Cooling Challenges and Good Friends

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…what a blown impeller looks like…

As we sailed into the Fort Pierce Inlet after a lovely full moon motor sail from Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos, the cooling impeller pump failed or 90% failed. This can be identified by the hollow sound in the engine exhaust and the low flow of exhaust cooling water. YUP, we either plugged the water intake or the impeller just died! Great job, ISLAND SPIRIT, you held on until we got back to the USA, then you sent us a warning shot that something was not right. What a great boat, with a great spirit. She got us home!

So, with a jib flying and running at 1500 rpms we made it into the Fort Pierce inlet against a 3 knot out flowing current. We proceeded south to the anchorage and dropped the hook. Job #1 was to call the USA customs officer and clear into the United States via a phone call. That is right, since Radeen and I have LOCAL BOATER OPTION cards, LBOs, we can clear back into the USA via a phone interview. This is great as it saves you from going to the customs office to check in. It does work. Of course this was after we re-activated our Verizon cell phones which had been suspended for 90 days. With cells up and running, we phoned in and checked back into the USA.

We enjoyed a visit with our buddy boat, TEOTWAWKI, rowing over to share snacks and a bottle of wine. After that, we rowed back into the 3 knot current and enjoyed the sunset and a feeling of accomplishment!

The impeller job can wait until the AM….

as we have been up for 36 hours with about 4 hours sleep for each of us. Night time crossing can be tough!

In the AM, we checked the sea strainer and discovered it was clear. So, next we dropped the starter off the engine, gained access to the impeller plate and found the broken impeller. What a mess. Obviously, this impeller had been breaking down over time. It finally gave up as we re-entered the USA.

Here is the starter dropped so it is out of the way

Luckily, I have an impeller puller tool, otherwise it is tough to get off the gear shaft
 There it is. FIVE fins out of nine are broken off. The bad news is, we could only recover 3 fins.
So, there are two fins loose in the cooling system and I will have to find them later!
 That is what a NEW impeller looks like installed….AHHH…how nice

SO….with a running boat, it was TIME TO MOVE ON. Let’s head SOUTH to STUART!

Here we are getting a lift on the New Roosevelt Lift Bridge at Stuart.

After washing the salt off the boat, we hit the town and met up with great friends Bob of IP 380 JUDITH III and Lamar and Sherri of IP 420 WINTERSET. Bob drove down from Satellite Beach to visit and Lamar and Sherri were already here, putting their 420 away till the fall. What a great visit!

Hayden, Bob and Lamar at the Art Festival

Hayden, Bob and Radeen, heading for at lunch at Duffy’s

Sherri and Radeen, so happy to see each other

                      Stuart is supposed to be  the SAIL FISHING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

The really wonderful aspect to cruising, as many have said, is the people you meet along the way. Here we are in Stuart, Florida, just passing through, and two sets of good friends take the time to connect with us and have lunch together! Thank you , Sherri, Lamar and Bob for a fun day! What a great life…..
Next adventure….crossing the OKEECHOBEE WATERWAY….you know, the big lake in the center of Florida? Yes, we will sail across it this week!
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