So, you think Brian and I are just sitting here sipping pina coladas and working on our tans? Not even close. The past two days have left us exhausted and humbled, but admittedly, still pretty darn proud of ourselves.
Hey, remember the other day when I was telling you about our poop? Well, get ready for more! First order of business yesterday was to get in touch with Stuart Dodd from Global Marine Service & Repair to help us sort out our toilet problems. I called him at 9, he was here by 10, and he got right into our head problems. I won’t go into all the gory details here, as I know most of you reading this a) do not and will not live on a boat and b) don’t really want to know too much, but basically he said that we should plan n changing out most of the hoses – a job that he said Brian and I could probably handle – and that we needed a new pump for our starboard head. Three hours later his guy Ivan was there with the pump, and we were all set – or so we thought!
Since we finally got the dinghy running, we figured we should take her out for a spin. As we were leaving the boat, I swore I heard some sort of alarm and made Brian drive back over. We didn’t hear anything so we headed back out into the ICW to do some general exploring for an hour or so. I even did a pretty good job driving the dinghy, which I was not awesome at during our liveaboard course last May.
When we got back, Brian went to plug in his iPad, and couldn’t understand why it wouldn’t charge. This led us to peering at the circuit breaker panel. First, we blamed the hot water heater, which we’d left on. Then we started flipping switches, lifting up bunks to look for the heater or a circuit, anywhere we could think that some sort of culprit might live. On top of that, we’re realizing the head with the brand new motor isn’t draining so fast, which seems strange. At this point, it’s 7 o’clock, we haven’t eaten anything all day, and we’re stressed and tired, so we decided that whatever was wrong could wait, and that a beer and some pizza was needed – stat!
I woke up this morning, a bit hung over, with the words “reverse polarity” stuck in my head. You see, one of the panels for the A/C power was lit up on this label, and while the day before, we didn’t really think about it, I had a sneaking suspicion it could be the cause to our problems. 10 minutes and a heart attack later, Cruisers’ Forum told me to unplug us from shore power immediately, then something about a white neutral wire, and then all kinds of other stuff I had no idea about.
Luckily, Stuart came to our rescue yet again. He was stopping by merely to bring us the bill from the day before, and we sucked him in for 2 ½ hours. We brought him in to show him the slow draining, which he immediately attributed to nasty calcified buildup of, literally, crap in the hoses. Sure enough, he dove in and started pulling out the hoses, which looked like the arteries of a 500 lb. man might. The trick, he showed us, is to take them out, beat them against the deck, and rinse them out thoroughly with the hose. As we were paying him for his time, we didn’t go with his suggestion that we help out, but at least we know what needs to be done to the same hoses in the other 2 heads.
Then he quickly solved the “Reverse Polarity” question – take off the cover underneath the nav station, see a melted burned out white wire, cut it down to where it is still good and connect it back to the doohickey that it connects to? From now on, nothing stays on that isn’t in use, electrically speaking!
So, in summary, I can’t recommend Stuart more wholeheartedly. He saved us today – while we might have figured out the problem after several days of agony and frustration, we instead were sorted out before noon. If you’re in Ft. Lauderdale and need any plumbing or electrical work done, he’s your man!
That’s it, folks. It’s a little after 8 and I think we’re both going to collapse and get a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow we really scrub inside and out, because on Saturday our Captain, Bruce, will be here to show us how to not die while sailing. Or while anchoring. Or while mooring. Or just sitting at a dock, for that matter.