The weather has finally broken, at least temporarily. A pretty good storm has blown through, bringing some significant rain to most of the country, and high winds to the area I’m in. It’s been nice to get a decent sleep without the fan on, to actually tuck in under a quilt! As you can see, I’m in a marina…more on that in a bit.
On the boat front, something has happened. I was looking under a cupboard back aft for some tools and noticed that there was a bit of water on the plywood on the bottom next to the hot water tank. I thought ‘oh damn, a connector has come loose or broken’. I got a flashlight to inspect further and suddenly saw a flash of light through a hole in the floor.
It was full of water! I mean full. The space under the floor is about 5″ and full of steel ribs for stiffness of the boat and brick ballast to help keep it upright. But it’s not supposed to have water in it. Ever. So, inevitably, I freaked out a bit. Everything was turned off, including the water pump. It couldn’t have come from the canal, there’s no below-waterline ports to let it in. I investigated every possible source, and concluded it was the shower drain.
To make a long story short, it turns out that the drain from the shower had fallen off, I have no idea when. The strainer was still in place, hiding the disaster underneath. The way the system works is that when you go into the shower, you turn on a ‘gulper’ pump that pumps the shower water over the side. It can pump air as well as water, so there was no indication that anything was wrong (I didn’t look over the side to see if water was actually coming out, never thought to!).
The result of this was that every time I took a shower, I was adding more water to the sub-floor bilge space. And no, there’s no bilge pump in that area! The bilge pump is in the separated engine compartment since that’s the only place that water can actually make ingress from the canal.
I’ve pumped out the majority of the water using a combination of a hand pump, the gulper, and an electric pump I purchased from Amazon. As for fixing the problem, that’s an interesting one too. I had an engineer have a look and he agreed that pulling out the shower tray would be the very last resort, it would mean ripping the whole shower out (tiles and all). Not a pleasant prospect. The option we were going to do was to pull up some carpet in the hallway adjacent, and cut a hole in the floor. Unfortunately, upon further investigation, there’s a steel rib in the way. So I worked out a cunning plan to pull a new one in from the pump end with some string, and using that string to hold it up against the tray while screwing the sieve on (thus pulling the rubber seals against the tray top and bottom).
Well, that wasn’t as easy to do as it was to write. With the rubber gasket that came with the drain, the screw that holds it all together was far too short. So I removed the gasket, gooped the heck out of it with silicone, pulled it up tight with the strings, pounded the strainer as far down as I dared (with my biggest hammer) and the screw caught! I’ll let the silicone dry completely, add another layer, then hook it all back up and I’m in business. I’m glad I’m living alone, no shower for several days is starting to bother even me.
As I mentioned earlier, I’m in a marina. I was nearby when I discovered the shower problem and I was told that there was a good engineer that worked out of here (thinking I’d need help). So I booked in for a few days, and timed it just right! I had full electricity (heat!) and was nice and snug for the storm. I’ll fill my water, drain the black water, and be all set when I leave here. For those of you that are checking my location on Google Maps, I’m NOT at either of the large prisons next door. It’s just a coincidence. And there really is a marina here now, it only opend in April and it’s not even on all the satellite images yet (Maps no, Earth yes). Oh and by the way, send me a message if you’d like me to send you a Google Earth .kmz file that you can run as an animation to see my route so far. I haven’t figured out now to attach it to the blog yet.
The other advantage of a marina…food delivery. I’m getting a little low and there’s no stores nearby, but there’s delivery. I’m more than a little low, in fact. I was reduced to this for lunch (and yes, it was as bad as it looks):