September 2, 2012 by Last Star blog
Normally the morning would (wood) hold promise of good things to come, here’s today’s morning. So I wake up and as a consequence of last night’s hydration I have to go pee. Well with two broken toilets and the rain I’m left with one option–the sink. Hey I’m a guy and I do the plumbing work here so don’t judge me. Also the sink drains right out the bottom of the boat so it’s less than 3 feet to the great blue ocean; fish do much worse things in the water. 2 minutes later the deed is done and I follow it with a bit of fresh water from the sink–good to go! From there it was all downhill or so it seemed. I read up on the “Lavac” toilet in front and get that thing working and sorted out–sweet now Patricia has a place to go too. Then I pull all the cushions and all material from front V-berth in an effort to eradicate the smell from the holding tank that is pervasive in the front of the boat. Before pulling the AC unit I spend about an hour fiddling with the vent hose hoping that is the problem. You see 3 weeks ago I pulled the holding tank completely out of the boat, cleaned and rinsed it, renewed the fittings with fresh “pipe dope” and cleaned the whole area. The smell is still there so maybe the vent is blocked. I have to climb head-n-shoulder (no shoulders, can’t get both through the hole) into the anchor locker to undo the vent hose and see if it is working and clear–impossible angles, darker than hell, can’t see, edge of opening killing my ribs. Patricia has to stroke the Lavac 10-15 times to ensure that the vent is clear–it is. OK, the only thing I haven’t pulled from under the bed is the AC, so I loosen everything, remove the ducting, annoying tiny bolts, multiple zip strips, the drain hose for the condensation, the brackets that hold it all in place and then I get Patricia to come in and help me clean the awful mess that MUST be hiding under the drain pan that holds the whole apparatus. Conveniently there is a handle on the left and my hand goes in the vent on the right and I can lift it about 5-6 inches and to the right a bit and will hold it while she cleans. There isn’t really room for two in this space what with me holding the AC etc so I get all twisted up like a pretzel to give her room as the cleaning will be the key. Up goes the AC, the sponge and Mr. Clean are “at the ready” and ……nothing…. there is really nothing under the AC, dang!! Where does the smell come from. Well after I put it all back together I press my nose to the plastic that is the holding tank and THAT is the culprit. Yes the 1/4 inch thick plastic box that you can stand on is actually permeated with the smell–who knew that was possible. Well the tank is upwards of 150$ and one of those little green trees for your car is about 3 for $5 so guess which way I’m going for now. Well after the tank episode I needed some duct tape and the little air-freshener so we went to the hardware store and grocery market. We actually planned ahead, got what we needed and groceries for the next 3-4 days–real meals. The afternoon was me trying to fix the bbq–fail. Draining the water tanks still to get rid of the winterizing/anti-freeze smell–some success. Running down the electrical issue that still keeps the starter battery from starting the engine–some progress narrowing down the possibilities. I did get the engine running using a jump from the “house bank”. I was so thrilled that I decided to try and get the outboard running; it’s only been sitting for 2 years. Well when I could not find the oil drain plug according to the user’s manual I was a bit suspicious, nor could I find the oil fill? Also the manual said it had one spark plug but this had two? Hmmmm….. well some more google-izing and I deduced that I had a 2-stroke, not 4-stroke version. OK, back to the store for different oil, some gas and I’ll be good to go. So to run this little gem you MUST have cooling water to keep it from overheating, the only way to get that is to put it in the water, well parts of it. So currently it is on the rail at the stern about 8 feet above the water but fortunately my “yacht” has a davit to raise and lower this little 69 pound jewel.
I just need someone to catch it at the bottom and fasten it to the stern of the dinghy. So I call Patricia, she’s pretty strong right? Like a trooper she gets into the dinghy that I have conveniently put in the water below “Last Star” and the lines have to be a bit loose and the thing is dancing around like it’s on ice and she’s in the middle looking up expectantly while this 70 pounds of steel and prop swings around above her like a demonic thing from Cirque du Soleil with only the little threads that come out of her sleeves to catch it. Oh well, she’ll be fine, here goes. I hoist the beast from its perch and release it over the side, the line that is secured under my foot to hold it seems good to go–hardly slips at all, I grasp the line and begin to lower it, Patricia continues her death defying act below as the harbinger of death continues its decent. Well half way down I realize that this is going too well and in fact this is so easy that I am on the wrong end of this assignment. Lowering is cake, getting the beast onto the gyrating dinghy will be the challenge. I tie off the line and we switch places–neither of us falling in the water so I’m feeling pretty strong. Now Patricia holds my life in her hands and she takes the line; recognizes that she now has the good job and begins to lower, the engine is quickly put on the transom and secured by me. Next I fasten the tank with fresh fuel, prime the bulb, and set the choke and begin to pull on the starter cord, and pull…. and pull….. and soon an oil slick begins to form at the back of the dinghy, pools of sweat dripping from me begin to fill the dinghy, cursing from me flows as freely as my perspiration and still the damn Mercury 6.0 is silent. At this point as I’m ready to cash it in for today I hear a “yelp” from below. It seems the towels that were stored under the sink have gotten wet from a “leak” and there is water and a funky smell under the sink–hmm what could that be. Well I fixed the loose pipe under the sink (60 second fix actually) and spent the rest of the afternoon doing laundry and a few towels that had a mysterious odor like pee…. those damn cats!
All was not lost; the “ice tray” yielded its bounty about 6:00 PM, I was able to wrestle ice from this enigma and using the 151 rum I stole from Cole and some fresh tonic and limes we settled into the cockpit for a few well earned cocktails; rum and tonics with lime. The ice cubes were so large we were forced to have two–can’t waste ice. Also it seems that in Deale, Md the locals are still fond of Lynyrd Skynyrd and truth be told who isn’t? Like the mullet hairstyle, it just never gets old. So the local band at the local marina bar gifted us with a serenade “gimme three steps” gliding across the waters of the bay. Ahh the good life.