September 11, 2010

Engine Troubles

We've been enjoying the serenity of Cala San Francisquito; hiking, swimming, diving, reading, relaxing and recovering from colds but Bay of LA is still calling me. I really want a chance to see the whale sharks before they migrate again (we've just missed them twice). So despite the forecasted light northerlies, we had an early breakfast and caught the flood tide north.
We were just heading out the narrow entry when Evan noticed we had no cooling water coming out from the exhaust. Then he made a quick check of the engine and saw there was no water in the cooling water strainer. I throttled back and got the second engine going (we have an outboard for manoeuvring). Once we were clear of the rocky entry channel we shut down the diesel and made our way back into the anchorage by outboard alone.
After dropping the hook, Evan began checking for the obvious problems: the impeller looked fine, the pump belt was fine, and the strainer was clear. The next step was to head over the side and check for a blockage in the thruhull. We've been getting a lot of barnacle growth in these nutrient rich waters—so we guessed the thruhull might be blocked by growth.
Evan jumped over the side in his snorkel gear and began prodding at the fitting with a screw driver. To his surprise, rather than finding barnacles he discovered a small, disoriented fish. The fish had been subject to a fair amount of discomfort in his new home, but he swam off and seemed no worse for wear. When we fired the engine back up the cooling water did what it was supposed to.
So after saying a second goodbye to the other boat in the anchorage we pulled the anchor back up and headed back out. Our early start was now a late start—which is par for the course with us... The light northerlies (that we tried to avoid with an early start) had filled in and the current we hoped to ride was diminishing.
But we're underway and our fish is in search of a new home.
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1 comment:

boatbaby said...

Now that is a cheap fix :) Have fun with the whale sharks! Zach's favorite marine animal...