Saturday, July 16, 2011

Leaky boats and other things that make passages irritating

As we pulled out of Bora Bora at about 7:30 Thursday morning, we were ready to go. Full of food, booze, fuel and water, we were expecting to make Suwarrow in 4 to 4 1/2 days. It just goes to show, plans are meant to change.

About 2 1/2 hours into our trip, I went to Jake's room to get something and noticed the carpet was all wet. Not good. The only thing under there are our diesel tanks. I told Andy and we both got to work. The first thought for both of us was that the pesky leak in the forward bildge under Jake's bed wasn't really fixed and had gotten bigger over time and overflowed the other compartments. So I emptied out everything under his bed and lifted the floor boards to find...the bildge dry as a bone. Hmmm.... We lifted our floorboards aft of the water tank to find...the bildge with a little water but nothing of the magnitude it would take to overflow the compartment over the diesel tanks. We emptied everything out (we store A LOT of stuff under the cabinets on this side of the hull...spear guns, paddles, spare wood, etc.) and pulled up the carpet, then Andy unscrewed the floor boards. Three compartments had overflowed. We spent a good hour cleaning and pumping out the water and then Andy spent the remainder of the day trying to find the leak. Ultimately, after lots of apoxy and still oozing water, Andy thinks he found a crack in our dagger well. It's in a very precarious spot of course, requiring a mirror to look at it. He took a picture and we blew it up on the computer to confirm. So we've used all the apoxy we have, some black gooey stuff, and basically tried to throw whatever will stick to close the leak. It's under control now, but definitely not fixed.

We have no idea how long it was leaking but we cleaned up over 10 gallons of water. It's down to about 2 gallons a day now. We contemplated turning around and going back to Papeete or we even heard of a haul out in Raitea (although ultimately, we probably wouldn't fit there). After much debate, we decided to continue forward and see about getting hauled out in American Samoa. It will probably need to be cut out and have a patch welded on. We hear they have facilities for hauling out large Tuna boats, therefore will probably have both adequate boat yards for hauling us, as well as some pretty decent welders. So we're living in a little construction zone with the floor torn up and the shop vac on the ready (it's probably the only place we don't have a bildge pump on this boat).

To top things off, the waves are screwy out here and the winds are not where we would like them. While we do have following seas, they're confused as to what that means and which side of our stern they would like to follow. The wind is coming directly from the east (we're headed west) and if it were a little lighter (where we could fly our spinnaker) or a little heavier (where we could make good time with just the jib) it would be fine. As it is, with our main up, the boat wants to jibe every 5 minutes and it you don't catch it right away, even with a preventer, we get ourselves in irons. Which means, no one sleeps. If it's my watch, I need Andy to help me get it going right as I'm not yet practiced enough, or strong enough, to drive, pull out the head sail and move the traveler where it needs to be, all at the same time. If it's Andy's watch, he can do it alone, but I'm now in tune enough with the boat to know we changed directions and wake up wondering what the heck is going on. So, no one sleeps (well, technically Jake does, but he's not watch worthy yet). We decided this morning to take the main down and throw out the jib for the sake of crew comfort even if it does mean we slow down a bit. And now it's raining.

So we're two days into it and not even half way yet. I guess it's going to be more like 5 or 6 days before we get there. It's not my favorite passage (I wanted to hop a plane this morning but couldn't find any sea planes around), but we're all in pretty good spirits. Jake is 100% addicted to the iPad and a little slap happy otherwise. We've all heard such good things about Suwarrow that we can't wait to get there.

Only 515 miles to go...

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1 comment:

Adam said...

Sounds like quiet the exciting journey!

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