The Murphy’s Law Cruise

A week or so before we left, I was talking with my dockmate at Elliot Bay Marina, and I told him it felt odd to have nothing I absolutely, positively had to do on the boat before we went north. Unfortunately Murphy overheard, and has punished me severely for my hubris.

The first couple of things that went wrong had nothing to do with the boat, but the weather wasn’t cooperating. An extra night’s stay in Port Townsend due to fog, and then a really rough crossing of the Straits. In Reid Harbor, it was my fault that I got the dinghy line and then the anchor line tangled in the prop. Oh, while I fixing that mess, I lost my autopilot remote overboard. Not an auspicious start to three weeks of cruising.

I guess it wasn’t really Rinpoche’s fault that one of the heads decided to crap out (pun intended) to the point where I had to hire the pros to change the main outlet hose from the toilet to the waste tank. I had changed the pump the day before, but that didn’t fix the problem. The existing hose had calcified to the point where the 1-1/2″ hose had an inside diameter of less than 1/2″. I didn’t know marine head hoses would do that. I do now.

So with all that taken care of, the engine starts sputtering at inopportune moments, losing power and just about dying at times. And it was getting worse. Coming back from Rosario, I was really starting to wonder if we were going to make it because the engine was stalling out every few minutes. Then at the entrance to Friday Harbor, with the Empress of Victoria and a regular ferry coming in behind us, and another ferry leaving, the engine decides to die. Fortunately no disaster ensued, and my sphincter was eventually able to relax after we got the anchor down and set.

I diagnosed the fuel problem, probably debris in the tank that was stirred up by the rough crossing a couple of days before. So I changed all the filters, bled the system, and everything worked! The one wrinkle was the filter for the Webasto heater. I couldn’t get the exact replacement so I used one that “looked the same.” It fit and apparently worked well. Until we got to Roche Harbor when I noticed the smell of diesel fuel. I looked in the engine compartment, and to my horror found the bilge full of fuel. The heater filter was leaking like a sieve.

So I got out the shop vac and sucked up at least two gallons of diesel. As an environmentally sensitive new age guy, I tried to dispose of the fuel at the fuel dock. Who would have known that the fuel dock had no way to dispose of waste oil? So I slogged through town with two kitchen catchers full of diesel to dump them at the marine shop. What an effing mess!

Amazingly enough, the shop had the right filter, so I installed it without any more adventures. The next day I spent scrubbing out the bilge with lots of Dawn-soapy water. It looks like I got it all.

So here we are a couple of days later, still in Roche Harbor in surprisingly good spirits, with everything working just fine, but wondering where Murphy will strike next.

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2 Responses to The Murphy’s Law Cruise

  1. captnmike says:

    Don’t tempt Neptune! Maybe you should make a gift to Neptune – one Captain said he gave Neptune a Hershey Bar from time to time

    Well have you learned you lesson on this one?

    Good luck on the rest of the trip

  2. Pete says:

    Walter I personally think that WAVEGUIDE was far less hassle. AND I KNOW FOR A FACT THAT YOUR LOVELY WIFE would love the time on her rather than on this RUINPOCHE. Meghan we are thinking of you every time we read of these adventures…and I’m sure that you are broken hearted as you have to spend an extra day or two in a harbour (near terra firma). Happy sailing!!!! CITW sounds like paradise.

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