Sunday, February 22, 2015

Escaping the tundra

This winter has just been brutal!  So I decided to use my airline miles to escape to Houston for a weekend with one of my friends.  It was so nice!  Temps near 70, wearing boat shoes, not wearing a jacket...aaaahhhhh.  Now, time to head back to my chilly reality!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow day!

Wow!  This morning we woke up to lots of snow!  It's about 7 inches deep on the dock, which is impressive given how much wind there was.  It's a nice, dry snow so removing with a deck brush was pretty easy.  A flexible cutting board also made a nice "shovel" for scooping it off the deck.  But my excitement got the better of new!  While "punching" the canvas bimini to pop the snow off, I forgot to account for just how brittle eisenglass would be at below-freezing temp and busted right through one!  Fortunately it was a small one.  Now I get to use my industrial sewing machine on a new project!

As for the inside of the boat, things are better.  Super glue repairs to the freshwater strainer cover worked and the lines have thawed out.  We didn't tighten it on super tight so there is a little drip, but we are good for now.  The only other damage to the freshwater system was a cracked faucet head in the kids' head.  Rescue tape fixed it for now.  West Marine is still closed so we can't do any better today.  The heads have thawed and can be used again.  That said, we are completely iced in so it will be a while until the pump out boat can visit us.  Still didn't start the engine...waiting a while for that.

We had a nice mix of clearing and snow, playing in snow, and knocking out chores while the Captain teleworked.  We made a big pot of chili to keep us going.  We even got to see one of our non-liveaboard neighbors and helped him rig a bubbler that will actually benefit us a little, too.

The only real bummer is that this is about the warmest day we will see all week and the freshwater at the pier head is completely frozen.  We last filled about 2 weeks ago so we are in ultra conservation mode.  Hopefully it will get warm enough this coming weekend.  The rest of the week looks to be record-setting cold.

Monday, February 16, 2015

A difficult end to a very "cool" weekend

Despite the crazy cold forecast this past weekend (and the Captain's concern about leaving the boat given that forecast) we headed to Williamsburg, VA for a long weekend of history!  We missed a pretty stormy night Saturday, but with both our electric and diesel heat on the boat, we felt ok leaving.  With a decent snowstorm forecast for Monday night we cut our visit to Yorktown short and headed home.

We returned just as the snow started.  I opened the hatch and immediately knew something wasn't right.  It was too dark, too quiet. The electric heater wasn't on, and the diesel wasn't working either.  Clocks and displays that ran on batteries were dark.  Icicles trailed from the faucets.  And it was COLD.  In the words (or rather, word) of Robert Redfearn's character in "All is Lost," "FFFFF$$$$$$&&&&&&&KKKKK!!!!!"  

Ok, so we had lost power, probably Saturday night.  A breaker had tripped so that was an easy fix.  The diesel heater wasn't cycling on, but why?  Quick inspection revealed a big pool of the antifreeze mixture in the bilge.  Grrrr!  We found a likely source of the leak, tightened a screw, and added more fluid to the system.  That's the abridged version!

What else?  Opened the engine obvious sings of rupture or damage, but we decided to very slowly warm everything up and monitor it.  Oh!  While tracing heater issues we discovered that the filter cover on the freshwater pump had frozen/shattered, freshwater, even if the lines weren't frozen solid!  West Marine?  Closed due to weather.  Hardware store?  Ha, no Jabsco parts there!  But guess what?  I'm a whip with superglue!  Need to use the head?  Too bad!  Frozen solid, and the aft one had some leaking of odoriferous fluid so we weren't sure if there was serious damage.

It all amounted to a realization of all of Frank's worst fears about leaving the boat this weekend.  Would the engine be okay?  Had any lines/fixtures/connections been seriously damaged?  Time will tell.  By 6:30 the boat was warming nicely and the crew was hungry.  We were ready for $6 half-pound burgers at the marina bar!

By bedtime things were beginning to thaw out.  We had to use a pot of water from the marina heads to brush our teeth, but the boat was afloat, we had power, and we had heat.  I'm thankful for it all!  Oh, and we have a snowstorm tonight that just caused OPM to close federal offices in the DC area tomorrow!  Woo hoo!