Watermaker Leak … No Water Onboard!

T minus 20 days & counting until we leave the dock to cruise to the southern Bahamas/Exumas!   Lately it seems that it’s one little thing after another.  Yes, we have 20 days until we untie the dock lines (weather permitting) but we’re babysitting in Atlanta for my grandson, Rowan, for a week.  Plus visiting my 90 year old Dad and in between stopping to check out the south Georgia coast marinas just for fun.  We have friends at Brunswick and St Simon’s Island sounds interesting.  So we really have THREE days, counting today, to finish up all our preparations except for things that cannot be finished until we return – such as provisioning fresh food.  Yesterday we topped off the diesel tanks and filled all the gas & diesel jerry cans – a symbol of returning to cruising as they’ve been living in our dock box for 18 months!

Before our latest minor trauma, David decided to change out all the fuel filters, even if the gauge didn’t show they need to be changed, just because other than a month in the Keys, the boat hasn’t really gone cruising for 18 months.  Check, all fuel filters changed out, fresh, new and ready for duty.  Start our trusty Nanni Kubota 30 hp diesel …. putt putt putt, and suddenly roaring to life!  She’s happy – cleaner fuel!  But WAIT … what’s that dripping noise after we shut it down?  Drip, drip, drip …

In the Engine Lazarette, a Contortionist Squeeze to Reach the Salt Water Pump

In the Engine Lazarette, a Contortionist Squeeze to Reach the Salt Water Pump

No problem, it’s the salt water pump, must have vibrated a screw loose.  Tightening it should resolve the issue.  Nope, one (it’s always one) of the screws wouldn’t tighten, something was stripped.  And there is no good way to reach it in the dark recesses of the engine compartment.   A day and a half filled with innovative and sometimes helpful suggestions from everyone in the marina, David finally got the stripped nut off with a Dremel (if you don’t have one, get one!).   But we still can’t tighten it enough to stop the water leak.  And to top it off, when he finally got the salt water pump off, his hand had oil on it too — not good!  Time to call in the pros!  Our buddy Roy from Harbor Mobile Marine stopped by and found that the stud/bolt was stripped.  It needed to be tapped out, removed and replaced.  No problem, an hour later we had a rebuilt salt water pump and were back in business.  Roy took the one with the leaky seal to rebuild it for next time.  It’s always good to have an extra salt water pump aboard!

If You Look REALLY Close Behind the Control Module, You'll See the Corner of a White Metal Box with a Yellow Switch, Yep, Inside The Box is the Leak

If You Look REALLY Close Behind the Control Module, You'll See the Corner of a White Metal Box with a Yellow Switch, Yep, Inside The Box is the Leak

But back to the water.  We fired up the Spectra watermaker a few days ago — it WORKS perfectly, makes water, just purrs along, I love our Spectra watermaker.  BUT, we’ve been noticing the bilge pump going off a few times a day.   Hmmmm… tracking a leak can be elusive.  We could see the water dripping down the aft wall of the bilge pump, so we knew it had to be coming from aft.  The usual culprit, the water heater, checked out dry.  The stuffing box wasn’t dripping more than it’s normal slow drip drip drip.  It wasn’t left over from the salt water pump, so what WAS it?  The Spectra Fresh Water Flush module was leaking! OK, tighten it up — David says, it’s leaking from INSIDE this white box and I can’t get to it (our watermaker is mounted under our sink, the module was behind most of the other apparatus – David volunteered to cut a hole in my solid staved teak wall, but I refused his kind offer).  Hmmmm….  a call to Spectra, who has the best customer service in the world, I might add, reinforced what we already knew.  Everything had to come out to access the white metal module.  Now we knew that the module contained two parts, either of which might need tightening, but we wouldn’t know until we got there.  Finally David announced it’s the solenoid – it’s rusty and leaking like a sieve.  Another call to Spectra gets a replacement solenoid overnighted …. hopefully we receive it today (Friday) … which is really T minus 3 ….

We ARE Going Cruising!  Soon!  Might As Well Fix Stuff in Paradise!

We ARE Going Cruising! Soon! Might As Well Fix Stuff in Paradise!

In the meantime, the entire water system on the boat is disrupted.  I can’t even use the footpump (and believe me out of habit, I’ve stepped on the foot pump dozens of times over the last 18 hours!)  So we ran the hose from the dock into the cockpit — nice to be at a dock when this sort of stuff happens.

So we wait for water!  In the meantime, I have a bit of last minute provisioning to do and we’re still waiting for our rebuilt salt water pump to return.

Are you leaving the dock soon?  Is it just us that seems to have a last minute barrage of minor boat trauma?  Leave a comment and share (or cheer me up!) — Cheers!  Jan

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