Tubes go into the tank – one to extract and one to return the fuel. It’s a three-hour surgery. Preparation requires accessing the fuel tank and removing the access ports (completely disassembling the bed and removing the plywood boards that protect the bed from the fuel tank). Then, the technician inserts and probes the tank’s nooks and crannies just like a doctor probes your colon in a colonoscopy, removing (sucking up in our case) whatever dangerous muck that lingers. For example, I saw several dime sized bits of black stuff slither through the extraction tube. Next comes the “fuel polishing” , a kind of dialysis, where the fuel is extracted from the tank, run through a purifier to remove any floating bits, water, or algae that may have made a home in the fuel. Then, the clean fuel is returned to the tank. In Dolce Vento’s case, the guys found all three. A real trifecta of gunky stuff we definitely do not want in our fuel or tank.
With hopes high, we did the post op review this afternoon. The engine started, ran healthily and heartily under load without dying. So, we believe that the patient is ready to be released from her slip. She is ready venture out into the ocean once again.
Our professional captain, Captain John, returns from Annapolis Thursday night. We’ll take off about 11:00 PM, weather permitting, or Friday morning, for Morehead City, NC (360 miles/2.5 days). If by Saturday night, the weather is not hospitable we’ll duck into Southport, NC (275 miles/1.75 days).
My dream sail around Hatteras is looking “out of the picture” so to speak. Winds from the north are predicted to blow on Sunday/Monday (when we plan to arrive), making Hatteras as dangerous as its reputation says it is. So, if the wind doesn’t go in our favor (out of the south or south-west), we’ll be motoring up the ICW for about 180 miles to reach Norfolk and the Chesapeake Bay. Luckily, we cleared all the fixed bridges above Southport, NC. To ensure Dolce Vento’s safe passage I’ll be hoisted me up the mast to remove our wind direction and speed instruments before we set off up the ICW.
All this makes me feel like Bill Murray in the film Ground Hogs Day. In our case, it rains for bunch of days, we leave, then something happens to make us delay. I’ve got my fingers crossed that we won’t have another delay and repeat it all over again. However, it’s raining again and we will leave again. Thinking positively, I believe we’ll make it home and that the sun will shine once more…eventually.