So much for leaving early! After quickly shutting the engine off, I got out the tools and began doing some diagnostics. A failed oil pump would be disastrous, as that would require major engine disassembly. Fortunately, it appeared that the oil pressure was actually fine, it was just the gauge that had failed. So I began tearing panels open to unwire and remove the troublesome gauge.
|Getting at the Gauges from Behind, Inside the Cabin|
|Shiny New Oil Pressure Gauge|
I should have remembered the "No Pressure" rule.
Once we got out on the bay, we discovered that the wind was actually blowing 15 kts out of the South, not the promised 5! With the long fetch out of the South, this built the chop up to 1-3 feet. In addition, NOAA Weather was reporting a "tidal anomaly" that was resulting in an extra high tide, and that tide was also running against us. Between the wind, waves, and current, we were barely making 3 kts, sometimes less, even with the engine cranked up to a higher than normal throttle setting. It became quickly apparent that Solomons was no longer an option. unless we wanted to pound into this unpleasant stuff all night.
As many of you probably know, that stretch of the Western shore of the Chesapeake from the West River down to Solomons is almost completely devoid of inlets of any kind. Pretty much the only choices were either to pull into Herrington Harbor at Deale or to turn back. So we got on the phone to Herrington Harbor North marina, and they had a slip for us. At this point, they were only another 7 nm away, but it still took us hours to get there. We finally pulled in to the marina around 6:30, just before sunset. Total elapsed travel for the day was a measly 15.8 nm, and half of that was going in and out of harbors!
But that's ok, because there is No Pressure on this trip! :)