Saturday, May 23, 2009

MAY 15 Friday


0600  Underway

1130 Talked to Alok and all looks to be on schedule.  The only problem is that we needed to change locations.  Harbor walk is a private, gated community and you need a pass from a resident to get in.  If I had a transient boat slip that would work but they were already full for the weekend.  The fact that I was stopping for gas was not enough.  They remembered me from my stop headed West but they had no room at the inn for tonight.   I was looking forward to staying there.  We changed locations to Offats Bayou.  358WHL. 

1200  I needed to run about 20MPH again to make it to

         Offats on time.

1230  Cruising in a boat has some similarities to flying an airplane.  Hours of boredom followed by seconds of shear panic.  I was cruising along at an easy 3800RPM making about 19 MPH.  I new the port tank was running low but wanted to run it dry.  I still had 40 miles to go.  I needed to know if I had enough fuel running at this speed to make it to Harbor walk or if I needed to make a quick stop in Freeport to pick up 5 gals.  I should have plenty but I really like to have at least a 5 gal margin.  On the water, in the middle of no where, in a strange land is not a problem I want to have to resolve.  I  have plenty of operator errors without running out of fuel being one of them. 

I have run the tanks dry several times on the trip with no problems.  The engine will lose some rpm as a warning and I get to the back and switch tanks.  Sometimes if I’m a little slow I will have to pump the prime bulb to keep the engine running until the lines get full again before the engine dies.  But this has always been at slow idle speeds.  This time I was going at a high RPM. 

When it ran out it was sudden.  No sputtering.  Just a kick-up and dead.  About 5 seconds after the engine quit the alarms started sounding showing high temp and check engine.  I guess that the sudden stopping of the engine and thus the the water pump let the engine temp get too high.  When I scrolled through the instrument pages to the engine temp it read 190*.  When running at speed the normal temp has been from 170 to 177 depending on the outside water temp. 

Anyway, I switched tanks, primed the engine and it started but was really running rough.  As soon as the engine started the temp started coming down.  In less than 30 seconds, the temp was normal but it was still running rough and the check engine light was still on.  I could not get any RPM and no power out of the engine.  It was like it had gone into limp mode.  I turned the engine off and let it sit for a minute and then re-started.  The same thing running rough and no power.  I was getting ready to call Marc at Wefings when I remembered one more thing to try.

The Suzuki engines have a computer that keeps track of engine hours and flashes a light  when its time to change the oil.  You reset the computer by turning the key on and off and doing a secret dance while holding your left elbow.  I decided to go though this drill before calling Marc. Sure enough, that worked.  The engine is  running normal again.  The check engine light still stayed on for about 30 minutes but then went out.  I guess it figured out that I wasn’t going to check anything else and said “the hell with you and gave up”

1330  Made it to Harbor Walk 43 gals $104.

1430  Met up with Alok.  What a great guy.  He has a Tomcat that he bought from Wefings.  He is only been boating a few years but is very knowledgeable.  His first boat was a trawler and now the Tomcat. 

He drove me around Galveston Island and pointed out the sights.  We had a shrimp po-boy for lunch.  On the way back to the boat he was kind enough to stop by a store so I could buy some bread and orange juice. 

He has been taking ballroom dancing for several years and tonight was a big night for that so we said good by around 1630 so he would have time to get to class. 

1630  I motored out into Offats Bayou 358 WHL to anchor for the night.  This is a great protected bayou with a depth of from 10 to 20 feet.  The bayou is a result of dredging that provided land fill to raise the West side of Galveston.

1700  Thing two that went wrong today.  I picked out a great spot to anchor in about 15 feet of water.  The anchor would not set.  I tried 4 times.  All it would do is drag. I could feel it bumping along the bottom.  I let out 200 feet of rode and it would not even attempt to dig in.  The cheap Wal-Mart anchor and chain was not up to the task.  I looked around the shore line and saw a lot of private docks but didn’t see anyone around any of them that I might ask if I could tie up for the night.  I finally spotted an area with several docks and what looked like a clubhouse and swimming pool.  There were some people setting up grills for a cookout.

I tied up at one of the docks and walked up to the area by the building and met Terry.  He said he was the caretaker.  he was nice but kind of matter of fact.  He said that this was the Galveston Boat Club (GBC).  I told him my situation and need to use a dock for the night.  He said that one of the officers would be there later and he would check with him to make sure that it was OK for me to stay.  In just a few minuets he came with the good news that it was OK to stay.  In the mean time I had looked over the anchor and chain and could see no reason for it not working.

1730  Now problem number three for the day.  I called Mary Jo on the cell phone to check in.  The phone kept cutting out and going dead.  In crossing Corpus Christi Bay the other day I had the front window open so I could see better.  Some sea spray came in but I didn’t think that much got on the phone.  It has been working but the screen will go blank every now and then.  Until now I haven’t been talking on the phone at the time so didn’t know that the phone also dies.  I thought that it was just the display going blank.  I pulled up my Garmin and found that there is a Wal-Mart only 1.3 miles away.  That’s a good hike for today.  I need the exercise.

1830  I now have a new phone.  We’ll see how long I can go with out killing this one by getting it wet.

1840   Mary Jo is from Franklin, La and still has lots of uncles and cousins there.  We stopped there in the motorhome back in Feburary when we were returning from a BBQ contest in the area.  I met cousin, Steve Landry.  He is a true Cajun and along with other things fishes, shrimps and runs crawfish traps.  While we were there he took me to see his shrimp boat.  He  keeps it on the Franklin canal at the Hwy 90 bridge.  He said that shrimping season started on May 1st.  I told him I might come over and go shrimping some time.  This seemed like a good time.  I called him out the phone and told him I was passing by in the ICW.  He told me to come up the canal and just raft up to his boat.  So, that’s the plan.

1900 I saw Terry walking my way with his flashlight.  I figured that this was not a good sign.  When he got to the boat I could see that he was carrying a big bowl.  He said “I figured you might be hungry.  How about some dinner.”  He had a big bowl  of red beans and rice.  I got off the boat and we had a long chat.  It seems that he has only been on the job for a couple of weeks.  He gave me the grand tour of the property and gave me some of the history of the GBC.  It has been in existence since 1927.  It is limited to 325 members.   150 from Houston and 225 from Galveston.  He lives on the property and keeps it ready for the members use. 

2200  Light out after a long fun filled day.

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