We tried leaving the dock yesterday, powering between the raindrops. As we approached the first lock, the engine temperature alarm squealed.
For some reason we were not getting the appropriate amount of coolant through the engine. Raw water was pumping through the engine and exhausting out the stern – not likely an impeller problem. The marina had flushed the coolant system, so a blockage there was not probable. The coolant level was correct. It was one of life’s many mysteries.
Two open possibilities were a stuck thermostat that is not opening to allow for coolant flow, or a damaged impeller that was pumping raw water, but just not enough to cool the coolant. We eased the mile back to the marina to tie up for the night and await the diesel mechanic. Ah, life on a boat.
The mechanic for Winter Harbor Marina arrived in the early morning and checked the coolant level. It had lowered since checking it on Monday night, and the mechanic brought it back to full with over a gallon of coolant. A sea trial was in order and we headed for Lake Oneida to run the Traveler through her paces with the mechanic onboard.
Ten minutes out, the temperature alarm screamed again and we headed back to the dock. A bit of tapping and fiddling with air-bleed fittings and the coolant tank drank another gallon of fluid. The second sea trial went without a hitch; it seems that there was an airlock that took several cycles of heat and cold as well as the TLC of Winter Harbor Marina to help the big diesel clear the air. All it needed to feel better was to belch. I know the feeling.
On the plus side a rampaging front caught us on the second sea trial just as we entered Lake Oneida. Lightning was striking around us and the rain poured from the sky. The mechanic was warm and toasty in the engine room but those of us on the flybridge were drenched. Temperatures dropped, thunder rolled and Suzanne was ecstatic to experience another authentic boating event: the storm at sea.