“Uh-oh. There’s transmission fluid in the bilge water.” I said, trying not to sound alarmed.
“That’s not good,” the XO said.
“We gotta check it out right away,” I said. “We need the closest anchorage.”
As luck would have it, we were within a mile of one. I tucked Ginger Lee behind an island and off the main channel into a small waterway with the unenviable name of The Dark Chute. Almost immediately, the XO started chanting the name with spooky, Bela Legosian overtones.
“THE DAAHHK CHUUUTE,” she moaned.
As if on cue, a large grey and black cloud moved in overhead and blotted out the Sun.
“THE DAAAAHHK CHUUUUUUTE,” she moaned again, this time with extra vibrato. Rain spattered the windshield.
“Maybe I’d better start checking things out before she congers up the devil,” I thought.
I lifted the engine covers and hopped down in between Castor and Pollux, our two Lehman diesels.
I did my usual thing when trying to figure mechanical stuff out, just poke around until something makes sense. In this case, after finding transmission fluid all over the area of the dip-stick, but not anywhere else, I focused my attention there and pulled that dip-stick out. When it came out way too easily, I knew I had the problem literally in hand. The darn thing was loose! It’s supposed to fit tight enough to seal. The transmission had disgorged almost all of its life blood out the dip-stick tube! A simple fix, but jeepers, if I hadn’t stopped to check it out, the transmission would have run dry enough to destroy itself.
We continued on to Grafton Illinois, the last stop on the Illinois Waterway. Mile 00.0.
We stayed in Grafton for a week because the Army Corps of Engineers closed the Mississippi River until November 1st. Yeah. They can do that. They have that much power.
There were more Loopers here at one time than we’ve previously encountered our whole voyage. That would be a total of three boats. All stuck here for the same reason, but it’s a great place to be stuck. SOCOBO 11/9/17