08 August 2023 | Apooiti Bay, Raiatea
William Ennis | Very hot and humid
Our first night out!
We had a very difficult beginning this morning. We were up early, since we knew that we were scheduled for splash. We had the dinghy tied down, foredeck clear, engine prepped (we thought) and most of the myriad tasks completed.
About 9:30AM, the lift trailer appeared and we had to leave the boat. The lift trailer is a sophisticated, self-powered device that uses hydraulically-actuated pads to lift a boat for transport. Its great utility is that one can store boats much closer together than when using the TraveLift. The lift trailer moved Wings to mid-yard where the TraveLift was moved into place to carry Wings for the final splash.
By 10:40, we were in the water and had no leaks. Wonderful! The first order of business was to start the engine. Our engine battery was too low to turn the engine! Hey, it had been charging for 9 months! My meter showed 12.5VDC: insufficient. Then I saw that the cable that sends charging current to the battery was disconnected. Now, I did NOT do that but I've had 2 other people working on the house bank and for some reason, someone disconnected that battery. At least I knew why. I did replace the charging cable.
I dragged out the Honda generator and we began to charge the battery. Since the generator would supply any voltage needed, we tried to start the battery. No go. We could get the engine started but not increase RPM. Fuel problem.
In the end, we found that the Racor filter was the problem. Our Racor hasn't changed design in 50 years and the filters are still sold everywhere. There's a lower transparent bowl that removes water from the fuel (the transparent bowl allow one to see the water droplets), and a top containing the filter that removes debris from the fuel. When I had dismantled the Racor last year, I had filled the bowl, but today I found that the upper section with the filter was empty. That air had been pulled into the rest of the system downstream. Damn! I'm unsure if I neglected to fill the filter or whether it simply evaporated.
I used our auxiliary fuel pump to fill the filter, then begin to crank the engine to draw fuel into the secondary filter, mounted on the engine. After some missteps, I found the manual lever for the fuel pump and was able to fill the secondary, and the engine did the rest, starting and running well. Thankfully, the engine can self-clear air (self-bleeding) from the secondary filter downstream to the injector pump, but that secondary must be clear. I've bled diesel for many years, so I can do it, but was gratified to find that I didn't have to.
We finally departed the Carenage at 12:40, and made it to Uturoa for more fuel (gas for the dinghy and generator, and diesel for the engine), and groceries. After some wait time, we accomplished both and made it to Apu Bay on Taha'a, but there was no room at the inn: no free moorings. We jetted across the distance between Raiatea and Taha'a to Apooiti, where we did find a mooring, and here we are.
Everything ran superbly. The engine purred and all of our electronics performed perfectly, including the wind sensor. The weather is supposed to deteriorate tonight, with big winds and rain for the next two days. We badly wanted to be sheltered and on a good mooring, and we were able to accomplish it. We have fuel, food, and a safe mooring for the next few days, and then Conni wants to visit Bora Bora or Taha'a.