Oct 26, 2017

Trouble with Engines and Alligators

Today started out like any day.

One by one the kids crawled into bed with us. 

We got out of bed. Started a pot of tea. Started making breakfast. 

I checked the engine oil like I do every morning (thanks Eddie) then go to start the engines. Port engine won't start. I try the starboard, nothing. Like there is no electricity to the ignition panel. This has happened before when I forget to turn on the starter battery switch on the starboard engine. 

I check the switches. They are on. Confused, I get out my voltmeter and check for power at the engine starter. It's got power. So I opened up the ignition panel. No obvious problems. 

I went back to the port engine. After several tries, and by giving it extra throttle I was able to get it going. I let it run while I turned my attention back to the starboard engine. 

After several minutes with no progress, I decided to just get us going. It's a little difficult to get a catamaran moving from a dead stop with just one engine. The the boat just wants to spin in a circle like a car with only one rear wheel. 

I've found that turning the wheel in the opposite direction of the propulsion and only giving short bursts of power, I can pick up steerage pretty quick. It only takes about a knot of speed. 

However, on this morning we were anchored in a narrow river anchorage with fallen trees and submerged logs on either shore. 

So I turned the wheel hard over to starboard and gave a lot of power on the port engine to spin us around 180 degrees as sharply as possible. Luckily this was a deep river with steep banks. We turned around without any issue. 

Fortunately the kids were exceptionally well behaved during the whole engine debacle. LeeAnn was a huge help in keeping them entertained. 

The rest of our day proceeded as usual with two notable exceptions: we saw some huge white cliffs, and a huge green alligator!!

LeeAnn has been telling me over and over there has to be alligators around here. I kept saying "no, no, no... there is not!"

Well today she wins!

I glanced at the bank behind us and saw an alligatorish shape. I got out the binoculars and sure enough, it was an alligator of significant size. At least 6 feet. LeeAnn says 8 feet and since she is right about most things... she is probably right about the length. 

We are almost to our anchorage. Once there I will change the fuel filters on the engines. During the trip today I sat at the helm station poking around with a voltmeter. Suddenly the panel came back to life. I think/hope it is just corrosion around the terminals. I'm going to clean them and see if that does the trick! Fingers crossed!

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