Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Captain Vancouver was wrong

Maybe the old boy had a touch of scurvy or maybe it was too many nights at sea with just the cabin boy to keep him company.  Whatever the reason when he named this area Desolation Sound he was way off the mark.

We didn’t make it this far north last summer and we had hoped to get further north this summer.  Nonetheless this is a pretty special area and I expect its better cruising grounds than 95% of boaters ever get to experience. 


That’s the view off the bow last night and no, its not upside down but its really hard to tell which way is up.  We got our Jed Clampett special tent set up last night and had breakfast under it this morning.  The sun comes up through that little entrance that is visible in the photo but this morning the tide is out and there are rocks sticking up in the channel.  Nobody will be coming or going until the tide comes back up again.

So far we haven’t had to run the noisemaker.  The solar hasn’t started to recharge the batteries yet (at 9:30 boat time, 8:30 local) but it is already reducing the discharge rate and should flip over to charge shortly.  We’ve got a moderately heavy load on the inverter – fridge, freezer, coffee maker, a couple of computer bricks and the cell phone booster which is letting us both be online despite the relatively remote nature of this spot.  I heard another genset running earlier this morning but I think with a modicum of power management during the day we can likely leave ours silent all day.  We’ll eventually have to run it if we want hot water but there’s a lot of clear blue sky up there this morning which should turn into 40+ amps of silent charging by noon. 

I changed the impellers on both engines at the dock in Powell River but I should have left them until we got here or maybe even until next summer.  I can’t find any record of changing them since I did them at the dock in Seattle right after we bought the boat and they looked just fine when I took them out.  I had been imagining that the cooling water flow in the exhaust was diminishing so I thought I should change them.  Some authorities say that you should change impellers every year so three years seemed like a long time but based on the condition of these I won’t worry so much in the future.  On an inboard engine with wet exhaust the impellers are extremely important.  Not only do they provide cooling to the engine through a heat exchanger which accomplishes the same function as the radiator in your car, they also cool the exhaust.  On a marinized engine with wet exhaust there is an exhaust riser that replaces the exhaust manifold.  At the highest point of that riser the water coming from the heat exchanger is injected into the hot exhaust gas stream.  That cools the exhaust and then the exhaust gasses and the cooling water flow to the transom and escape back into the ocean.  If you lose cooling water you not only risk overheating the engine but more importantly you risk lighting the boat on fire or at the very least melting something from the hot exhaust gasses flowing where they weren’t intended to flow.

To change the impellers I stupidly picked a hot evening after a long day’s run which left the engine room feeling like a very hot steam bath.  It took four sessions to get the impellers out and the new ones installed because I kept feeling like I was going to melt down there.

The big project for today is to install heat sensors on the exhaust risers.  Once that is done I’ll have some assurance that the impellers are doing their job of cooling the exhaust which may give me enough comfort to run the impellers a little longer. 

IMG_5743Looking to the west, deeper into this little bay.  I don’t care what the old Captain said, its not Desolate, its just pretty.

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