They say there is no rest for the wicked. So we must be getting penalized for having a bit of a cruisey first week home because nothing has gone to plan since we started back to work.
I had noticed a couple months back that the cupboard under the galley sink was looking rather lopsided inside. Steve brought it up again when he was considering the re-plumbing job he’ll be doing on the water maker system nearby. We agreed it was pretty rotten and that it could replaced and made larger, giving us some much needed storage space in the galley. So this week we ripped it out, and in the process broke the bottom fitting on the fresh water hand pump for the galley sink.
Thankfully we had kept the old hand pump and I was able to cannibalize it and fix our mistake. But the thing with the hand pump is that it constantly drips and leaks, leaving the newly refinished ebony counter top wet. Besides the fact that you need one hand to operate it, which makes doing dishes a bit of a pain. Now that we had the cupboard ripped out we saw potential room to install a much lusted after foot pump. The chandlery at the marina happen to have one in stock, and was willing give us a nice discount. After double checking space and clearances we decided to buy it.
When we got it home we realized all the hose needed to install it was a completely different size than what was already in place. But of course. So, after a day sourcing hose and bits in Lautoka and another morning cutting holes and blindly pulling hose through the bilge Steve had the new foot pump installed. I happily dirtied dishes just so I could wash them in a constant stream of water with two hands. What can I say, sometimes it is the little things that make the big difference.
After our new project was added to the To Do list and then checked off the To Do list, we proceeded onto jobs that we had planned to tackle. Most importantly trying to find the source of the leak in the diesel tank. You might remember last time we were in the water we were filling the bilge with diesel while sailing, especially on a port tack. After the third late afternoon session of cleaning and de-greasing the boat after an enjoyable day sailing Steve came up with a solution; pump all the fuel out of the tank into jerry cans and plumb a 6 gallon dinghy fuel canister in as a temporary tank. The new tank worked beautifully and we agreed to address the larger problem someday when we had the time and fortitude to face it.
Monday morning was “someday”. We unscrewed the teak flooring that I refinished last year to reveal the original cabin sole, which is textured balsa-cored fibreglass. We suspected the tank had been removed once before as there was a large, crudely glassed piece of mismatched plywood close to the fuel tank. As per most other repairs done before we owned the boat it was not exactly professional, and we were able to rip all the fibreglass matt up by hand, pry some rusty screws out and open a gaping hole into the bilge. It took a little maneuvering and a couple rags plugging holes leaking diesel but we got the tank out in just over an hour. We were both pleasantly surprised…until we started to really have a good look at things.
The aluminum diesel tank had been repaired before, not once but three times. And that hole that was leaking diesel was big enough to stick my finger through, no wonder we were spewing fuel everywhere underway. The tank is shaped to fit the small space where it lives, making it impossible for the quick fix; buying a nice, new plastic tank to replace it. And since it has three patches already, and is over 40 years old, we are hesitant to try to repair it. So, we are getting quotes on getting a new tank made, and digging out a bottle of rum to ease the pain for the day they get back to us.
While we have the floor ripped up Steve wasted no time removing the oil pan off the engine, we would have had a very difficult time getting it out otherwise as it a fraction larger than the access holes we have when the flooring is fully installed. There was a crack at the dipstick tube that was slowly dripping oil that need to be repaired and he also had a small tap installed to make oil changes easier; no more manually pumping all the dirty oil out, instead we can let gravity do all the work!
Meanwhile, while cooking dinner one night I heard a loud HISS and looked over to see larger than usual flames licking out underneath one of the burners. It seems the old pipes decided this week would be a good time to finally rust through. I turned off the stove and started to consider how I would be cooking with only one burner for the foreseeable future; coming in around $1000 a new stove is not in the budget and I already knew parts for our defunct unit are near to impossible to find. So, you can imagine the happy dance I did when Steve found replacement LPG burners designed specifically for Shipmate stoves on ebay, and at a reasonable price! They are in the USA so until then Steve was able to swap out the not often used back burner for the failed front burner and we are cooking with gas once more.
Not to mention that he also removed the stove from it’s mounts, took it outside and gave it a complete scrub down, removing, what he lovingly referred to as the “funk from Christmas diners past”. Then he adjusted the weights and pivots so it is properly balanced and swings freely. It was so clean I barely wanted to cook on it, but then how would I dirty all those dishes I wanted to wash with the new galley foot pump?
I certainly am luck to have this guy around, aren’t I?