As you may recall, the trip from Marinatown to Snook Bight was supposed to serve as our official Captain training session. However, when the one engine overheated after 5-minutes of leaving the dock, Captain Russell ended up handling the boat the entire trip.
So, we asked him to come back out for take two of Captain training.
Leading up to his arrival, I spent a little bit of time topping off the coolant in the port-side engine, because it hadn’t been refilled since spilling everywhere when we first moved the boat.
Three days out, I started firing up the engines, letting them get up to temperature, and giving them a bit of thrust and throttle to see if an issue would present itself. By the end of the second day, I was really happy that the boat got up to temperature and did not overheat. We should be good to go out when Captain Russell comes, I thought to myself.
So the day is here… again, but I was more confident in Wiffersnapper now, than the first time we took her out. Bobby and Christina were going to join us this time, and they started the day by grabbing donuts… sound familiar to our initial Maiden Voyage blog?
The captain arrived, and the first thing we noticed was the black polo shirt he was wearing this time, instead of the white one he wore last time… Was he expecting to do some dirty work or something? Pshtt! Anyways, he complimented the few upgrades we had done to the boat so far, and we proceeded to prep for take off.
Slack tide was approaching, so I fired up the boat to let the engines warm up. About 10-minutes into it, the port-side engine alarm begins to go off… it had begun to overheat. WTF. I was in awe, because I tried everything to make sure this wouldn’t happen – and on game day, it happened!
Good Shirt Choice
The first thing Captain Russell says is, “See! This is why I wore a black shirt, because I knew I’d be back in your engine room today.”
“Yeah, yeah,” I said, “We noticed.”
We traced the problem down to the raw water impeller going out (even though it was brand new). By this time, Capt. Russell had made the determination that we weren’t going out today, however, I was determined to not have another wasted day of training.
So, I grabbed the spare impeller we had, and helped the captain replace it. He inspected a few hoses before we fired it back up and prayed that all went well.
It did! So, we untied the lines and headed out. We were two hours behind schedule, but at least we were underway!
I took the helm and we were doing a few handling drills when the engine started overheating again! Seriously?
The captain shut off the engine, and went down to inspect the issue. Not having a solution for the time being, we decide to just proceed on one engine until slack tide came back around and we could return to the marina.
Guys, We Have Food!
We went out into San Carlos Bay and headed towards the Sanibel Causeway. While tooling around, I hand over the helm to Tiff so she could get a feel for the boat, and I could grill up some food for our guests.
If you remember, last time, we were awful hosts with no food for our guests other than a half-dozen donuts. So, this time we prepared burgers, dogs, and a series of snacks to ensure that a day on the Wiffersnapper wasn’t dreadful.
Grilling was a little bit difficult with the winds keeping the grill from getting to temp, and the wakes from other boaters causing us to roll a good bit. In fact, they were so bad that Christina, our land-lubber, was one wake away from calling the Coast Guard chopper in to bring her back to land.
After sharing a few laughs and some good grub, we headed back for the marina. I took the helm again, and while I hadn’t officially learned how to dock, today was the day to learn.
We fired up the port engine as I approached the dock. Captain Russell instructed me on how to get her into the slip, but I was distracted by all the people gathering at our slip to help us in.
Come One Come All
I’ve never seen so many volunteer dockhands show up in my life! So, part of me was wondering if they gathered to watch a train wreck, or if they were simply showing their support. Nevertheless, I had been visualizing this very moment for a long time.
For those who don’t know, docking is one of the most stressful parts of boating. You may be able to handle it well out in the high seas, but if you can’t get her into the slip, then you WILL be talked about around the marina.
Anyways, all eyes were on the me. The crew had the lines ready to toss to the dock hands, and Wiffersnapper was pulling up to the docks.
With one attempt, and some coaching from the Captain, I slid her into the slip like a dream! In fact, most of our old-salt neighbors assumed that I had done it before, and that I, myself was a pretty experienced Captain. Little did they know this was the first day we had actually even piloted our boat, Ha!
The Captain complimented my nerves of steel while docking, which was followed by a moment of pure joy once he noticed Tiff was working to ensure our fenders didn’t touch the water so that barnacles wouldn’t start to grow on them… it was something he had taught us last time we were out. #proudcaptainmoment
So, Capt. Russell was satisfied with how the day went, and I guess we were too. Christina was just happy to be back on land.
Overall, we dubbed it a successful day despite the rocky start, and the even rockier motion of the boat while underway. We knew we still had an issue to deal with as far as the engine, but the Captain made a few phone calls, and was able to narrow it down to one problem: the circulating water pump. I felt better knowing what it was, and that I could fix it with a new $100 part.
By sunset, Tiff, Ryback, Turbo, and I were all a bit saltier than we were at the start of the day.