27 November 2015

The Case Of The Slowly Sinking Ship | Nancy Drew Investigates, Pt 2

If you haven't read Part 1 of the Case of the Slowly Sinking Ship, then you might want to check it out first - click here to have a read.

Could this be the cause of the mysterious leak on Tickety Boo - an attack by the marina alligators?


"Bess, I thought you were on a diet. Are you sure you should be eating so many Oreo cookies?" said Nancy Drew. 

Bess wiped chocolate crumbs off of her face, turned to her friend and said, "I know, you're right. If I gain one more pound, I won't be able to fit into that new dress I bought and then I won't have anything to wear to the sock hop at the yacht club tonight. But, I just can't help myself! This Case of the Slowly Sinking Ship is so frustrating that the only thing that makes me feel better is chocolate."

Nancy got out her notebook and pencil and said, "Now, Bess, we just need to look at things logically. Let's go through our list of suspects and try to see who had motive, means and opportunity to commit this dastardly crime." 

Just as Nancy opened up her notebook, her boyfriend, Ned Nickerson, walked into the room and said, "Gee, Bess, don't you ever clean out that lazarette of yours? It really stinks down there." Bess blushed and said, "I'm sorry, Ned. I completely forgot to take care of that. I've just been so busy with other things like shopping for my new dress and checking out the new ice cream parlor that opened up in town. They serve the most divine root beer floats." Bess stared off into space, daydreaming of ice cream sundaes and banana splits.

Nancy shook her head at Bess and then turned to Ned. "You're just in time. We were going to go through the list of suspects in the Case of the Slowly Sinking Ship. Have you found any clues that can help us out?"

"Well, you can cross everyone off the list except the fresh water system, " Ned said. "It looks like the leak might be coming from there."

Bess gasped and said, "Gosh, do you think one of those alligators swimming around in the marina got on my boat and chewed a hole though one of the water hoses?" Ned looked at Bess in disbelief. "An alligator? You really think an alligator caused this? Sometimes, I just don't know about that imagination of yours." 

Bess stared helplessly at Nancy and Ned and shrugged her shoulders. "But, what else could it be? And, what if they come after me next!" Nancy smiled at Bess and said, "There, there Bess. It isn't alligators that did this. You'll just need to buckle down and work through this systematically. Here, have another Oreo cookie. That will make you feel better."


Of course, this isn't exactly how things played out over the past few days. But the Nancy Drew version is a lot more interesting and entertaining then reality. Reality is full of hard to reach places on your boat, stinky lazarettes and water that seems to come from nowhere. In Nancy Drew's world, everyone is always dressed smartly and Nancy solves the mystery without ever breaking a sweat. Because of course, she's Nancy Drew - she doesn't sweat, she doesn't even perspire. She might occasionally have a healthy glow from a tennis match, but she never sweats.

In our last installment of Nancy Drew Investigates, the mysterious leak had stopped the minute that Graham, the service manager in the boat yard, and my pals, Matt and Jessica, popped by to help with the investigation. Isn't that always the way? The minute someone who knows what they're doing comes by to help you, the problem stops. They look at you funny, like you're some sort of boat hypochondriac, imagining mystery problems with your boat just to get attention.

I somehow convinced them that I hadn't hallucinated the whole thing and then headed off to the party at the marina with Matt and Jessica. I had a few beers and something to eat and then settled in for the night on one of the settees in the saloon so that I could hear if the bilge pump went back on during the middle of the night.

I'm sure it won't surprise you to know that I didn't sleep very well. Dreams of sinking ships and alligators swimming around my boat waiting to pounce on me filled my head during the night. I woke up often and peered into the bilge anxiously. Nothing but a little bit of a water. If I hadn't known better, I might have thought I dreamed up everything that happened on Saturday. But, I didn't. Trust me on this. I know I have an overactive imagination, but it usually leans towards things like alien abduction, not my boat leaking and slowly sinking to the bottom. I'd rather be transported up to a spacecraft and experimented on then deal with these kinds of problems on my boat.

Matt and Jessica popped round later on Sunday. I had cleared out the lazarette so that we could have a good look in there, which is a pain in the you know what. Our lazarette is big enough to store dead bodies in it, so you can only imagine how much crap we have in it. Our 40 pound Rocna anchor, tons of lines, a huge box of chemicals, cleaning products, solvents and the like, diesel jerry cans, buckets, stuff that the previous owners left which I've never been able to identify and other bits and bobs. 

Once you get all of that out, you're left with lots of hoses that lead to mysterious places, a diesel tank, a hot water tank and our holding tank, which I affectionately call our PPB (or pee and poo box). 

Have I mentioned what a sweetheart Matt is? Bless his cotton socks (which is a strange saying by the way, why would you want your socks blessed?), Matt jumped into the lazarette and checked all of the seacocks out. I hadn't had our PPB emptied in a while so it stunk like the dickens down there (another strange saying) and it might have been leaking a little bit too. Yeah, Matt went down into the deep, dark pit of utter grossness to check things out. Jessica snagged herself a good one. He's a keeper.

One of our seacocks was looking a wee bit suspicious, but we couldn't tell if it was leaking or if the water around it was just due to the torrential downpour on Saturday. Matt told me to keep an eye on it.

Next up, Matt poked around in the engine room again and looked at the stern tube. It all looked okay - not the source of the leak. I showed him where I thought the path was that the water was taking - from the lazarette into the aft cabin, through the engine room and into the bilge. Everything was pointing towards a problem with the freshwater system, so he told me to fill up the tanks again and see what happened. 

So, I did. Water poured into the bilge, but then it leveled off just below the line where the bilge pumps start kicking in. 

This was both odd and exciting. Seriously, did I just say this was exciting? This will give you a sense of how warped my worldview has become. I used to think getting a pair of black boots with an adorable wedge heel on sale or finding a new Ethiopian restaurant was exciting. Now, I think finding water in my bilge is exciting. 

I skipped over to Matt and Jessica's boat with a huge smile on my face and screamed out, "I've got water in my bilge!" Matt gave me a huge high five. We were all excited - we had found the source of the leak. Never mind that we didn't recreate the actual problem on Saturday with a continuous leak and the bilge pump going off. Yes, that was odd, but we had water in the bilge again. Things were looking up.

I spent the day poking around trying to trace all of the water hoses and figure out where the leak could be coming from. I drained the tanks again before bed, took all the water out of the bilge and slept somewhat better that night. 

On Monday, the bilge was still dry. This was good. The suspicious seacock in the lazarette was dry. This was great. But, it looked like the path that I thought the water was taking wasn't actually the case. I found a little bit of water accumulating in the aft cabin, but wasn't able to figure out where it was coming from. Yep, more mysterious bypasses and channels lurking somewhere in inaccessible places on our boat. {Sigh}

At some point, I posted something on Facebook about how frustrating things were getting and whined about not having any chocolate. Michele and Bruce from Sailing Wind Spirit brought me over Oreos and a giant Hershey bar to ease my pain. Aren't cruisers wonderful? They're always there to help you out in times of need.

So, that's where we'll leave the story for now - a dry bilge and plenty of chocolate. But, stay tuned for Part 3 of the Nancy Drew Investigates series. Spoiler alert - things are never easy. Things get confusing again. One of our original suspects, who we had crossed off the list, left some new incriminating evidence. Was it a red herring or the cause of the leak? 

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  1. I've a feeling we're about to find out what caused the massive amounts of water and the over working of the bilge pump. Life is never dull on a boat and there seems to be something going wrong fairly often.

    Have a fabulous day and I hope the boat stays dry so you can get a decent nights sleep. ☺

    1. I wish I could say that we're about to find out what caused it, but I still don't have a clue :-(

  2. It occurred to me that you have a A/C unit. Where does the condensate go? On my boat, it went into the bilge to be pumped out by the bilge pump.

    1. That's a very good thought, but ours is a window AC unit that sits in the companionway and drains into the cockpit. The cockpit drains are fine and there isn't much condensation from it any event. You can see why I'm leaning towards the alligator theory :-)


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