Engine problems on the way to Cartagena

Time was ticking, and the weather was getting progressively rough in the Mediterranean, so from Ibiza we decided to make the trip to Cartagena on the mainland of Spain in just one go. So far we had only done trips of one night this year, so going for two nights was not only good for moving fast, it was also good to progressively make longer trips before the trip from Morocco to the Canaries.

We planned the trip by making a meal plan and preparing easy food for the whole passage. This way we knew we could eat even if the weather was worse than forecasted and if seasickness hit. We of course also planned by choosing the time for the passage based on the weather, and by getting the boat ready and completely cleaned up.

We motored to get away from the wind shade of Ibiza, when suddenly we heard an alarm from somewhere in the boat. We looked at each other confused, and started searching for the source. Finally I said to Esben “It’s the engine!”. Bad news. And surprising as we thought the alarms didn’t actually work. But it turned out that the engine was overheating, so we set sails, and Esben started figuring out what was wrong. It turned out that there was hardly any flow in the heat exchanger, and finally, we figured that it had to be the fresh water impeller. Which can not be easily replaced at sea. We contemplated turning around to change the impeller, but figured the trip would be okay for sail, and that we would be able to motor into Cartagena under power if we just ran the engine under low power. So on we went.

It turned out that we didn’t have as much wind as forecasted on the last day, and we only moved slowly towards Cartagena. Usually we would have turned on the engine, but it was interesting to have to deal with the wind rather than take the easy way out. Finally, we were so near Cartagena that we started the engine and made it in before nightfall. Aside from the engine problems we had a nice trip, and Runa only threw up once! So that was a total win.

Cartagena was a gorgeous city with a lot of history – plus the supermarkets were way better, and cheaper than in the Baleares. We took a walk in the town and saw the amphitheater which apparently had been forgotten about as a church was built on top of it, to be rediscovered in 1988 in the centre of the city. Impressive and a strange story. Right next to the marina, we visited a maritime archeology museum, teaching us about the maritime history of the Mediterranean, from the romans and Phoenicians up until today. The marina in Cartagena was really nice, with many cruisers choosing to over winter and wait for the weather to get better in the spring. But we wanted to move on, and after a couple of days with strong winds, we decided to move on towards Gibraltar before the wind would turn westerly, making it difficult to head west.


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