25 Oct – 04 Nov: Saltworks Creek, Annapolis – 39 00N 76 31W
After our unplanned stop for the night at Pooles Island to shelter from the strong winds we had a reasonably comfortable trip the 30 miles down to Annapolis. We were stopping for the night to visit cruising friends Mike and Marguerite who we have known since the Mediterranean. They finished their circumnavigation on Ithaca last year and have settled back into their beautiful riverfront home after 15 years away, Ithaca is moored on their dock in front of their house - perfect.
Mike was there to help us at the dock when we stopped to fuel up at the Town Marina and we arranged to meet later at their house for dinner and a catch up before taking advantage of the favourable winds and moving further south the following day.
Olive our Volvo engine had different plans. We motored away from the fuel dock and headed up the Severn River then turned in to Saltworks Creek where we were planning to tie to a mooring ball for the night. As we entered the creek the engine died and there was a mad panic to try and steer towards the buoy, pick it up by its shackle (no line attached), attach our line to it and then secure it to the boat whilst not being able to stop or reverse, there could be no second chance!
Lets just say is was not one of our better manoeuvres and any onlookers would have wondered just what we were doing when we finally attached the buoy to the stern of the boat before slowly repositioning it back where it should be on the bow.
Having a broken engine is really a low point in a cruisers life. We were in a safe spot tied to a hurricane mooring, we had friends nearby to support us, but we had reached a real low. We had just done our haul out, we thought everything was in top form and were ready to carry on south, join the Salty Dawgs Rally and head into another season exploring the warm waters and interesting islands of the Caribbean with fellow cruising boats.
We had had the turbo rebuilt in Florida in May and at the same time had the injectors cleaned, the turbo had been the cause of our last engine failure but it was still spinning now – this time it was something else. Of course it was Friday afternoon so nothing would happen till at least Monday.
We had a wonderful evening ashore with our friends, a trouble shared is a trouble halved the saying goes, and it is surely true. They offered us the use of their house and car and just having them nearby made us feel much better.
Skipper donned his mechanics cap on Saturday and checked everything he could, but Olive was not co-operating, we were here to stay.
Sunday was declared a day of rest and we borrowed M&M’s pickup truck and headed into Annapolis for the day to do some sightseeing. The downtown tourist area is centred around the harbour, as with many of the places we visit. In Annapolis a huge part of this area is dominated by the USA Naval Academy, the largest in the USA. The streets were full of Naval Personnel out for a Sunday afternoon stroll all looking very dapper in their uniforms.
The Diagnosis Begins
On our morning SSB Radio Cruisers Net we chatted about our situation and Canadian friends Janine and Terry on Cristata were nearby in another creek and offered to come and help. We have known them since we all crossed the Indian Ocean in 2007, wintered in Turkey with them and have kept in touch via emails and our Cruisers Nets since. They have been cruising for over 20 years and have amassed a huge amount of knowledge, skills and tools - they came to help us.
Over the following days, many hours were spent on Olive - valve settings were readjusted, compression was checked and was good in all 4 cylinders, all electrical and fuel feeds rechecked, injectors were removed and tips inspected and the diagnosis was that it had to be the injectors and injector pump.
Terry explained we could have new tips put on our existing injectors, something we had never been offered by the “experts” and he also recommended having the injector pump reconditioned along with the governor which is inside the pump.
We were at a point of considering the possibility of replacing the entire engine which would be a mammoth time consuming and very expensive task. But the thought was that with good compression, rings and valves our engine still had good bones and so we decided to give it one last chance. We contacted Vosbury Marine, the local Volvo dealer who recommended J & G Parks for reconditioning the injectors and pump. We borrowed the pickup again and drove it to them for the rebuild, saving time and money where-ever we could.
Terry and Janine had been such a help but it was a waiting game now, so they continued south – in search of warmer weather. With overnight temperatures nudging freezing and some days not much warmer, we were very glad we had bought our little portable gas heater in Maine, it was doing a great job of making life on the water just bearable.
The Leaves Changed Daily – Autumn was Turning to Winter