the adventures of a girl, her dog, and two cats.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

goodbye dock water (with photos)

Although we are only flirting with lows in the upper 30s right now, the dock water at the marina was turned off yesterday. In preparation for the inconvenience of having to take a long, long hose down the dock to fill my water tank, two days ago I tried to get the most I could from the water at my slip. We had a day warm enough for flip flops, so I washed the decks. Filled several gallon jugs with water for the pets. Filled my water tank. A certain cat decided the freshly washed decks were a perfect place to leave some kitty tracks.

Although terrified of bringing a hose into the boat since the primary bilge pump is not running properly, I brought the hose in and sprayed down the bilge to get rid of (or at least reduce) the general ick and primordial soup that lives there. I took the musty, swollen hatches from the floor and set them in the sun on deck to dry out while I cleaned and ran the secondary bilge pump at regular intervals trying to clear out as much water as possible. In my little cleaning frenzy (and these only come along in short, intermittent bursts) I elected to change out the cats' litter boxes. One of those boxes resides adjacent to the area where the bilge hatches had been removed. Naturally, I took one misstep backwards, my leg fell into the bilge, and I careened into the space heater. I hurt in so many places that I decided it was best if I just laid there on the cabin sole a bit before determining where all I might be bleeding. Although banged up a bit, the only real damage is a little chunk missing from my shin. It's looking rather unhappy so I'm trying to slather it with antibiotic ointment and hope the primordial ooze in the bilge doesn't get in my bloodstream. Two days later it looks much angrier than in the photo below, taken right after the fall.

In my misstep into the bilge I managed to smash into electrical wires and the secondary bilge pump had ceased running. Luckily, I found two wires that looked as though they belonged together, dried them off, and re-connected them. Voila! Secondary bilge pump back online and crisis averted.

But the day had just begun! Worried that with dock water being shut off, pump out facilities may start shutting down, too, I wrangled a friend into helping me take the boat over for a pump out. He asked me if I wanted to take the helm bringing her out of the slip. Since it's a tight parking space and fancy, expensive boats at the snooty marina across the way that I risk hitting, I was pretty nervous. But he is good at leading me to believe he doesn't fear for his life with me behind the wheel, so I went for it. There were some frantic moments as the boat did not seem to want to reverse and I headed for a boat and piling across the way, but we managed to get out into the channel without hitting anything. Little by little I will get more confident with running my boat, but it does take some getting used to and does not steer like a car! There was a long line of boats waiting for the pump out, so everyone was hovering and circling and drifting while the seventy-degree weather also brought heavy traffic to the channel as everyone enjoyed what might be the last warm day to get out on the bay. With so many boats all around and feeling I was getting blown too close to a boat docked along a bulkhead, I had a minor panic attack and my friend had to take over. (Thank you, Phil, for all the help, for backing her into the slip like a pro, and for nudging me to go ahead and take the helm.)

Once we finally got pumped out I coaxed the pup dog topside and we took a little cruise out of Back Creek before heading back to the slip.

Although I am not there yet, within a year I am certain I will be, and I think the most important things I will gain from becoming a liveaboard will be freedom (to cast off the lines and just "go"), confidence that I can tackle whatever problem gets thrown at me, and the friendships with the wonderful, colorful, and generous liveaboards who have cruised into my life.

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