Julie’s birthday was in April. For a present, I got her a mechanic. A friend of mine, who also happens to be a diesel mechanic, agreed to ride over to Friday Harbor with me to school us on the basic maintenance of a diesel engine. I have learned my way around gasoline engines, but there was plumbing and sub-components on Julie’s boat, Tosca, that left me scratching my head.
A few weeks later we were engaging our new-found knowledge, and that’s when things started going wrong. The ancient bronze water filter disintegrated as we tried to inspect it. Ok, new raw-water filter system, check.
Julie, beaming with pride after her first oil change, went to start the engine and nothing happened. After diagnosing the electrical system, I was pretty confident that the starter motor was dying. Ok, new starter motor.
Final obligations took both of us to Decatur Island. After her first night on anchor, Tosca’s house battery was totally dead. I pulled it out and it was bloated. A sign of being over charged. KIA. The culprit, I was pretty sure, was the old battery charger. Ok, new battery charger and hotel battery.
Quickly running out of subsystems that could fail, we thought we were in the clear… not so.
We left Decatur Island and headed to Anacortes for final provisioning before our trip north. As we passed Bird Rocks, Tosca pulled up along side and Julie shouted “my engine just got a lot louder!”. A few minutes later she radioed me: “There is smoke coming out of the engine compartment!”