Leaving Las Vegas…….

Leaving Las Vegas

10 September 2012 (Eastern Hemisphere)

Dear F&F,

Well, \”leaving day\” is always a bit of a challenge; this one was no exception! After taking on and filtering our questionable quality diesel fuel and getting dock sedentary-itis for three weeks. I\’m always a bit in waiting for the \”other shoe to drop\” mode.

We were all ready to go and at 8 a.m. we said our goodbye\’s and were off. \”Ainia\” had left the day before and \”Saviah\” the day before that.

About 15 minutes later while I\’m putting the dock lines and fenders away, Nikki calls me up out of the depths of the boat and asks me why the channel buoy seems to be marked wrong? I went through looking at all the buoys up and down the channel and suddenly,(as I realized we were on the reef area), the starboard engine just stopped. I immediately assumed we\’d inhaled a plastic bag in the water cooling system as the entire harbor in Bali looks like a plastic trash heap. Just as I was telling Nikki to \”keep the boat away from everything and out of the way\”, we bumped into the reef outside the main channel.

So now, we\’re more worried about the grounding than the engine wouldn\’t start. Quickly I hailed down a local with a big outboard and within 5-10 minutes we were out of danger. Here is where raising our movable daggerboards really pays off. I keep them down to \”bump\” an object first and hopefully keep us safe from hull damage. Then by raising them, we have enough water to effect a quick escape. The tide was falling too! We could have really been stuck, not to mention rubbed the wrong way by a dead coral reef.

I gave the guy some cash as a thank you (another story!) and went to check our water cooling system on the stopped engine. It checked out fine, so we tried and successfully re-started the engine. On the road again….. Or so we thought!

Five minutes later, the starboard engine started acting like it was fuel starved. Why does this always happen in either totally remote or totally traffic jammed places?…:-) I quickly changed with the flip of a handle, one fuel filter for a reserve one. No luck, the engine died. I changed the fuel filters while in the channel on both engines and tried again. This time, the starboard engine started right up. Five minutes later it died again.

That was enough, we through in the towel and headed back to the marina which I was loathe to do. We tied up on the outside dock and it occurred to me that it was most likely the SECONDARY fuel filter that was also plugged, a job better done at the dock anyway. Nikki and I quickly changed this filter – which is hard to tell if it\’s junked up or not in most cases, but here I could clearly see it was. Not wanting to take a chance, we changed the port motor secondary fuel filter as well; it too was clogged up. We told the marina as we\’d only lost two and half hours of the day, that we\’d test the engines and if they worked, goodbye again. If not, we\’d need a mechanic and be back in an hour or less.

Well, this time the \”leaving spirits\” were on our side, both engines purred better than ever and off we went. Making sure to follow our inbound track as to not repeat our bumping boo boo.

Once we cleared the south side of Bali, it was 570 miles, straight to Christmas Island… Stay tuned and watch for our position reports as we now embark on an approximately 5,000 mile voyage across the Indian Ocean….

Scott and Nikki