|04/29 Dive - It’s Amazing How a Little Head Job Can Perk Up a Tired Old…|
Posted by PATRICK on May 01, 2007 at 13:36:41:|
The venerable dive vessel Moby Kate had literally been slowing down. Over the last year her speed at a given RPM had been declining; her get-up-and-go had got-up-and-went. Finally, when a recent trip to the mechanicologist showed a dead cylinder, the decision was made to do some serious work on the MK’s power plant. Heads were pulled, valves done, lifters and cam replaced. Many $$s and 3-weeks later the Kate was ready for a test run. The crew was way more than ready to get back in the water after a 3-week diving hiatus. A combining of both events seemed to be multi-tasking at its best.
Sunday found Capt./Dr. Andy, moi and Bill Brush checking the Kate’s equipment in the driveway – it is so very embarrassing to be sitting on the launch ramp yelling back and forth – “I thought you checked the (fill in the failed or missing piece of equipment)” while the other boaters giggle and thank Neptune they aren’t looking that stupid. It was good we checked; some of the Kate’s electronics were deader than that beached Santa Barbara sperm whale (though they did smell better…). No fatho, no GPS. We had radar and VHF. So, 30 minutes of pulling panels and tracing wiring finally discovered a wire that had been removed during the engine service and not replaced. It was quickly reattached and we were headed to the launch ramp. On the way the question of fuel status came up. Since we had loaded pretty well on the last trip prior going into the shop it was not a concern, but as prudent mariners do, we stopped and checked. Hummm, either someone had been joyriding the Kate when she was in the shop – kinda tough to do with the engine down - or we had lost some 50-60 gallons of fuel to a midnight siphoner.
Damn, we were never going to get in the water.
A stop for fuel was the last delay before pulling into the del Rey ramp and launching the Kate.
Like I said, a little head job makes a world of difference in your outlook. The engine started first try and ran smooth and strong. Once underway the difference – even in the harbor – was immediately noticeable. My usual 1,100 RPM setting for 5-knots in harbor speed had to be pulled back to 900 RPM to stay within the no-wake, 5-knot speed limit.
As we turned north out of the breakwater and ran her up, the benefits of the $$’s spent were obviously apparent. 3,200 RPM previously has scooted us along at an anemic 17+ knots. 3,200 RPM now had us flying at 22 to 23 knots!
For the first run on the resurrected machinery, we wanted to stay close to home, but also have a chance on reasonable dive conditions. We had chosen Santa Monica Bay for the test run because a condition report from the harbor area the previous Wednesday had reported zero visibility on the Olympic and the water in Santa Monica Bay had looked pretty good from the beach. We chose poorly. According to Ross-O, they found 15-foot vis. on the Horseshoe/Olympic on Sunday.
While conditions in the bay looked great, and the surface vis. was probably 40-foot or better, the bottom was 2-5-feet on the first dive on the 72-foot artificials off Malibu, and only marginally better on the del Rey reefs, where we found 8-10 feet of visibility.
Despite everything, it was great to be back on and in the water. Capt. Andy made some excellent new finds for the aquarium, and Bill contributed to that endeavor as well. One new visitor to the tank was the spider-crabesque critter shown below. If anyone can ID this fella, please let me know.
I spent my bottom time following Max Bottomtime’s path toward total enlightenment in the world of digital photo-documentation by trying to get my Ikelite strobe to play nicely with my Oly C-4000. It is not an easy path, but some enlightenment was gained. I almost hate to place my efforts on the board since they’ll make Jim Lyle’s efforts seem so poor (I wish!).
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