Sat 16 Jun 2012
Docked at Delaware City Marina, DE
[photo: sharing the C & D canal with a larger veseel]
We are finally on our way after a delay of 8 days. There was zero Internet again this morning, so I cannot check the weather except for the NOAA VHF radio.
As expected, with where we are in the monthly tidal cycle and with the N winds for the past couple of days, the current was against us most of the way up the bay. It finally turned in our favor as we entered the C & D canal, as planned. We are not complaining, but if we were headed S, we would have had a strong favorable current for a long time, plus the wind helping us. In our case, we had a weak favorable current in the canal for a short time. All in all, though, we made the 48 miles in 8.5 hours.
We elected to go into a marina at Delaware City, DE, which required exiting the canal with a favorable current and immediately turning N for well over a mile against a strong current in order to come to the marina from the E. The dockmaster and dock hand were great and we had no issues coming alongside the dock. After getting secure, they spun us around 180 degrees using the current and the dock lines so that we are facing to leave in the morning. This is helpful since the width of the waterway isn't much wider than our boat length and maneuvering with a strong current makes turning around risky.
We tied up at 1730 and paid the bill around 1800. Tim the dockmaster, was very eager to show me all the Internet sites he uses to help Captains plan their passages up and down the Delaware Bay and it took a while to get out of there, but it was very helpful. Diane had planned that we stroll the brick-lined promenade and then walk through the small section downtown. It was really quite charming, in its own way. It was not a touristy downtown at all.
Back at Diva Di, we heated the last of the lasagna, Diane made a delicious salad, and we dined in the cockpit. When Duane dropped a crouton on the cockpit sole, Diane tossed it overboard and by happenstance there were 3 ducks that raced form under the dock to get it. Clyde was very entertained by this, so when they came back our way after dinner, I fed them some bread pieces while Clyde watched in awe.
Rather than leave at noon tomorrow to catch the most favorable tidal current and then get to Cape May near dark, we will leave at 0500 and expect to have a decent run down. The winds are expect to be low in the morning, yet probably enough to get a little boost. Everyone tells us that we don't want strong sailing winds because they make such steep, choppy waves in the shallow bay. We believe them.
Fri 15 Jun 2012
Docked at Worton Creek Marina
[photo: cute Bed and Breakfast in nearby Chestertown, MD]
This is finally our last full day in Worton Creek. It is nothing against anyone here; we just really need to be getting on with the cruise.
Even starting before 0700, I could not get all the rest of the engine back together and all the hoses (including a new one) re-routed and connected before John came by at 0830. I finished 30 minutes later and he got free a little later to run the tests. All looked good, so we cranked it up and had no fuel flow. We had forgotten to turn the fuel tank valve back to open, but soon it was purring like a kitten (well, maybe a lion with indigestion, since it is a diesel engine). John clocked off my job and left me to run the engine under load and monitor it for leaks, strange sounds, and temperature using the infrared thermometer.
All was good 30 minutes later, so I shut it down and used a cooling fan to let it cool down. When it was, I removed the valve cover, rocker arm assembly, and glow plug bus bar to access the cylinder head bolts. Rather than wait for John, I re-torqued each bolt (they all needed a little) and it was good. It is now cooling further for John to do a final "cold" valve clearance check.
Diane has been understandably upset with the major disruption of the boat interior and I haven't been too happy that the cockpit and surrounding area have lots of greasy fingerprints from all the trips on and off the boat. It is difficult to climb in or out of the cabin with the ladder missing (the engine is under the ladder) so grabbing the boat in various places is required. Once the re-torque was done, I set about cleaning up everything as best as I could and then Diane and I re-stowed everything we could. I next scrubbed all the greasy marks off the gelcoat and scrubbed the cockpit area, while Diane did a more thorough job cleaning below. We both feel a lot better now (Duane more than Diane).
As we were stowing the bypass cooling pump, Diane asked if I wanted it in the locker which is very difficult to access since we wouldn't need it again. I remarked that if we keep it handy, we are likely not to need it again. After a brief pause, she said if we needed that again she was flying home. With no pause, I said I would be joining her.
After a short while, John came back aboard to do the final valve clearance check. There were some minor adjustments to be made, and then I buttoned up the rest of the engine, put the cover and ladder back in place and stowed all the tools. Diane and I walked to the marina office to pick up a few last supplies and Duane went to pay the bill.
On the plus side, there was no charge for the 7 nights we stayed at the dock and used their facilities, and they even gave us the use of the electricity at no charge, which I thought was especially generous. Also, the total cost of the parts was considerably less than originally quoted because we had not needed many of them and the ones we really needed were obtained from the Kubota dealer (minus the 100% markup that Universal Marine adds).
On the negative side, the mechanic's time was a bit more than I had hoped for, even though it appeared to be an honest accounting of his time. The total turned out to be a BOAT buck (Break Out Another Thousand), almost to the dollar. It would have been much worse almost anywhere else we would have been for this work, so we are grateful for that, and to Harvey for the recommendation.
After paying the bill about 1630, Diane and I went to the pool with a refreshing beverage. There were some boisterous pre-teens in the pool, but we could tune out their constant chatter and even their splashing. Within an hour, they were gone and we had peace and quiet. Before long, however, it was time to shower and get dinner going. It was a simply re-heat of crab cakes, potatoes, and broccoli with some fresh avocado brightened with some lemon juice. Dinner at the restaurant may or may not have been better and it was $100 we didn't need to spend.
Thu 14 Jun 2012
Docked at Worton Creek Marina
There was, indeed, enough breeze and coolness to the air to sleep comfortably. When Duane awoke around 0600 to let Clyde out in the cockpit, it was actually very cool, and time to put the coffee percolator on the burner. Diane arose fairly early and we had our cereal in the cockpit. It was a good thing, too, for seeing all the gleaming stainless steel tubing reminded her that I still needed to finish part of the starboard side midships. Furthermore, she knew it was best to get it done before the sun rose above the tree line. It was good she remembered or I would have had to endure a long, relaxing, cup of coffee and my book. LOL
The weather is very nice, with mostly sunny blue skies and a gentle NW wind. It will be out of the N or NE over the next few days, so if we leave Fri we will be traveling with the current and against the wind and it will be choppy. Diane has been briefed that the plan is a longish day up to and through the Chesapeake & Delaware canal to Delaware City. Then is will be a fairly long day to Cape May, where we plan to spend 2 nights. Then it will be another long day to Little Egg Inlet and Beach Haven where we plan to spend 2 days. After that, the target is Manasquan Inlet for a quick overnight, and then a relatively short day to Sandy Hook where we expect to spend 2 nights. That is about 275 miles in 7 days, but with the rest days in between, we hope it won't seem so bad.
As of 1145, the parts had arrived and Duane retrieved them from the office and confirmed on the boat that they were the correct ones (yay!). I started doing a final cleaning up of the gasket surfaces and am now awaiting the mechanic to return from lunch and we will get going.
Well, the overall outcome of the afternoon's work was good, but we encountered several delaying problems and the engine is still not quite together and tested. First, the gear case gasket was not exactly correct. There are 4 O-rings that need to have clearance on the gasket, so I suggested we open them up. A hole punch didn't work since we found out the gasket is thin metal covered in thin rubber and the punch wouldn't cut it. The final solution was a carbide nib in an air grinder using the old gasket as a reference. That put us back over an hour and at least $100.
Diane had wisely left the boat with the bicycle, but went the long way to her chosen destination and was dehydrated when she finally made it back. She then headed for the pool to leave us to our task.
Near 1700, we had the majority of the engine reassembled, but the mechanic wants to run the engine as a test and get it hot. When it cools we will re-torque the head bolts and check/adjust the valve clearances. John was agreeable to continue into the evening, but I know that we would still not be in a position to leave early tomorrow, so why push it. We will carry on tomorrow morning and hope that we can catch the northerly current around 1300 and get at least to the entrance to the C & D canal.
Duane cleaned up the boat a bit and headed for the shower. The pool was already locked, but having hand-washed the clothing and sitting wet in the breeze at the top of the hill cooled him off quickly and thoroughly.
Dinner was excellent and well-deserved after the day's ordeal. We had made crab cakes earlier in the morning and heated them along with the leftover mashed potato/onion mixture and some fresh broccoli.
It is a very pleasant evening and we were reading in the cockpit when a dock-mate came calling. Slightly different than the original story, it turns out that his boat was not tied to the dock properly and when it drifted away with a wind shift, the electrical cord ripped the socket out of the power pole. I helped him re-connect all 4 wires to the connector and reattach it to the pole. His wife confirmed that all was working OK and I went back to our boat.
It will likely be an early night again tonight.
Tue 12 Jun 2012
Docked at Worton Creek Marina
[photo: finally got the engine apart enough to replace the camshaft]
We had quite a rain in the early morning, but left the air conditioning on to help lower the humidity. Looking at the deck and cockpit, however, you would never suspect we had a hard rain since it was still marred with recent bird droppings and the remains of hundreds of insects. It bothered me enough that I got out the brush and soap and did a quick job of cleaning it off.
We both slept later than usual after our revelry the night before and got to see Harvey off in the boat and Sara off in the car. I then tackled disassembling the engine as far as I could in about an hour. Trying to track down the mechanic is difficult because he is being pulled in many directions and there is always somebody with "just a quick job" that needs to be done. The only thing that prevents me from getting too concerned is that we are still awaiting parts for the reassembly, so we are not necessarily losing time.
Our new buddies (Craig and Peggy) with the fuel pump problem look to be fixed (that was one of the "quick jobs"), but they are staying the night anyway. We expect to see them later and hopefully we will be celebrating some measure of progress on our engine by then.
Near noon, the mechanic arrived and we got to work in earnest. Working alongside John was a real pleasure. He obviously knows what he is doing, and he is willing to share and discuss along the way to the betterment of your knowledge. We had the cylinder head and gear case off in less than an hour and while John took the head to the shop to scrape off the gasket residue and remove all the flaking paint, I stayed at the boat to carefully clean the block. You don't dare let any residue fall into the crankcase where it could clog the narrow oil galleries.
When John returned, I had the sad task of reporting that the gear case gasket was obviously wrong. He then opened the head gasket package and confirmed that it was wrong, too. Not a good feeling. We hoofed back to the office and got the parts manager, James, involved. Working in our favor was the fact that I/we had supplied the exact model number and serial number of the engine, but at the same time, the crew here at Worton Creek did not have a parts list for the M-35B and so used the M-35 parts list. So, they very specifically ordered the wrong parts, although they rely on their suppliers to cross-check them in cases like this.
Based upon what I overheard, I don't think they have any intention of trying to penalize me financially for the mistake, although we will lose another 2 days. If all goes well, we will have been here a full 7 days, which is a long time.
After moving as many of the parts and stuff as possible, I put the engine cover and ladder back on so we could exist in the boat with a little room, but the kitty litter box was not in its normal spot and there was litter tracked all over the boat by morning; Diane was not at all happy.
I got off the boat to have a last visit with Craig and Peggy, who served some tasty snacks. After that nice visit, I moved to another boat owned by Dick and Judy since they said they had lots of cruising info to share about our points north. I was there for a short while and enjoyed the company and the info.
Back at Diva Di, I reheated the lasagna for us and it was mighty tasty on a wet, dreary evening. Unfortunately, the humidity and warmth got to Duane in the middle of the night so he went out in the cockpit and switched the shore power cable from the A/C receptacle to the house receptacle. We have two separate cords that could have been used, but one was stowed where getting it would have been a nightmare due to the engine parts scattered about. It was easier to just switch the cable.
Mon 11 Jun 2012
Docked at Worton Creek Marina
It cooled off nicely overnight, but not enough to be the least bit chilly or make Duane yearn for a cup of coffee. Our location is below a pretty steep hill to the E with many tall leafy trees, so the sunlight preceded the blaze of direct sun by over two hours. It was a great time to get more stainless steel polishing done, and then read peacefully in the cockpit with Clyde before Diane awoke.
Harvey had suggested that I try to get the John the mechanic's attention right after 0800 and I did. He was able to come over a few hours later and we tested the compression to find it was excellent on all cylinders. Next, he suggested that I remove the exhaust elbow to see if we had any concerns there and I am thrilled to report that it is in great shape, too.
He got confirmation that the parts (mostly gaskets and seals) should be arriving tomorrow mod-morning, so I told John that I would disassemble the engine as far as I wanted to go in the early part of the morning. When I wasn't attending to our own boat, I was helping Harvey with two projects on his and they turned out fine.
Diane and Sara had gone to Chestertown for shopping, lunch, and some minor provisions. They had a good time and didn't have to put up with the mess of the various boat projects. They also got a nice flank steak for dinner.
By 1530, the pool was calling me and I was surprised to find no one else there, but then realized it was no longer a weekend and most people were at work or school. On the way back I was hailed by a couple on the fuel dock and recognized them as ones we had met in Annapolis and then later they were here for a day. It seems the electric fuel pump on their rented boat failed so their other friends towed them back here. As of 1700, they had not been able to locate a replacement part.
Part way through our happy hour on Harvey and Sara's new boat, Harvey and I trudged up the hill to get the grill going. The grill was extra hot, so the steak was more medium than medium-rare, but it was still tender and juicy. The rest of the 'fixins' were tasty, too, and we enjoyed a very nice meal and great conversation. It was a lot later than usual when we went to bed.
Sun 10 Jun 2012
Docked at Worton Creek Marina
[pool at the marina]
We elected to leave the air conditioning running all night and the way the ducting works, it was still not very cool in the V-berth. It was certainly pleasant enough, just not cold like the main saloon. Breakfast waited until after doing some more polishing of the stainless steel while the fast-rising sun was not quite blazing hot. Even then, less than an hour later it was time to quit.
With the air running and having a lazy day ahead, it was a good time to cook up some eggs, sausage and toast for breakfast. Then, with the extra time, we decided to prepare and bake a large tray of Lasagna for meals later this week. While that was baking, there was time to chat with our nearby dock mates. All were nice and most were heading out today for a short excursion. The sailors lamented the lack of wind and the power boaters reveled in it.
Diane went for a long walk up the hill to see what there was to see, while Duane got out the charts, guidebooks, tide tables, and consulted the smartphone Navionics App for current info. We need to have the current with us for both the Chesapeake and Delaware (C & D) canal and the trip down the Delaware Bay. If we were leaving today, it would be great, but not being able to leave until Thu or Fri means that we will be traveling late in the day to go with the current.
After enough of all that planning stuff, it was time to bring a small taste of the Lasagna up to Diane at the pool, along with a refreshing beverage and a good book. I really do like most children, but my heart sank a bit when I neared the pool and heard the loud shouts of "Marco - Polo." There were three young girls playing there without adult supervision and taking over the whole pool. I would have preferred to stand in the pool at the edge reading my new book, but that was not going to happen unless I spoiled their play, so I sat with Diane a while and then went back to the boat. I will try again later.
Later was a little better as the girls had moved on to quieter games. We enjoyed a few delightful hours in the pool reading our books when Harvey appeared. He and Sara had just driven down from PA to load up their boat and hope to leave Tue morning for Oxford, MD. Harvey asked me to give him the benefit of some engineering advice on a last-minute project, but I suspect he has it all figured out.
We had cocktails and snacks aboard their beautiful (new-to-them) boat, and finally had to disengage from the fascinating conversation to get some supper. The Lasagna turned out well and we were quite satisfied by 2030. The night is extremely still and now comfortable, but the bugs are coming out and it is time to head below with the screens in the hatches.