I have been tweeting lately. I tweeted 'Water water everywhere'. People were concerned. Apparently there was not enough info there to ease the minds of folks who feel we are just a tad over our heads on this adventure. Boat systems have not lived up to expectations and we have stumbled a wee bit but are still in business and it it for the long haul. So with that let me explain Water, Water everywhere.
Where to begin? I will try not to draw this out and over emphasize. You laugh. No really I'll try.
We jumped across the Northeast Providence Channel without incident but I did notice the bow was still heavy. I just looked over at Deb accusingly because of the ton of produt we have stored in the V-berth. Mind you I appreciate all the canned goods and jars of sauce and what not (84 rolls of toilet paper), it's just that the boat feels sluggish if you know what I mean. The bow used to fly off the waves and throw spray over our heads. Now she kind of plunges into them and then gets her nose soaked. I don't like it. So, my goal is to eat my way to a lighter bow. Granted this could backfire and I will find myself wearing a Moo Moo when all my shorts are too tight but what's more important, looking good or having a lighter pointy end?
So we get to Eleuthera and pull into the Royal Island Harbour to ride out the big blow that was coming. Friends went to Current Cut and then jumped to Hatchet Bay the following day. We were going to do the same the next day. Well, that was the plan. We have been playing it cool with the weather ever since the crossing from Floriduh. Remember that episode? I still have a rash. We figured the big winds might show early so we ducked into a safe harbor just in case.
We dropped the hook in the harbour that looks pretty secure. Phew. Done for the night. The next day Deb wanted to do some laundry and make some water before we headed out to anchor near Current Cut. Okey Dokey. The laundry got going and then we started the watermaker. There were some issues that turned out to be a plugged filter but we eventally made a couple hours worth of water. So about 40 gallons. Thing is, the water tank should have been full by now as there was some water already in there. We were confused. I joked to Deb that maybe we flushed it all into the bilge for the last two hours and then I jokingly opened the forward bilge to find it full of water. Joke over. What the hell!? I opened up the hatch near the forward water tanks to see where the water went besides the tank. I look at the fill hose and I see water runnning out of it and into the bilge. Leaky hose. Then I see the screw through the bulkhead that put the hole in the hose. The screw through the bulkhea
used to hold the manual pump for the head that I mounted before we left. So numbnuts (me) drove a screw through the bulkhead and into the fill hose for the water tanks. This went unnoticed until the crossing from hell which must have moved the hose off the screw thus creating a hole in which the fresh water we create from sea water gets dumped into the bilge and then sent back to the sea.
Moment of reflection... I went to school. I have a degree. I had a major and a minor! Technical too! I was an engineer. I did well, depending on who you ask. It was a long career. I fixed stuff. I designed stuff. So why then do I feel so FKING STUPID! "Let's mount this here pump to this here bulkhead. Just drill a hole and drive the screw home. What's on the other side? Who fcking cares! Doh dee doh doh"
I'm looking at the screw and the hose while contemplating putting myself into a home because I have obviously lost too many brain cells to carry on a normal life let alone a life at sea when the flashlight I'm holding moves slightly to the left and I see the shimmer of water. I look to the left into the bottom of the v-berth that houses the water tanks. The water tanks are there but they are submerged in a glimmering pool of water. Huh. Fancy that.
Seconds pass while I stare dumbly into the pool while my brain processes this bit of information. Time slows to a crawl. Are my new water tanks leaking? The water sloshes side to side and a voice echoes from the hallway that stretches into the dark chambers of my mind. "Taste the water Paul!" What? Gross. I'll get diptheria. "Taste the water you moron. See if it's salty!" Oh! Right. Cause of it's salty it means the water tanks aren't leaking, the boat is...
The bow is filled with sea water and We. Are. SINKING!
You want to see a sailor move fast? Show him a bow filled with seawater. I stripped the entire V berth of everything in a minute and ripped the boards off over the tanks. The water was at the top of the tanks and it looked really bad. I ran to the aft deck locker and retrieved the hand pump. Note to self: Do not bury the hand pump under piles of dock lines and garden hose.
I crouched in the berth and pumped like a mad man until the water was below the tanks. From the salon I must have looked like a Chicago cop interogating a suspect, or a polka rock accordian player doing a solo, or...I digress. After I got tired I sat and then waited for the water to rise. It didn't. I pumped some more. Nothing. During all this Debra was in the aft cabin filling some water jugs from the watermaker that was still running. I told her what was going on. She just calmly asked how the water got there. I didn't have an answer except maybe it was from the leaky hatch over the V berth which didn't make sense because all her linens and stuff soaked it all up. "So are we sinking?" Well if we are we're doing it slowly.
Eventually we figured it out. The windlass has a hawsepipe, or a hole in which the chain drops into a locker. This locker has an access door from the V-berth. When the flood hit the deck during the crossing the water ran down the hole and splashed all over the door. The water leaked through and into the cavity the tanks rest in. This cavity is water tight. Well, it holds water nicely. So wave after wave eventually filled this cavity and I've been hauling it around for a week or so. I'm surprised oysters weren't growing on the tanks.
We pumped more out and sprayed chlorine around to kill anything stinky and then we let it all dry out. We are all put back together now and next time we go offshore I will duct tape around the hatch and plug the hawse hole with plumbers putty.
Amazing isn't it? We put the crossing behind us but all this time it was still in front of us causing us more grief. It is my hope that from here on out I will only have mildly amusing stories of us visiting interesting places and meeting wacky, funny and interesting people, not the crazy shit that has been going on lately. There is plenty more to tell but the internet access has been poor. It's basically lights out in the Exumas until you get to G-Town. I have plenty of photos to post as well so when we get some good wifi I'll get them posted.
Keep your bow light and plug your hawsehole.
Note: Notice I was running around with my hair on fire while Debra sat in the aft cabin and quietly filled water jugs? We are different but I think we balance. I need to have a moment of "holy shit we are going to die" before I calm down and get analytical. Deb is like in a coma on the outside before she adds to the analysis of the situation. If we were the same mentality we would be running around bouncing into each other or both sitting there calmly discussing possibilities as to why the boat is filling with water. Deb needs to stay calm in all situations and I need to expend some energy before that can happen. So my only problem with this is if I fall overboard and Deb goes into her analytical coma. "Why would Paul fall over while we are sailing? Should I jibe or tack? Start the engine? Drop a sail?..."
How about a fking life preserver with a line on it! Hello! I'm drowning here!
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