We left North Palm Beach headed to Miami early Tuesday the 12th. The weather prediction was good and we got off to a fairly good start headed down the waterway towards the ocean inlet. We planned a short offshore hop to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami. About the time we got to the Palm Beach inlet the engine started acting up again. The same RPM , likely caused by a fuel supply issue.  It was not very bad so we headed out the inlet.

                I hate ocean inlets, they are always stressful. This time was no exception. As a large sport fishing boat passed us headed out, tossing out a giant wake in the process, the engine began to falter. Of course just at the same time a large commercial ship was coming in. I managed to keep the engine running just long enough to get us safely past the incoming ship and around the breakers. We quickly got the sail up just as the engine quit completely.

                With Teresa at the helm while under sail, I once again opened the door to the engine compartment to find the cause of this new issue. It was fuel again I could tell by how the engine slowly died. I was, however, surprised to find water in the fuel filter bowl. How could there be water in the fuel? We had only filled this tank twice since it was installed new earlier in the year. Draining the water out of the fuel filter, I was able to slowly get the engine restarted and running. It was about as happy being fed water as a drunk would be……not happy at all.

                Things improved as we motor sailed south. Checking the engine a couple of hours later I noticed oil under the engine. Now what? After tracking down the source I found it to be coming from an oil pressure gauge I had installed in the engine compartment. At least this would be an easy fix as all I had to do is disconnect the tube from the gauge to the engine and replace it with a pipe plug. Problem solved.

                Things seemed to going well for a few more hours until the engine started slowing down a bit and then speeding back up. It was subtle at first, hardly noticeable really until it started getting so bad there was no question. More fuel issues, when was this going to end? Checking that there was no more water in the filter, I was at a loss for what it could be. Having done almost everything else to the system I decided to swap out the fuel pump for a spare I had aboard. We continued under sail until I could swap out the fuel pumps, which did not take long.

                Engine restarted and ran fine for the remainder of the trip south. As we had been making good time despite the engine issues we decided to push on to Miami. Everything was going well as we got close to the entrance channel. Then we suddenly hard a loud clunk and the engine shut down. I knew instantly we had hit a rope. What the hell, we were more than a mile offshore there should not be any ropes out here. I was able to get the engine restarted and slowly tried to shift in and out of forward and reverse in hopes I could clear the fouled line. No Luck, whatever we hit was firmly wrapped around the propeller.

                As we headed towards the main channel into Miami, we made a phone call to TowBoat US for assistance into the channel. This became a frustrating situation as they informed us our account had been canceled while at the same time was showing active. After about an hour of screwing around on the phone they finally sent a boat out to help us. During all that I was able to get the engine running in forward well enough to slowly push the boat ahead. We were taken under tow once we were in the harbor. The Tow boat took us to an anchorage where we were able to drop the hook for the night. It was late and dark at this point and we were tired so the tangled propeller would have to wait until the morning.

                The next morning I got up and used an underwater camera to see If I could get a view of what was going on with the propeller. The video revealed it was a rope much as I suspected. I figured I would have to dive to get under there to clear the rope. The water was so clear I could see the propeller from the surface. I thought I would see if I could cut the rope with a knife taped to a boat hook and avoid having to get into the water. Of course this did not work, but I had to try and I was able to free some line.

                We have a hookah dive setup with compressor onboard for just such an emergency so I set that up and got into the water. It took almost no time to free the line twisted around the propeller and shaft. The line was larger diameter and was not twisted too tight around the Propeller and shaft. I was also able to inspect for damage to the shaft and propeller at the same time. Somehow the propeller was loose on the shaft, I could see the nut securing it was loose. Coming back aboard I got a wrench and secured the shaft from turning from the inside. This would allow me to tighten the propeller and nut back onto the shaft. Once back aboard I started the engine and put it in gear. Much to my relief the engine ran smoothly and there was no shaft vibration! This meant that the shaft was not bent and all was good at this point.

                With that we hoisted the anchor and set off for Dinner Key mooring field just across the bay from us. We both had heard of dinner key so thought we would check it out as we had a few days to kill before weather would allow us to continue. They had an open mooring for us to use along with amenities such as laundry. We were also able to do a little shopping for more engine parts of course along with fresh food supplies.

                We stayed here for a couple of days before heading to the other side of Biscayne Bay to wait a weather window to head south. At this point with bad weather and endless engine issues we thought it best to travel south a bit to make sure we get all the bugs worked out before attempting the jump over to the Bahamas.