Monday, December 9, 2013

Back from work. Back to work.

Posted by Scot

2013-12-08 10.58.45
Flying over Bimini, where we first entered the Bahamas.

I got back to Georgetown yesterday, after a couple of uneventful days of travel.  It is great to be back somewhere warm!  It has been a bit windy and rainy, though.  So much so that instead of having Sara come across Elizabeth Harbour to get me in the dinghy, I took the water taxi, since the waves and chop were pretty big.  As soon as I told Elvis (the water taxi owner) where I was going, he burst into a big grin and said "Oh, yeah, Monashee!  You've been away for the week.  Your wife and family are all fine, man!

As those of you who know Sara probably guessed, she has met most of Georgetown this week.  After I got back to the boat and unloaded my luggage, we paddled across to Volleyball beach, and spent the afternoon watching the kids play with their new friend, and chatting with people Sara got to know over the course of the week.  There are some really interesting folks here, and it was great to get some other perspectives on the cruising lifestyle.

The kids hanging out with their new friend Colleen.

Today, though, we decided to get down to work.  We are hoping to move on from Georgetown, and head towards Cuba in the next week or so, but before we go, there are a few outstanding boat projects that we want to get done.  Georgetown is by no means a metropolis, but for the next couple of months, it may well represent our best opportunity to find supplies and parts if we need them, so we are hoping to get the boat sorted out before we go.

Fate wasn't cooperating today, though.  It was one of those extremely frustrating boat days, where every project we started lead to more projects, and in the end, we didn't really accomplish much of anything.

The day started out with me trying to fix our leaky pump on our starboard toilet.  Ever since we have been on the boat, it has dripped a bit of water, and while it is not a big deal, I thought it would be an easy fix.  There was a screw missing where the pump attaches to the toilet, and I figured just putting a new one in would do it.  Well, Sara had tried that while I was away, since she managed to get the right sized screw from a store here.  It didn't work.

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Taking apart the toilet pump.  This was one of the bigger rooms I got to work in today.

So today, I took the pump apart, and found what I thought was the problem - the O-ring wasn't seated right.  We had a spare O-ring on board, so I put that in, and reattached the pump.  The leak was even worse.  So I took out the new O-ring, put back in the old one, and made sure it seemed to be seated right.  Screwed everything back together, and it all looked good.  Until half an hour later, when Sara reported to me that it was still leaking, pretty much the same as before.  I'll need to get back to it, but by that time, I was already on to project number 2.

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Toilet pump, cleaned and ready to reinstall.

This was another leak issue, but this time, it was our dinghy.  We have had slow leaks in each pontoon since we got on the boat, making it necessary to pump up the dinghy every few days.  Again, not a big deal, but I though this would be a good opportunity to find the leaks and patch them.   So the kids and I took the dinghy over to the beach with the patch kit and some soapy water.  Before long, we had identified two small leaks that seemed to be the culprits.  Just as we were getting ready to patch things up, though, it started to rain.  Since I didn't want to put the patches on a wet dinghy, we headed back to the boat to try something else.

Since it was raining pretty hard, we decided we would work on our power monitor, which faithful readers of the blog will remember, has been giving us trouble since Miami.  Back then, we pulled the monitor out of the wall, and hooked up a new cable to it, which seemed to work, so we figured the original cable was bad.  Since then, we haven't gotten around to running the cable through the boat back to where the monitor is supposed to sit in the wall, so it has lived under our kitchen sink.

Today, we decided to run the wire.  This involves pulling a bunch of ceiling panels (called headliners) down, and threading the wire through some pretty inaccessible spots.  To get the headliners down in Christopher's room, you first have to take down the fan, ceiling light and hatch screen that are screwed into it.  After doing all that, we started to run the wire back toward the galley.  It looked like the wire ran right under the salon floor, so we thought we would pull up the floor to make sure it went where we wanted it to.

Unfortunately, to pull up the main salon floor, you need to take the table out.  OK, what's a few more screws?  We pulled the table out, then pulled up the floor, and both gasped.  There were two surprises waiting for us.  The first was that there was no wire run under the floor, so pulling it up hadn't done us any good at all.  The second surprise was that it appeared that the floor had probably never been pulled up in the lifetime of the boat.  In fact, buried under the layers of dirt and sand there appeared to be sawdust, which has probably been there since the boat was constructed.  I guess that makes sense, since there is really nothing under the floor to get at, so no reason to pull it up.

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Sub-floor surprise.

Anyway, there was no way Sara and I were going to live over all that dirt.  It was OK when we didn't know it was there, but now we had a new project.  After a solid hour of scrubbing, scraping and cleaning, we finally had a sub floor we could live with.

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Aaaah, that's better.  Now what were we doing?

So back in went the floor and the table.  Now it was getting sort of late, but we still had enough steam to try and finish the cable run.  We finally just decided to tape the new cable to the old cable and pull it through.  With a little shoving and fighting, and drilling one new hole, we finally managed to get the new cable all the way back to the power hub.  Once there, we plugged everything in and .... nothing.  The power display, which had been working fine using this cable and living under the kitchen sink for a month, did nothing.  We plugged it in and out, took the display out of the wall, tried every cable we had on board.  Still nothing.

Fortunately, the company that makes the display (Outback) is on the west coast of the US, so it was still early in the day there.  We called them, and after a few minutes of testing with their guidance, we figured out it wasn't the cable or the display.  Which left us with the power hub.  I took down the panel in our bedroom behind which it lives, and unscrewed it from the wall.  Sure enough, one of the pins in the connector was broken.  In fact, it was probably this pin which had been wonky all along, and it just decided to break completely today, so the display didn't work.

Anyway, this is getting to be a pretty long story.  Suffice it to say, we spent the next hour or two putting the boat back together, getting all the access panels closed and headliners back up.  I have ordered a new power hub online, and hopefully it can be delivered to the Bahamas within a reasonable time frame, so we can plug it in and get on the road.  

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OK, just got to get all this put away, and we're done.

It is a truism that cruising is really mostly about fixing your boat in exotic places.  Conventional wisdom also states that starting any single project on a boat will reveal several more that you didn't know existed.  I think we proved both those aphorisms today.  Hopefully tomorrow, we'll actually get something done.


  1. Always wondered what was under that floor... Now we know! :) Good luck with the Cuba planning. You guys looking at hitting the ragged islands on the way?

    1. Yeah, I can see why you never pulled it up. Not really any need to. I don't plan on doing it again any time soon. We are debating between the Ragged Islands and heading to the north coast of Cuba vs going down along Long Island to Acklins Island and Matthew Town, and then through the windward passage to the south coast. We are currently leaning toward the second for various reasons, but nothing in stone as of yet. Hope you guys are well. Are you back at work now?

  2. I just fell in love with my bike all over again!

    1. Yeah, the worst thing is that toilet pump is still leaking, so it looks like I'm not done with that yet. I might trade the whole thing for a bike if someone made me an offer of a nice one ;-).