Sunday, August 24, 2008


Home in Port Charlotte (mostly sunny, occassional downpours)

Weather system 94L continues to gather strength and is currently located between Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles. A USAF hurricane hunter is scheduled to investigate tomorrow to determine if 94L is, in fact, a tropical depression. 95L has formed halfway between Florida and Africa but it is very unorganized and not expected to do anything.

All this week, I will work the Gulf Coast and sleep in my own bed each night. This past weekend was spent doing boat projects. We had a automatic bilge pump that would not shut off and it killed both of our boat batteries. I got the batteries recharged but had to cure the root cause. The big challenge was finding the exact location of the bilge pump, as we don't have any diagrams or blue prints on the boat. I traced the sound of the running motor to somewhere inside the cabin. As it turned out I had to nearly disassemble the cabin to find it. Beneath a floor plate that holds the dining table, a compartment inside the hull was found to be holding standing water. I traced the source to be from my anchor rode locker, in the forward bulkhead. I used my wet vac to suck out a gallon and a half of water. It seems the anchor rode (rope) sponges up water while at anchor and gravity sends that water from the rode to where I found it.

The suspect bilge pump was finally located behind the refridgerator (which had to come out), at the lowest part of the hull. After removing the fridge, I had to climb waist deep inside a hole that was like crawling into a file drawer. I slipped at one point and bruised a rib but I found the culprit and got it out. There was a mass of sludge/fibers/dirt the size of a small mouse blocking the intake of that bilge impeller. The automatic float valve was stuck in the up position, so it was a good expense of $69 to replace it. While I was in the bowels of the boat I found a pump and sea strainer for my forward live wells. I pulled this sea strainer and found a similar mass of gunk in there, so my bruised rib turned out to be worth my while.

What I've just described is an example of what it means to be "messing about."

"There is nothing half so much worthy as simply messing about in boats. Simply Messing. Whether you get away or whether you don't; whether you arrive at your destination or whether you reach somewhere else; or whether you never get anywhere at all, you're always busy and you never do anything in particular; and when you've done it there's always something else to do, and you can do it if you like, but you much better not."

  • The Wind In The Willows (Kenneth Grahame, 1908)

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