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Melissa & Dave - Adventures at Sea

Another boat rescued!

This morning was gorgeous and we decided to head out for Gig Harbor.  Alas we would not make it there.  About half way there, Peregrine’s engine quit.  Nomi and Charly reported it had been sounding funny for a bit and then quit.  We quickly rigged up for towing.  We had installed anti-chafe on Apsaras’ back deck in preparation for having to potentially someday rig a sea anchor in a storm.  But the anti-chafe works great for towing too.  So we rigged up and headed south towards Gig Harbor. 

We were pretty sure they had run out of gas.  We had a small tank with about a half-gallon of diesel.  Melissa put it in a dry bag and floated it back where Nomi fished it out with a boat hook.  Alas no luck, they still couldn’t get the engine started.  Dave was pretty sure that small amount of diesel just wasn’t enough to get through all the lines to the engine.  So we decided to stop midway at Olalla where there is a landing.  We planned to call a taxi to get them to bring us some diesel.

As we neared the landing, the depth dropped suddenly to less than 5 feet below the keel.  That caused Dave to have to turn around very quickly.  Problem is that when you are towing a boat, the boat in back doesn’t have brakes.  So it was a tense moment hoping that Peregrine wouldn’t run into the back of us.  Narrow miss!

Fortunately ,the taxi driver we called graciously agreed to go buy a fuel tank, fill it with diesel and bring it to us.  Charly then took a kayak over to the landing to get the fuel.

Alas, after having dumped in the diesel (after first verifying it was actually diesel – diesel engines don’t like gasoline) the engine still wouldn’t start.  Dave headed over to help out.  He bled the injectors and they replaced the fuel filter.  When you run a fuel tank dry – you usually suck up all the nasty stuff from the bottom of the tank.  You hope that the fuel filter saves you from clogging an injector.

Eventually they got the engine to start but it wasn’t producing much power.  By now it was almost time for sunset and we were no where near a place we could anchor.  Not good.  We decided to head back to Blake Island in hopes of being able to find a mooring buoy to put Peregrine on.  We arrived there well after dark, but we spotted one open mooring buoy.  At this point Peregrine was tied along side us giving Dave pretty good control of both boats.  But approaching the buoy was still tense because Dave wasn’t sure of the handling characteristics of having a large boat tied alongside.  Plus it was nearly pitch dark.  But he still managed to put us square on the buoy first try.  Melissa went to grab the buoy with her fancy boat hook, alas, the line got twisted up and stuck.  Took a few minutes to get it sorted.  At which point Melissa hopped back aboard Apsaras and we waved good bye to Charly and Nomi.

We slowly made our way around Blake Island, alas there were no more buoys available.  Anchoring in the dark seemed unwise, so we decided to head for Elliot Bay.  It was 10:50pm at this point.  Amazingly Elliot Bay had someone manning the phones till 11pm.  So Melissa caught them just in time to get a slip assignment.  She asked for something nice and wide and easy to get into as we didn’t want to be making tight turns in the dark into an unfamiliar slip.  They were great and assigned a slip opposite the fuel dock where the lanes between docks are double wide.

Now we just had to make our way across the shipping lanes in the middle of the night.  Dave called Seattle traffic a couple of times to verify barge traffic and the number of barges being towed.  Getting between a tug and a barge is a sure way to sink your boat.  At one point Seattle traffic claimed a tug was out front of a barge when we could see it was actually along side.

Having made it safely across, we docked at Elliot with no trouble and tied up.  It was 12:30 when we could relax.  We were wired though so didn’t get to bed till about 2am.  Dave meanwhile did a bunch of additional research on Peregrine’s engine.  He now believes that they didn’t bleed the injectors properly and that the engine might still be essentially starved of fuel.

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