Finally, after all the work done on the boat over the winter, we were ready to head back to Mattituck. On a beautiful Friday morning we left Bayshore and headed east. I could not decide which way to go, should I stay inside and show my wife the scenic inside passage or go outside and make some time? I decided to head outside since I had heard reports of bountiful life in the ocean. Passing West Fire Island we had a beautiful view of the Fire Island Light. Back in 1984 when the National Park Service started to restore the lighthouse I was one of the crew doing work up top. Talk about a view!
From the lighthouse west, almost to the inlet, were plenty of boats large and small fishing on a calm body of water. As we headed out of the inlet I had to back the throttles down a bit to avoid launching the boat from the swells. But once we were outside and heading east I was able to cruise around 24 knots and only saw a few boats until we got to Shinnecock.
Rumors of fish life did not disappoint as we saw fish on top all the way from Fire Island inlet to Shinnecock Inlet. Plenty of bird life also picking up the crumbs along with a handful of Osprey doing some fishing out there. We were racing a fog bank east of Moriches for awhile, and could see it rolling over the dunes as we went along. But by the time we were ready to transit the inlet the fog was long gone.
There was a strong outgoing tide in the inlet, so I had to slow down some and ride in on the back of a swell while keeping behind a large fishing boat that still had his outriggers down. Once inside he turned west for the commercial docks and I headed east and then north across the bay to the canal. We did get to see two helicopters landing and taking off on the east side of the inlet. i think I’ll stick with boats!
Anyway, we crossed the bay and entered into the sometimes swirling rapids of the Shinnecock Canal. There was only one other boat using the canal at that time. A 33 Tiara heading south. We met at the southern end of the lock, where the current can get pretty tricky. He started going a little sideways and goosed the throttles some, passing us hauling a good size wake but in control of his craft. It was around 4 pm as we left the northern entrance of the canal and headed back to Mattituck. By 4:45 we were tied up, hosed down and on our way home. A great ending to a beautiful day.
The following days were spent doing some cleanup work on the boat, and taking some cruises in the Peconic Bay. One evening we headed east of the canal to anchor out of a strong south wind. We ate a nice dinner on the hook with an audience of one, lone gull. We never threw any food to hime and were about to head home when the gull decided we had ignored him for too long! He took off and landed on the back of the boat. My wife is not exactly happy being around birds and screamed all the way into the cabin. I am surprised that between my laughing and her screaming it did not leave right away. But it didn’t and I stood up waiving my arms as I approached it. I got within a few feet before he got the message and went back to the water to keep an eye on us! After some time we headed for a cruise around the bay and returned to our slip.
After rinsing off the boat and shutting down everything I decided to take one last look in the engine room. I smelled diesel fuel almost immediately. It was too hot to crawl around the engines so I finished buttoning up and we headed home. The next morning my wife and I went back out to the boat and I started looking around the port engine. I saw diesel fuel on the outboard stringer and started looking around that side of the engine. I found some fuel lines that seemed dry, so I asked my wife to start the port engine. Within a few seconds fuel was dripping out of the fitting that connects to the fuel injection pump. This is a new fitting, made up for the engine this past winter. So we are now waiting for a new part to arrive and get us back underway.
In the meantime, another problem popped up. While running that evening I had the radar on. It is a RayMarine Quantum radar that connects to the MFD wirelessly using bluetooth. Never had a problem with it before. In fact I had it on before we anchored. When we were leaving for the marina after our seagull incident I turned on the electronics and a few minutes later the radar displayed a message. It said “self test failed”. Now what?
I went online looking for answers since it was the weekend and customer support would be closed. Step one was to make sure the boat batteries were fully charged. So I left the boat overnight with the battery charger on. The next day I gave it a shot but it still failed the self test. Step two is to update the system software. The MFD can connect to the internet when we are at the dock. I have not done that step yet so when I get back out there it is the first task for me. If that does not work, I bet step three is to take off the radar and send it back for repairs. That I will check on this week. I still may be lucky enough to have it covered under warranty.
So, as always there is something to do. I hope to see you out there, soon!