Cleaning the water strainer on the weay to Channel Islands Harbor

Good morning – it’s another beautiful sunny light air November morning in Santa Monica Bay. We’re departing Catalina Island bound for Channel Islands Harbor, that’s a 54 mile hop and the idea was to make the run in daylight and therefore we wanted an up and early out. The forecast called for patchy morning dense fog and we could see the fog from Emerald, the fog was located up against Palos Verdes which was fine from my perspective. Calm and nicely mellow breeze according to the folks at NWS and the HRRR model run.

On went the engine, we dropped off the mooring, motored around past Brizo but they were still asleep so didn’t get to wave goodbye, made the turn around the kelp bed at Indian Rock, pointed the bow north, opened up the engine and immediately the raw water ceased flowing from the exhaust thru-hull in the transom and instead there issued smokey exhaust fumes from the thru-hull and nothing else. Argh! Shut engine off, unroll no. 4 jib so we’re pointed away from the island, and commence to troubleshoot the raw water cooling system on the Yanmar. First step – check the sea water strainer, which looked oddly dark to my eye. Upon removal of the strainer cup a large glop of tightly packed kelpy-looking thin seaweed flopped out – a huge amount of it. There was more stuffed down the intake hose that leads from the thru-hull to the strainer inlet. Open thru-hull, no water comes out – hose is plugged. Remove hose from strainer, fish out another two feet of seaweed and now I have gushing ocean water coming in – this is one of the rare instances where this is a good thing! Clean strainer, take photo of offending algae, re-assemble strainer, open up raw water impeller housing to verify no impeller fins have broken off (fins were intact, no need to dig through hoses to the back of the cooling jacket to recover bits of fins). Reassemble everything, open thru-hull to check for leaks (none noted), fire up engine – all is good, the gases remaining in the lift mufflers came out, along with a lot of raw water. Excellent! That took an hour of shifting gear to clear the at bunk to roll up the foam mattress to open up the engine box and access the sea water strainer, do the work, then put everything back together. Plus cat-management involving harnesses and unhappy cats and moving cats to places that were safe for them and out of the way – which mostly involves parking them on deck beneath the dodger and then keeping them there.

Now we’re once again under way, powering along north-east through beautiful blue water, sunny sky, and 46 miles to go to. Probably won’t arrive before dark, but we should arrive today – as compared to the alternative of slowly (but pleasantly) sailing in the prevailing 3.5 knots of west breeze and arriving some time tomorrow.

So that brings us up to speed on goings-on here this morning.

Yesterday was a super dive on the kelp beds outside Indian Rock, by far the best dive of the three I got in this trip. Good visibility, zero surge, light current, the equipment all worked – no leaks at the dive mask (silicone grease is my friend for this, lightly coat the mask seal prior to donning), no fogging of the dive mask (light scrubbing with plain-jane toothpaste and a tooth brush, no fingers as fingers have oil on them), the GoPro turned on in video mode this time (as opposed to prior dive where GoPro remained in stand-by mode when I thought it was recording), and I experimented with the dive compass and found it was easier to track the sunlight filtering through the water to know which way I was headed as compared to using the compass to do the same. The bottom was 70 feet, found interesting large kelpy seaweed with a tiny thin hold fast and a single 10″ wide 8-12 feet long leaf that lay on the sand, abalone, lobsters, tube worms, all sorts of fun critters. That was a fun dive!

The ladies on Brizo popped by in the kayaks for more conversation in the late afternoon, most pleasant, then it was time to stow Beetle for today’s run up to the marina. And turned out that Kristen’s portable television was able to pick up some of the NFL game last night between the guys in black uniforms on one team and the guys in white uniforms on the other team. The TV has a 6″ tall stick antenna and that was sufficient to pick up most of the broadcast all the way from (presumably) Palos Verdes. We were rather tired though and did not make it to the end of the game – will have to look up what happened. Lots of turn-overs, though, the quarterbacks kept throwing the football to the other team.

I should have time inspect photos when back in the marina, and it will be fun to put up some on the blog.

Have fun today! And Beetle is once again happily tooling along across the Big Blue.

– rob

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