The Sludge Report
13 January 2018 | Barra de Navidad
January 12, 2018
On the trip down from Punta de Mita to Barra we had other problems too. Our engine kept coughing and then would quit. A little concerning. Jay attributed it to the big waves and our rocking and rolling kicking up the sludge. He said it was probably getting caught up in the lines, cutting off the fuel. He went below, gave her some oil and switched from the port tank to starboard. All was good for a while.
Then, five miles out of the entrance to Barra de Navidad, the engine started coughing again. Jay rushed down below, put on the fuel pump, gave her some more oil, checked the bleed screw and tightened some hose clamps. She came back and we made it into the marina with no more issues.
Once the boat was settled down, we could see that the fuel filter was filthy. We decided it would be prudent to polish the fuel tanks. And was it ever!
Jay opened the port tank and not only did he find it full of black sludge, (They filled up a lasagna pan with it.) it was completely empty of diesel! How could this be? It's true, we don't have fuel gages, but we are very careful to log our engine hours and keep track that way. It was so disconcerting, it kept Jay awake all night.
The next morning, after Jay, the mechanic and two other guys polished the port tank, they opened the starboard tank which was entirely full. Now we were really confused. It turns out, the lever that switches from the port fuel tank to the starboard fuel tank was filled with sludge too, so when we thought we were switching over to starboard, we weren't. The guys took all 65 gallons from the starboard tank, ran it through a filter and put it in the port tank. Then polished the starboard tank. They also cleaned the filters and lever.
Today we went over to the fuel dock and filled the starboard side with another 65 gallons. Cadenza purred her way back to the marina.
What can I say? It's a boat!