Saturday, June 6, 2009

June 3, 2009.

We’ve spent 3 nights tied to our favorite dock, at Ken & Carol’s house. We completed a couple a nagging little chores that needed doing. First and foremost was that the batteries needed to be equalized. Each morning our voltage had been lower and lower so it was a must do. That involved shutting down every 12 volt system on the boat, then basically whacking the batteries with a controlled overcharge for a period of 8 hours. We decided to do it here so we could take advantage of the Small’s garage fridge.

So, while we were emptying the fridge and freezer we decided to defrost them both. That decision snowballed into adding a layer of insulation inside the top of the refrigerator. Ken had a piece of painted aluminum that he donated to the project. I cut and bent it to fit inside the “roof” of the fridge. Once screwed into place I pumped a can of spray foam into holes that I had drilled in the aluminum. So what we ended up with was a false ceiling in the fridge that now hides a new 2 inch layer of foam insulation. The dairy products were absolutely giddy and the vegetables were psyched.

Then I decided to finally exorcise the demon that lives in our bilge in the form of the bilge pump float switch. I rewired this same switch only a month ago and the little bastard was still giving me trouble. I found that as the water gradually rose in the bilge the switch would slowly begin to float and….nothing. If I moved the switch abruptly it would turn on the pump, but if it moved slowly it didn’t do its job. It pisses me off when something can’t do its simple little job. I mean it’s not like I’m asking a lot of it. For Christ’s sake it’s up…on and then down…off.

So the solution was simple…I ripped it out and smashed it into tiny little pieces. The switch still didn’t work but I felt a whole lot better about it. I’ve got 2 spare switches on board. 1 is the same type that I just annihilated while the other was a sensor type switch. It has no moving parts but has 2 external probes that complete a circuit when water reaches the probes thus engaging the pump. I built a slick little mounting bracket so I could dangle it down into our lower bilge.

Installing it in the lower bilge is no easy feat. Everything has to be done by feel with 1 arm at full extension. It took a while and after finally getting the bracket screwed into place I flipped on the breaker and almost broke down in tears. When I flipped the breaker the pump immediately came on but the problem was that there wasn’t any water in the bilge. F*%k me.

So I removed my bracket and brought the new switch up where I could see it. Here I am, thinking that I’ve been carrying this defective switch around for close to a year. I was despondent at the thought of having to put the other float type switch back in.

These switches only have 2 wires coming from them. With the float type there’s no polarity to the wiring. Evidently with this magical, no moving parts, mystical sensor type switch, it does make a difference. I decided to reverse the wires and test it BEFORE I reinstalled it and eureka…it worked. So I once again, I stuck my arm down into the nether regions of the boat and reinstalled the new switch and its custom bracket.

When we arrived here in Whittaker Creek the dockside water was just deep enough to tie up. Since then it had gone out a bit and we’ve been sitting in the mud. As today passed the water came up a bit so we decided to get out of the creek while we could.

I cast off the bow and spring lines and Christy backed the boat down on the stern line. By backing against the still secured stern line the bow swung to port and the promise of deeper water. It worked like a charm and when the time was right I slipped the stern line and prepared to fend off as we plowed towards the deeper water of the channel. It ended up being an easy deal getting out of the shallows and off the dock.

We headed over to the town’s boat basin in the heart of Oriental. The town maintains 2 free slips for transient boaters. They’ve always had boats in them when we’ve been here before, but today one was empty.

So we sit here in the center of town, in a free slip complete with wifi. We’ll be leaving tomorrow headed in the general direction of the Chesapeake. It should take us about 4 days, but we’ll see how it goes.

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