Snap goes the shaft…

Do not worry. It was not a catastrophe. Just one of those things that makes B.O.A.T. stand for Break Out Another Thousand.

We shoved off from Prizer Point as early as we could because leaving there could not come soon enough. This was to be another questionable weather day. Retracing your steps id not nearly as interesting as making them in the first place. Once we got into wide water the weather alert notified Steve that we were expecting a number of storm fronts to cross our path. We buttoned up in preparation and did get a bit of rain, but mostly we juust saw the fronts pass by at a distance and miss us completely. A couple of them had torrential rain but it never touched us. Those prayers I say each night are certainly paying benefits. We have had phenomenal luck this trip.

We passed an island that had been taken over by Comorants. These are mostly black, short winged diving birds that live in colonies. They nest in goups and their dropping turn the tree leaves gray and eventually kill the vegetation and thus the trees. So the island looked partially decimated. Jan’s bird book says they are not supposed to be here but they are everywhere. I once saw a Cormorant in Troy, NY that caught a huge black watersnake. It had the snake by the neck and the snake, which was over 4 feet long, had coiled around the bird’s neck trying to strangle it. The bird kept diving under for extended periods of time. They can stay down for several minutes. Each time it surfaced it would take a breath and go under again. The snake got weaker each time until it drowned. The bird then slowly swallowed it whole going head first. I could not believe that little bird could swallow that whole snake and thought it would choke. Finally only the tip of the tail was hanging out of the bill and then it too disappeared. They are tenacious and we have seen them from Key West to Canada.

Our route took us past the Kentucky State Prison again and the sun popped out so I could get some clearer photos. It looks downright inviting today but Steve said it held no attraction for him.

Soon we came to the one mile Cutthrough Canal from the Cumberland to the Tennessee. Once through we would turn up the Tennessee and be on the way home for real. some time later we passed a dredge in a narrow channel and had to slow to idle speed. There was much sand in the water and I woried about the generator impeller. Sand going through it can chew up the rubber tips and ruin it. The giant main engine impellers can handle it. Sure enough within a half mile the oscillating fan on the flybridge stopped working indicating the generator had cut off. My guess was the impeller was shot, the engine overheated and shut down. This is normal for generators. They have two automatic shutoffs. One for low oil pressure and one for high temperature. It protects from any serious damage.

We were fairly close to our destiination at Kenlake State Park so we just kept going. It was a cool day and Trixie would be fine. When we arrived at the park I took a look at the problem and discovered something that even I could not fix on the move. The impeller was fine, but the engine had overheated. I figured a fanbelt had finally given up. The same one had been on there since the boat was built! I mean things can only last so long. I reached around the belt shroud and sure enough the belt was flopping, so I grabbed a speare and began removing the shroud. The belt was fine, but the freshwater pump shaft was broken in two and the pulley lay usless. Metal fatigue.

Maybe this is a good time to explain how these engines cool. Under the boat are intakes for each engine. A raw water pump with a rubber impeller sucks water from under the boat and pumps it into a heat exchanger. The heat exchanger has coils inside where engine coolant, with antifreeze just like your car, circulates through. So the raw water is used to cool the freshwater which cools the engine. Simple except when the freshwater pump like in your car quits turning and the engine coolant begins to boil. Then shutdown occurs.

You can see it all in the picture. Westerbeke wants over a $1000 for a new pump!!! ANd a heat wave begins tomorrow for the rest of the week. This does not affect us but Trixie could get mighty hot downstairs. Adjustments will have to be made.

Our strategy will be to have the boat nice and cool in the morning from shore power. Then we will leave an hour earlier each day to beat the sun and arrive before the worst heat of the day. Meanwhile we will check on Trixie and open windows as needed. If it becomes too hot she will have to ride up top with us. This works just fine.

Jumping on the internet I soon find the cost of a new replacement. Outrageous. Double outrageous. So I locate a man in Guntersville who can rebuilt it when we get home. I had gone ahead and pulled the pump losing all my antifreeze into the bilge. More bilge cleaner to neutralize it. But the man in Guntersville said he would have to order a rebuild kit from a Westerbeke dealer. I checked and the dang kit was over $800! This is just a racket. I began searching for another solution and found a used pump in Connecticutt on ebay. Ebay helps Cbay. How appropriate. $150 for the pump and $15 shipping. I will have to make my own gasket when it gets here but I watched my Daddy do that once and believe I can duplicate it.

Kenlake State Park Marina is very nice. We washed the trash form Prizer Point off the boat and she looks shipshape again. Dinner at the Lodge and a quiet evening.