Departure from Stock Island Marina – January 2020

It is our 68th day on the water since we started on the Great Loop. Our destination is Faro Blanco, Marathon. We had wanted to stay another week at Stock Island because we have a flight scheduled from Key West to go home for a week; however, this was not in the cards for us, so we are headed to Faro Blanco in Marathon. We departed at 8:10 a.m. We didn’t get far when an alarm went off. The Port Engine was overheating. We quickly shutdown. Chuck went down below into the engine room to check this out. The seacocks were open, so this was not the problem. We could have limped the one or two miles back to Stock Island marina on one engine, but decided instead to throw out the anchor and attempt to resolve the problem where we were, since it was not terribly deep, only bout 10 feet of water, and the seas were calm. Chuck put on his mask and fins and dove down under the boat to see if he could see anything blocking the raw water intake to the engine. He did not see anything; it was wide open and not obstructed. The next thing was to check the raw water impeller. Well, as soon as he looked at the impeller cover, which wasn’t obvious to see at first because you needed to crawl around to the outboard side of the port engine in order to reach the impeller housing, he knew that was the problem. The normally white painted impeller housing cover had a large circular black and brown burn mark covering about a 2 inch diameter circle in the center of it, indicating it had been very hot. As soon as he removed the impeller housing cover, he could see that the impeller had indeed been very hot, and all the vanes were severely damaged, and mostly melted away. Not only that, the impeller cam cage within which the impeller rotates to pump water, had been damaged by the heat as well. With the necessary tools on hand, he was able to remove the damaged impeller and cam cage, seals and thrust plate, and replace everything with the correct spares we fortunately had on hand, after about two or three hours of toiling in the hot engine room. It is one thing to say you have a great engine room with ample headroom, but when it comes time to working around a hot engine, in a cramped space, on your hands and knees with barely twenty inches of room between the outboard side of the engine and the hull of the boat, all the while stepping over other mechanical equipment like air conditioning pumps and exhaust risers which you are trying not to damage as you work, it is a different story. Long story, but he got it done, fired up the engines, pulled up the anchor, and we were on our way again. We arrived at the marina around 12:30 p.m. Chuck headed to the airport in Marathon by bike to pick up the rental car. I stayed behind and washed the salt off Journeyer. We took a relaxing swim in the pool and grabbed some dinner at the marina restaurant. It had an early flight the next morning.

Melted impeller

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