Crew member on ITA15111 Hatha Maris

on . Posted in Blogs

Dec 6th (again!) 2017

News from Deck -2 yes, you read right, Deck Negative2

You know those days when you take a great bucket shower, you put a clean

bikini on, and think to yourself: now I am going to go back outside, and -

yes! read my book, just a chapter, then we can fly the big genny if the

angle is right.. Maybe I should put some sunscreen back on, since I

washed it all off. Oh ok, since I am still down here I should first check

in with Brian, the bilge, and then put the sunscreen on, so I don’t get it

all over the interior of the boat. And while I am at it, introduce Thalita

to him, she hasn’t met Brian yet.

So I call Thalita and open up to say hello to Brian, and find that we have

A LOT of water in there. A LOT, sloshing around. I had just checked it

less than two hours ago, and there was nothing. Immediately I do the most

important test and stick my finger in and taste it, to see if it is salty

or sweet water:

a) yuck.

b) it is salty.

c) shit.

First thoughts running though my mind: Where is it coming from? What part

of the hull is damaged? Is a seacock is leaking? Did we hit anything and I

did not hear it? Does anything sound different? WHERE is it coming from?

Dang, what if it is the keel bolts?

We tear up all the floorboards and we have water in all the bilges on the

starboard side. I check around the keel bolts and they seem ok, but won’t

be really able to tell until we get the water down some. And it keeps

coming in, slowly seeping in from the communication holes between the hull

and the bilges. It is a light grey/cream color, cloudy.

Paranoid skipper brain already goes though the sinking/evacuation scenario

and I immediately send a satellite message to the office, alerting them

that we might have a problem and our position.

Then start checking each and every seacock. Thalita checks the port side

ones, I go for the starboard side. Nothing seems amiss. Engine seacock is

dry. But the engine bilge is wet? What?? We mop up 10 litres of water,

and I am able to check the keel bolts. They are OK. Then we each crawl

into the back of the boat, all the way to the stern near the steering shaft

(there is water mostly towards the rear of the boat not forward..) so that

we can methodically check as much of the hull as possible. Port side,

nothing.

When I crawl into the stern on the starboard side I see water both on the

bottom and splashed on the walls of the space. This is where where our

engine exhaust is located, as well as the cockpit seacock drain. New

evacuation scenarios run through my mind and I wonder if I should mention

something to the rest of the crew, who are up on deck helming, reading and

hanging out… ok just a few more minutes and I’ll do that. I dry around the

engine exhaust and its seacock and have Thalita run the engine, to see if

that is the cause. No. Phew, I don’t have a replacement piece for the

exhaust line anyway, and we might need the engine to keep water out or get

us somewhere.. What am I thinking? Where would we go? We are so far from

anything right now and have not seen a single boat in two days. Not even

on AIS.

I test the drain. No, it looks gross but its not leaking. Then I look up,

instead of below or around the waterline of the boat. That’s when I notice

that the outside shower handle is hanging, somewhat caught up in one of the

hoses that crisscross the space. Huh? I realise that the cup that holds

it outside has been cracked and pushed into the space. I test the water on

the walls - just icky this time, it is clear - and it is salty, but not as

salty as it is in the bilges. It dawns upon us that it might be the

culprit. I ask Thalita to shut down the water pump, although I don’t see

much evidence of active leaking, and to check our water tank level. The

tank is now empty. Great. So maybe we have a source of the problem.

Great. Well, that was intended to be sarcastic, but at the same time, we

might now also have a different type of problem. I then grab the plumbing

diagram and see if I can shut down only the outside faucet somewhere, but

it is not an option.

Thalita and I start really emptying out the bilges of water to see if it

keeps rising, and slowly we make progress. The electric bilge pump is

making a funny noise.. and I become uneasy using it as the cloudy stuff in

the water turns out to be fibreglass dust, and it becomes cakey mud, at the

bottom of the pit, potentially clogging up the impeller if it gets sucked

in. I just changed it in Gibraltar, and now I do not have a spare of that

one on board -either.

I finally feel comfortable enough to send a message to the office that I

think I found the problem.

Music is turned on, nice and loud. Thalita and I smile at each other,

making faces as our hands start stinging more and more from the fibreglass

dust in the water. So we manually remove the water, container by

container, with sponges and - since the backup manual hand pump won’t fit

in the small crevices, and we are creative, 10ml at a time with the used

syringes I gathered up after the Medical Care at Sea course we just took in

the UK and threw into the toolbox (Sue: thank you… probably the first time

your antibiotics injection practice leftovers are used in this way.)

Finally after two hours, the water has stopped rising and just comes into

the bilges from the interstitial spaces when we have a sudden movement, but

it is minor. Enough that we are now monitoring it, and simply trying to

get as much out as possible at every watch change.

We did lose at least 1/4 of our freshwater Tank1 to this. So forget

seawater bucket shower rinse-offs even for 10seconds. And I have to fix

the handle and the faucet outside. And maybe replace the junctureT valve

with one with a shutoff lever. I think I might have one of those of the

right size… so voila’ added it to my “oh look, I have a spare moment, what

should I do?” list.

The rest of the crew, you ask? Apparently had no clue. They thought it

was normal to spend close to 3 1/2 hours “playing” in the bilges. Thalita,

thank you for all your help, especially for laughing and keeping me sane

while it was happening. I promise I will not suggest you have a second

date with Brian. EVER.

On the positive side, we now have very very very clean bilges. All the

food that was stored in some of them has been removed, dried, reorganised.

We now know that we have a vast quantity of mais cans. Looks like our

menus will be focusing on this fabulous ingredient in the foreseeable

future.

That’s all from the Deck Neg2 problem resolution desk. It is time to put

some sunscreen on and to go outside and sail, so please come back with any

issues after 4pm.

Lyssandra