We’re still in Turner Creek just south of Savannah. We anchored here for three days. There’s a Publix nearby and public transportation into Savannah, so we thought it’d be a good place to do some shopping and site seeing. The second night here, some friends from Nashville were in town so Willy had it’s first guests! They brought some steaks to throw on the grill and we had a good time trying to convice Luke he should also buy a boat 🙂
The next day we were all ready to head out, but our battery was low. It had been draining a little faster than usual which was odd. It took us awhile to get the boat cranked up, but we finally did. We didn’t get too far though. The engine quit on us and wouldn’t restart because of the battery problem. We probably could have gotten jumped and kept going, but we were in a good spot for fixing a boat and the marina nearby had a spot open so we got a tow there.
The marina is run by really nice people. It’s a little worn down and not in the best shape, but it’s not expensive and there are lots of places within walking distance. There is a little shack on the water that seems like it is from The Rescuers. Remember that movie? With the mice and the dragonfly named Evinrude? Old blues music drifts down the docks from this shack and it only adds to it’s sort of class-less charm. We docked up here and called our dads…like you do. My dad thought there was a bad connection somewhere so we started checking them. Luckily, my parents needed to come up here anyway to get the jeep from my cousin’s house in Beaufort (who we stayed with while we were there). So, my parents offerend to help us out while they came to get the jeep.
In the meantime we thought we’d take the alternator in to be tested, but we wanted it to go to a real alternator shop. So I looked one up and we found the bus route to Mr.Alternator and Starter. Josh threw the alternator in a backpack and away we went. Once we got there I thought we’d struck gold. The best shops are the sketchiest looking, right? Two dogs there to greet you, random old men hanging out and chatting, in the rougher part of town.
Josh hauled out the alternator and said he wanted to have it checked out. The guy grabbed it, and immediately got on the phone. I was chatting up the older man who was clearly just hanging out. The main guy got off the phone and croaked out, “Five hundred bucks.” We were thouroughly confused. “This has a lot of hours on it. It needs rebuilding – and what are these wires anyway.” Stuttering from confusion we admitted we weren’t sure what those wires went to. I mean, we just disconnected the thing and there are about 5 million random wires on our boat. He then proceeded to chastise us for not knowing our boat well enough. At one point, his friend who I had been chatting with said, “Why don’t you hook it up and test those wires. See what’s happening.” “I don’t need to,” was his reply. “It’s shot. I know that much. But you’ll definitely want me to rebuild it.”
We should have walked out, but we really just wanted him to get in there and SEE if anything was wrong so we paid him a fee to open it up and see what was wrong. Not before some more chastising, however, and a lecture on how he could, “rebuild an alternator 50 miles offshore if he had to.”
The more we thought about it, the more we wished we had not left the alternator with him. We wanted to explore Savannah some though, so we took the bus back to downtown and tried to brush it off. Unfortunately, Mr.Alternator wasn’t going to let us. He ended up calling us each at least five times. Once, he informed Josh we should get rid of our boat because we don’t know what we’re doing. Keep in mind this is the alternator mechanic who can’t identify the wires on our alternator.
We make a plan to just go there the next morning and retrieve the part. So, we load up again on the bus and head over. Luckily, Mr.Alternator wasn’t there but a much kinder man was behind the counter. He told us that the voltage regulator had been bypassed and that it would cost about $300 to rebuild the alternator. We kindly told him we just wanted it back.
So now we have the questionable alternator in tow and we meet up with my parents in Savannah who had just arrived. We ended up riding with them to Beaufort to pick up the jeep and see my cousin. We got some dinner and my parents got a little mini tour of the town. If you’ve never been and you are going to be in the Lowcountry, you have to visit Beaufort. It’s such a pleasant place! There is a lot of history, it’s very walkable, and there are a ton of cool shops and restaurants (including my cousin’s store The Beaufort Clothing Co.)
But, as usual, I digress.
So, back at the boat my Dad comes up with a rewiring scheme and figures out what’s wrong in about five minutes. We make a plan to take the alternator to a new shop in the morning for a new volage regulator. We also realize we need a new battery switch because there’s a short in the one we have.
The next day, today, is when the real story begins.
When my parents first got to the marina, I apologized for the smell. Every now and then you got a waft of what smelled like rotten-ness. I assumed people were cleaning fish or catching crabs and the leftovers were smelling rather putrid. It wasn’t overwhelming, but certainly unpleasant every now and then.
This morning, while sitting around patting ourselves on the back for a new and improved battery system on the boat, we see an ambulance pull up. I had just walked by some people at the previously described shack and they seemed to be in okay moods so I didn’t think much about the ambulance. My back was to the situation as well. My parents and Josh were keeping a close eye on the situation. A few minutes later, police cars arrive and the marina owner starts leading the EMT’s down the docks to a derelict boat on the other docks directly in front of us. They proceed to open up the companionway and the putrid smell I had assumed to be rotting sea creatures became overpowering. “Do you think someone died in there?” Josh asked.
Our noses said, “Definitely.”
We proceed to watch one EMT lower himself into the boat and come up rather pale. “Do you want to go see,” he asks his coworker. That answer was, is, and should forever be NO.
At this point, I am realizing that I have been smelling a dead body for THREE days. Three. Adventure of a lifetime, folks. And here you thought living on a sailboat was the glamorous life. Truth is, I am currently docked directly downwind from a rotting corpse.
Yes, it is very sad that this man died and no one even missed him or realized it for four days (he passed away before we arrived at this marina). I felt especially bad for the marina owner who made the discovery and was clearly shaken by the situation.
I also, could not stop wishing I had brought my Netti-pot to thoroughly disinfect my nostrils. The desire to shower in some strong anti-bacterial soap is also quite overwhelming. Everyone got a bit of a chuckle over the fact that I apologized for the smell which was unknowingly a dead man.
Josh and I are currently sitting at a library writing this blog. The man’s body has been removed, but the stench is lingering. Knowing what it is now, we couldn’t keep marinating in the fumes. We felt very determined not to spend money eating out, but tonight might be the exception. Grilled sausages were on the menu, but I just don’t think I can cook and eat with the smell of death all around us.
We haven’t gotten the full story on this man, or what happened. We aren’t sure if that was his boat, if the marina staff knew him, or exactly how he died. I don’t know if we will, because hopefully we are high tailing it out of here tomorrow. The plan is to head to another marina near a stretch of the ICW called Hell’s Gate. We’ll rest up a bit and prepare to conquer, yes conquer, Hell’s Gate on a rising tide. After that, we’ll keep making our way south toward St.Augustine. Hopefully, there are no more dead bodies along the way.