Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Corpus to Port O'Connor (we think). Actually, Corpus to Rockport

Our plan was to try and make a 110-mile run to a new waterfront development in Port O'Connor called "The Sanctuary."  They have a small marina for about 28 boats.  They only had a few docked there and they were interested in us staying long term to promote the look of the marina and the real estate development.  They offered us a pretty good deal to stay there (as in free) so we planned to dock for the night, get a tour and some promotional info to check it out.

About 25 miles from Corpus and not long after joining the GIWW, Rhonda felt comfortable enough piloting the boat to allow me a chance to check things out in the engine room.  It's pretty customary for this to occur several times during the day just as a good practice.  We darn sure didn't want any surprises on the trip, especially with an unfamiliar boat.  I'm sure you have sensed this coming, so here it is.  The port engine was standing in water with more pouring out of the overflow from the coolant reservoir.  Not good, but everything was running fine, no alarms, no high engine temps, we were still floating, etc.  I made some phone calls to the previous owner, the surveyor, and a mechanic where we had the boat hauled out for the survey.  Everyone was in agreement that the port heat exchanger had sprung a leak and was dumping the extra water out of the overflow.  Assuming this to be the case, we had 3 options.  (1) The Gulfstars are designed to run on one engine if required, or as an option for fuel efficiency. So, we could shut the port side down and run on the starboard only.  (2) Continue to run both which would run salt water through the port side engine all the way to Galveston rather than antifreeze.  (3) Stop and get it fixed before pressing on.

Just to be on the safe side, we decided on the 3rd option.  There was also the possibility that it could be something different than we thought, so best to play it safe.  Unfortunately, after spending more time than we had planned in Corpus, Clint/Linda/Gary/Dianne needed to get back to Galveston, so they waved goodbye and pressed on.  So much for our buddy-boat plan.  Well heck - anybody can boat under ideal conditions.

We pulled into Rockport and the mechanics confirmed what we thought.  I should point out, in fairness to the surveyor, that he had told us to pull and inspect the heat exchangers when we got a chance.  They had lots of hours on them and might last "2 weeks or 2 years" but we were certainly expecting them to hold up more than 25 miles!  Well, that's boating.  You never know, but have to be prepared to take the delay when it hits.  The mechanics found new replacements in CA so we went ahead and bought 2 and had them overnighted, figuring if one was bad, the other might be close behind.  So much for my IRA.

When in Rockport, do as Rockportians do - we ate seafood at JD's and enjoyed ourselves.  We spent 2 nights at Cove Harbor and resumed our trip.  The mechanic had gotten the new heat exchanger on the port side installed, flushed out the salt water in the system, added new coolant, had a spare for the starboard side if necessary, and we were good to go.  Our buddy-boat partners had been impressed with the Sanctuary so we went ahead with our original plan, heading for Port O'Connor.  A couple of dolphins joined us on the way - pretty common on the Gulf coast.  


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