Saturday, November 10, 2018

Patch it up and keep it moving

Kintala is pressing on toward Titusville. Well, trying to anyway. The timing from Dolbow Island, where we spent the night after making a 10+22 / 45.2 nm run from Bulkhead Creek, meant having the anchor on board just as the sun broke the horizon. That was the only way to clear Jekyll Creek before the outgoing tide drained most of the water out of it. I am not a big fan of early mornings, but the anchor was up on time and we headed off down the Mackay River.

Jekyll Creek lies on the other side of St. Simons Sound from where the Mackay River enters. Just as we approached the mouth of the river Deb came up from below with the news that there was oil in the bilge. About that same time the radio came alive with reports that visibilities in the sound and at the approach to Jekyll Creek were less than 1/4 mile in dense fog. There were also reports of boats hitting the ground while trying to bluff their way through. While we debated what we should do next Kintala ran bow-long into that same fog. St. Simon Island and an anchorage we have used before lay just ahead, making the decision to abort an easy one. For the first time since we left to go cruising, the horn was brought into play, one long blast every two minutes, as we gently poked along. Within easy ear shot, a barge was tooting long and two short, underway not making way. Not bumping into someone was high on the list of things needing done at that moment. The anchorage lay just outside of the worst of the fog, making it much easier to park the boat and drop the hook.

Once settled in, we discovered that oil wasn’t the real problem. We have been hunting down and eliminating a few oil leaks for a while now, and there was no evidence of a new one. What was new was water leaking out of the pressure relief valve on our water heater; water than ran through the engine pan, collecting up some oil as it flowed its way past our engine blankets and into the bilge. We cleaned up the mess and, until we can get a new relief valve, used a union and a couple of clamps to bypass the water heater. That joint still leaked, so for now we keep the water pressure pump “off” unless we are actually using water. While doing all that, Deb said  she smelled a touch of diesel as well, but all I smelled was normal hot engine stink. We cleaned up, closed up the engine covers, and took it easy for the rest of the evening.

The next day we pressed on, making it to Cumberland Island. This time the post flight engine check left no doubt, the engine blanket was soaked with diesel and the stink could make eyes water. I was not in a particularly good mood as we dove in to see just how badly hurt we might be. After some frustrating troubleshooting we found a pin hole in the fuel line from the lift pump to the fuel filter. I was sure that the Navy Submarine Base nearby would have the facilities necessary to make us up a new one in about 20 minutes. But even if I could afford the kind of prices the military pays for things, the gun boats prowling the base entrance suggested not trying to bang on the front door to ask. (As it turned out a missile sub pulled in an hour or so after we dropped the hook. That explained the gun boats.)

With no replacement parts within sight, we went into full backyard engineering / repair mode. JB weld, some carefully sculpted rubber pads, and a couple of worm clamps later and the hole was no more. The next day’s run to Sisters Creek in Jacksonville proved the repair water-worthy. And while poking around snugging up this and that while looking for the fuel leak, we also manage to noticeably slow the flow of oil.

Now we are riding to a mooring ball in St. Augustine. The original plan was to spend a few days here, enjoying the visit with the crew of Blowin’ In The Wind. It is a bit depressing to be here without them, so the plan is to head to Daytona in the morning. One day after that should see us in Titusville.


Unknown said...

What is meant by "10+22 / 45.2"? I get 0.708 but I don't think that is the desired answer. Great blog! Thanks!

Deb said...

Sorry we do rely on shorthand a bit too much sometimes, a character fault from being pilots. It means 10 hours and 22 minutes and 45.2 miles.