So the morning after our last aborted attempt to leave Jekyll Harbor we fired up our engines, checked that we had good cooling flow out of both (we did), called up to the marina office for a couple of the guys to help us cast off and headed out once again. As we motored out of Jekyll Creek and headed to St Andrews Sound, I kept checking over both sides to make sure the cooling water was still flowing. Aaaand at about the same two mile point as the day before, I look at the starboard engine and see…nothing. White smoke is beginning to trail out of the exhaust and no seawater. Damn!!! First one engine, now the other.
We quickly kill the starboard engine and turn back around to the marina, praying that the port engine doesn’t act up. We put in a call on the VHF to the marina office and ask for them to get somebody on the dock to help us dock the boat. Once again Cindy puts the boat on the dock on one engine like a boss and we get tied up safely.
I am beyond frustrated! I open up the starboard engine hatch and pull off the same hose that I pulled on the port engine the day before. I blow on it and sure enough, it’s blocked. Another hard blow and I feel the blockage clear and can hear and see air bubbles flowing out of the seawater intake. I give it a dozen more blows, then we fire the engine up and cooling seawater flows as normal.
It seems clear that the problem we encountered yesterday may have been more than just one fish and is likely due to marine growth in the saildrives due to the fact that the engines have not been run in quite a while. We decide to borrow Sonny’s fitting again and back flush both saildrives for several minutes, turning the pressure off and on to thoroughly flush the engines. Then we run the engines at idle and high RPM at the dock for an hour, monitoring the cooling seawater flow out of both engines. They perform flawlessly.
Since it’s now too late to leave for Fernandina Beach, we resign ourselves to another night at Jekyll Harbor (not a bad thing since it’s been our boat home for over a year) and plan to head out again the next morning. Third time’s the charm!