HIGH ON THE SEA

Don’t forget to look up, buttercup.

I slept, honey, I slept. Not for long though. I went through some screeching squalls last night. Big rain. Rat-tat-tat-tat-tat. Juniper was soaring with her double-reefed main only. And Ruby, the hydrovane, held solid through it all. I didn’t have to lift a finger.

Ruby and I have been together for many nautical miles. I’m pretty familiar with how she dances and I was thrown for a loop out there in that monster mash. The last time we were in a sea state like that and she was behaving that way, I made an adjustment to the vane axis and that did the trick. So I kept thinking that’s what I needed to do, but my axis wouldn’t budge.

I can’t believe it took me days to discover the real issue. I feel like such a kook!

There are only a few reasons why the vane wouldn’t hold course. One, if my sails were out of balance. Two, if the settings on the vane need to be adjusted. Three, if Juniper’s rudder is not locked off.

Number one, I considered. Normally I would have my staysail up. But I felt the helm. The helm was balanced main only and when I had headsail up it was making me feel more out of whack. My heavy weather sailing guru, John Rousmaniere, says it’s ok to go one sail only in conditions like that and that “the mainsail provides considerable fore-and-aft support for the mast in rough seas.” I’m worried about my rig, so I chose the main.

Number three, never even occurred to me, because my helm was locked off, so I thought. Juniper’s rudder, cut loose by waves, and counteracting the hydrovane’s rudder. Who would have thought? My line around the helm is keeping the ships rudder steady now and course is held by the hydrovane with ease.

Also I forgot to tell you that when I made that jibe towards 16S, along with everything feeling more peaceful aboard, it also felt as if the wind and ocean where pushing me as fast as they could towards a better place. Like I was being guided, transported, protected, by something greater than me. I must remember to follow all paths in life that provide me with that same feeling.

Is this boring? Sorry. Anyway, big lessons learned.

Last night along with the squalls, I was having strange headlamp occurrences again. On this trip I have two headlamps aboard. One of them is brand new. Bought it in Bora Bora. Both lamps have a red and white light. I’ve been favoring the new one, but last night it started to do that flash, flash, flash, flash, flicker to red eerie thing. It got stuck on the red and I couldn’t get it back to the white. I switched back to my old headlamp and it did the same thing as soon as I turned it on. Everything is speaking to me out here. Even the lights.

When I woke up this morning, I didn’t feel as fresh as a daisy, I felt like a fossil. It’s as if I’ve been high on the sea and tweaking out for days and am having a big come down.

I was brought down even further, when I discovered that yellow salt sludge is coming out of my fresh water tanks. It’s the exact color of a dehydrated persons urine and it has lots of sediments and flakes in it. Twisted my stomach right up to see it. I’ve been brushing my teeth with that water, making my coffee with that water, cleaning my food with that water. The only blessing is that I have about 30 gallons of water in separate jugs for drinking.

I was filling my water tanks with rain in French Polynesia and I guess I’ve been collecting more than rain from the sky.

Anyway, the wind is being such a tease today. Coming and going and blowing a bunch of nothing. I’m supposed to see at least 15 knots but I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of that. It’s been a day of drift.

I’ve decided it’s best not to chase the wind or call it, to just let it come to me, when it wants, as it wants.

When it’s like this, sometimes I can drift slowly with just the jib. It’s a nice and easy 3 knot feeling that only works without a pole if the swell is at a perfect angle.

It’s broad daylight and the smoke and glass spirit voice just goes, “I know you can hear me. I love you. I miss you.” I have goosebumps. Who is that? One of my ancestors? An imposter? I say, “I can hear you. Who are you?” No response.

I’ve been investigating the engine more today. Thank you Liberty Cave for your advice. Perhaps others have sent advice, I just haven’t seen it yet. Anyway, I need more advice, if y’all got it. I went ahead and ran the engine for an hour at 2,000 RPM. The red light was there but dim. I notice that my speed is not as good as it typically is at that RPM.

I confirmed again that water was coming out aft. I just can’t tell how good that flow is, without falling overboard.

After one hour of running, every gauge on the instrument panel had fogged up. I killed the engine. I waited for it to cool so I could get under the hood again. The engine was piping hot and stayed hot for three hours after running.

I definitely think it’s overheating somehow.

Once it cooled, I checked everything again. The oil level is solid. The coolant level is solid. The Racor fuel separator filter is clean. The oil filter does not appear to be leaking.

I want to know if the incorrect viscosity of oil can be the cause of overheating on a diesel engine? I know that overheating can cause reduced viscosity, but I want to know if the reverse is true. Like if wrong viscosity is put in the engine could it be the cause of overheating?

My novice understanding is that the oil directly effects the turbocharger and that when the turbocharger is performing poorly it can cause reduced power, overheating, and black smoke. The only thing I’m not seeing here is black smoke. So if the oil directly effects the turbocharger then I was thinking the wrong viscosity could technically be the cause of the overheating? Is it true?

I can’t believe these words are coming out of my mouth! I don’t even really know what I’m saying.

My other question, is there a risk to my turbocharger or engine in general, if I run the engine in neutral? The ability to do that will at least give me some charge off the alternator until I resolve this.

Tomorrow I’m going to climb into a space the size of a shoebox so I can check the raw water system. I pray I don’t get trapped in the lazaret. Can you imagine how long it would take someone to discover me if I did?

Ok. Love ya. Enjoy the journey of today.

*******************

*Tom in Hawaii, I’m filming everything. Don’t you worry.

* If you dig the ramblings of my wanderings and want to follow along on the map, click the contribution page on Wilderness of Waves, send any donation amount you desire, and my tracker password will be automatically emailed to you. Check your spam folders and/or send me a message on my sea email, if you have any issues receiving.

7 Replies to “HIGH ON THE SEA”

  1. The oil viscosity question is mute if you run your engine hot (over 180) because your engine hates hot and shouldn’t be run at all until the cause of overheating is tracked down and remedied. Typically, your oil should be around 30 wt. with a DS rating. It you’ve used an oil that is not DS rated, viscosity could be an issue over time in a heated engine.

    Weather looks peachy for Fiji landfall over the next 5 days. Winds look like they’ll be 120ish at around 15kts . . . the sea gods are smiling down upon you (or maybe they’re just so sick of laughing that they’re rewarding you for all of the great entertainment).

    Entering Suva Harbor at night not advisable. Massive reef in front is bloated with other craft that have tried. Range lights get confused with background lights. Anchorage: holding in Suva Harbor mushy . . . I put all my chain down . . . williwaws can come out of nowhere, boats drag and then life sucks.

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  2. Olivia, The oil you should be using should be either straight 30 weight or you can use 15-40 weight. The only thing oil does with the turbo is lubricate the turbo shaft bearing period!!!
    185 and over is getting hot for an enclosed engine like yours. If you were going to seize the engine it would of already happened. Like I said take some oil out and refill. Get the guy with the best referrals in port to look at it when you make landfall

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  3. Olivia , yes too thin of an oil very bad. Engines will run hot.
    15-40. Or straight 30
    That’s what you need.
    Running in neutral is easier on internal bearings by a lil bit. Stop focusing on you turbo. Get some fresh fuel wen you can

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  4. I am enjoying following this maritime adventure and hope dearly you have found a way to film this journey! You have a beautiful voice and great story to tell.

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  5. You are welcome, I would think given the symptoms that your water pump on the engine needs a new impeller. Calder will have a simple section on it. It wil be a PITA but is not a long job unless the engine is buried deep into the boat, a common design flaw. I would like to say, your writing becomes more down to earth as you solve the issues onyour boat, which is sad in a way because your enduring quality has been your imagination, but do not fear, your simply becoming experienced, you know, experience, the thing you get right after you needed it. Sail on Sailor.

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  6. I would suggest a Barnacle Buster flush (or similar product) of the seawater side of the cooling system as even a thin layer of growth on the heat exchanger can easily raise your engine’s temperature – after having checked your coolant level at cap and reserve reservoir. For the flush you’ll need a 5 gallon bucket with appropriate ratio of Barnacle Buster and water run through the seawater inlet and exited after the exchanger back into the bucket. It is typically accomplished with a pump about the size that would filter a large aquarium. I would not expect either BBuster or the pump to be readily available except at a good size chandlery, or somewhere like a large hardware type store. Some fellow cruisers may have a set up. I’ve seen boats that stopped even only temporarily in warm water, high growth areas that dropped their engine’s temp back to normal by flushing the seawater system which cleans the exchanger. The higher temp could also be the beginning of an impeller failure, sea strainer blockage, water pump problem, exhaust elbow blockage. Fair winds and keep the faith!

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