Monday, December 28, 2015

December 20, 2015 Fuel lesson!

I made it up in time to catch my 6:45 am taxi to church.  During mass, the priest asked if there were any visitors.  I was the only one (and among the youngest there at this hour).  So he asked my name, where I was from (SD but live on a sailboat), and what our destination was.  So after mass, the lady behind me asked if we needed a chaperon on our trip to the Bahamas.  I said “sure, how soon can you have your bags packed?”  She said “give me 5 minutes.”  That started our conversation and they ended up giving me a ride back to the marina.   You always feel like you are with family when you are at church :)

We decided to take advantage of the marina facilities this morning.  We did 2 loads of laundry and took showers.  This marina didn’t have fuel, so Dave put 20 gallons of fuel into our tank from our yellow jerry cans and took our 4 yellow diesel cans in a dock cart to the marina next door for fuel.  He called ahead to see if they had diesel fuel.  At their fuel dock, a young guy, early 20’s was pumping the fuel.  Dave watched him use the green hose (usually used for diesel) and they visited about how he’s worked there a long time and was the son of the owner. Dave had to take the fuel cans to the back of their store on the outside to fill them.  When he brought them back to the front, the young man came out of the building and said he should bring them inside.  Dave said he didn’t think the cart would fit, and why bring them in?  The guy then explained to Dave that he had filled them with gas and would have to now empty them.  WOAH!!  We thought it was universal that yellow cans were for diesel and red were for gas!!!  Dave had called ahead to see if they had diesel, the handle was green like most diesel tanks, and he had YELLOW cans.  He didn’t think he had to ask it he was pouring diesel.  So they had to empty the gas out of the cans and then fill them with diesel from a truck.  The flow out of the hose was really strong, meant for filling trucks, not little cans.  So it was a struggle for the guy to do without spilling.  In the end, Dave had to clean the cans off with a “fuel diaper”, a cloth made especially for fuel or oil, before bringing them back to the boat. 

That was a lesson learned.  You can’t assume that everyone knows the universal yellow can is for diesel.  In the future, we will always ask.  I’m sure we will get a few people saying “of course, it’s yellow”.  And Dave can’t wait to say “well, let me tell you a story”.

Back at the boat, he checked online to see what could have happened if we had put gas in our tank.  The first thing he read was “it will either be expensive or very expensive to repair the damage”.  1-2 gallons wouldn’t have hurt, but 20 gallons in our 53 gallon tank would have caused some major damage.  At some point, the engine would have stopped running. Diesel fuel lubricates the engine and all the pressures are set to work with the diesel.  The thing is, if we hadn’t known and had used that fuel down the “road”, we many never have put the two together and figured out what the cause of our problems were.  I hope we can help others avoid this problem.  Always double check what fuel you are getting. 

It was a breezy day on the water.  Even though we had a late start, we motored 8 hours on the ICW and anchored near the Merritt Island Bridge in Cocoa, FL.  We passed the Kennedy Space Center and NASA today.  We had been hearing the coast guard making announcements about the Port of Canaveral being closed before and 30 minutes after the scheduled rocket launch.  So I googled the launch and saw it was at 8:30 tonight.  We were anchored about 10 miles south of the launch and I couldn’t wait.  WELL, 8:30 came and went with no launch  I thought maybe it was delayed, so I checked my sources again, and it was for tomorrow.  OOPS!

Kennedy space center and rocket launch

Little hairy going through when one side won't open

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