Saturday, February 7, 2015

Its not all rum drinks and pretty sunsets!

Heather and I have chatted more than once about our trip and this blog.  We are excited to share our stories for our own sake and our families and friends - but we do sometimes worry that it all sounds too perfect in paradise.  Naturally we tend to share the exciting positive and beautiful things - but I suppose a dose of reality is in order every now and then as well.  This post will be cathartic for the latter.

Our boat is a beautiful home and sailing ship- but also a maze of systems that we try our best to keep running so that we can continue on our adventures in some degree of comfort. 
Things we take for granted on land we have to manage, fix/monitor and solve for differently afloat - water, plumbing, garbage, propulsion, electricity, sewage and so on.  The larger and more complex a boat is- the more systems there are to go wrong.  We are fortunate that our prior owners took good care of the boat and also had a lot of experiences with it - and we are still gaining experience on her daily.

We’ve had a great week in Zihuatanejo during Sailfest, but some greater order has been reminding us that its not all playdates at the beach. First one of the kid’s toilets stopped flushing even though we had just rebuilt it three weeks ago - this time we realized the problem was downstream and our hoses have been completely calcified/blocked . While we have been able to keep our toilet rebuilds pretty clean, this time we ended up with the nasty, messy disaster that you can imagine it to be.  I tried to wear gloves, until those broke... A simple fix turned in to a much greater project- but we got it solved and I thought we were done with toilets for a while. 

Yes - we will publish all sorts of photos.

Not So. My dear mom, our kids’ Oma, arrived safely a few days ago and no sooner had we put her in to Mykaela’s cabin, when the electric toilet/head she was going to use decided to break .  It had been making a loud groaning sound and finally a little belt snapped.  We are fortunate to have three toilets on board, and this gave me my chance to rebuild the THIRD one in the first four months of our trip!  We had 5 rebuild kits when we started and I thought it was too many- but we are now going to be ordering a few more!  We are up and running again but I know that we will need to replace ALL of our large hoses during this trip- a lovely project to look forward to.  I am in awe, however, of the power of vinegar, which completely breaks down the “hard stuff” when you soak it in vinegar for more than an hour.  My experiences in Sea Scouts also prepared me well of this lovely repair skill, and I dedicate these paragraphs to Rob Becker, my favorite toilet apprentice.

Feeling like I had put in some good work worth some good karma- I was bummed when our generator sounded an unfamiliar alarm during the the sailboat parade.  We rely on our generator to charge our batteries and run our water maker and coffee maker, and here it was, “Loss of Raw Water Cooling” staring at me. “Loss of Cooling”- but why? well it turns out that our toilet problem had caused “us" to switch off the water intake for the toilet, but did “we" turn off the wrong water intake? Crap!!  That cost us a completely fried water pump impeller that didn’t even have a single vane on it any more! 

Those black thingies are all supposed to be attached

Thankfully we had a spare on board and after two tries at cleaning all the surfaces well enough- we had a non leaking water pump and some more good karma built up (I hope).  We will add a new rebuild kit to our toilet rebuild kits for whoever is visiting us next!

As each project completes we are gaining more experience with the boat and with the tools that we have, or wish we had. I think I am going to start a blog section on my favorite tools and devices that we are using, while also keeping a list of what I wish we had, or what someone would invent/make (and send to us!) Ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting is just part of the deal though- its part of the price to pay for the adventures we are having- and it certainly makes you appreciate every time that the engine starts happily, that drinkable water comes out of the tap or shower, that toilets flush and when lights come on when you turn on the switch.  Thankfully these problems are really minor in the big scheme of things and we’ve been able to manage them well enough and still enjoy our days in this fun and funky town.  We have really enjoyed the fundraiser Sailfest and another blog post will share more of that! 

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