the marina.

I made calls to both of the national towing companies. SeaTow was the first to respond with a quote, and $3,100 to get to my slip made me focus on option two a little more acutely. It's important to be clear about the next series of events. Zack as crew was a lifesaver. His knowledge of the water, the dangers, the work and boats was critical so many times. But here, his knowledge of outboard motors made the difference. He was confident in his assessment that the reason the Honda wasn't peeing was the impeller was bad. His description of the impeller as a small plastic water wheel inside the water pump at the top of the crankshaft only accessible by removing the lower unit seemed likely if not daunting. When I made calls looking for mechanics who work on Hondas on short notice while they are still attached to the vessel at anchor revealed Zacks prognosis was most likely accurate but we would be anchored for a least a week before someone could get to us. That was not good. Then I got a call from a number that was registered in Turkey, and I decided to answer. (Understand that when you get a new SIM card in another country the carrier has usually issued that card and number several times before. You tend to get quite a few random calls at random times.) It was not from Turkey, it was from the captain of a TowBoat US vessel calling from next to Faith in the harbor. He explained the charges for his service and then was very helpful in recommending other possible options. At $1,200 to tow Faith to our slip in Hollywood it was still way out of my budget, so we began to look for a marina closer with a slip available. Three calls to nearby marinas and three rejections happened quickly. All were pleasant but very clear that they had nothing and nobody else would either. I guess the largest boat show in the US was happening 6 miles south in Ft Lauderdale in three weeks and space was sold out months in advance.

So I called the guy from Turkey back and asked what his thoughts or recommendations were for me. He agreed it sounded like the impeller was the issue and with some knowledge and luck we could get the parts locally, beach the stern of Faith at high tide on the small beach in Wahoo Bay and change the impeller while the tide went out. At this point, unlikely scena

rios began to seem necessary. I searched online for Honda manuals and parts stores. Zack seemed confident in our ability to fumble through the impeller replacement within the three hours we may have with the tide out. But we still had no phone service away from wifi and there was another marina nearby that wasn't answering. I told Zack our plan was to go to TMobil to get local SIM cards so we could have service to make arrangements, then swing by the marina that didn't answer and hope we got lucky. First though we would go back to Faith and take a shot at one idea Zack had: stick a wire into the water outlet and hope there was just something plugging it. So we headed to Faith and turned the Honda on. No peeing. Zack began to run the small piece of fishing leader wire into the outlet. Nothing. Not wanting to burn her up I shut her down. That's when Zack said he wanted to try one more thing. He wanted me to turn the Honda back on, put her in neutral and rev her to full thottle for a few seconds. I hesitated knowing she was already hot. Zack insisted so I tried it. Eureka! A small trickle of water began to run out. Zack poked the wire into the outlet and something unstuck. Salt or corrosion or something, that when released allowed water to flow freely. This Honda outboard began to cool like a thoroughbred. Wow. She was cooling better than I had seen her since I bought her. Zack reached down to feel the water temp and said we were back in business. Fifteen minutes later, after letting the Honda run to make sure our luck was solid, we decided get underway down the ICW to Suntex. Four hours of phones calls and quotes, planning and cancelling arrangements, mentally spending thousands on towing and repairs went away in a spurt of cooling water. All with a little knowledge and a leader. What fortune. We had an amazing day on the ICW. Zack called all the bridges to arrange opening for Fatih and we motored past billions of dollars in mega yachts and trillions of dollars in mansions. Wow. Just an incredible amount of wealth along this channel in South Florida. Zack is an aficionado of everything power boat and I watched a kid in a candy store run from side to side on Faith for four hours looking and pointing and describing yachts and brands. Each one bigger than the last. Looking back on the 24 hours that encompassed the iPad falling to our arrival at Suntex, it's hard to believe the places and experiences we had. If we had tried Zacks last ditch idea first, none of those things would have happened. Humbling and enthralling. As Proverbs so clearly says, when you trust completely in our God, He directs your paths. We live into the moments He planned for us before the creation of the universe if we first seek Him and His kingdom. Those moments are what a lifetime can be built on.

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