Day 19, "it came off in my hand Chief"
10 June 2021 | 05 18.830'S:114 55.667'W, At sea to Nuku Hiva
05 18.803 S
114 55.667 W
Weather; sunny, wind 10 - 20 knots, waves 2 - 3 metres
Today's woes begin and end with the aft toilet. As I've already told you the pump was making death throw noises and had slowed down to little more than spitting water into the toilet bowl. We had already made the decision to only use the forward head until we get to the exotic place where we can look at it properly and fix or replace it but that wasn't good enough for Gerry today, he needed to investigate. Leaving me in charge of the watch ( AKA staring blankly out at the water) he vanished below and began with shutting off the overboard valve then proceeded to take the pump apart. There was a momentary reappearance in the cockpit to show me a fur ball and a piece of plastic that was wound around the macerator - I'm sure that he thinks the fur ball is down to me as I have most hair but I swear I don't put any of it down the toilet and as for the piece of plastic Ð that is a real mystery as neither of us have eaten anything covered in plastic! Anyway those bits got cleared an
d it was on to checking everything else to see if there was anything obvious that was stopping the impellers from rotating, nothing was obvious, it was time to reassemble the pump, apply silicone to the old o ring (he didn't have a new one of the right size to replace it so it was a preservation act) replace it and close the pump back up. Next came the waiting game to allow the silicone to set overnight but meanwhile he went to reopen the overboard valve and as he turned the handle it "just came away in my hand, Chief". A short panic ensued as he wasn't exactly sure if the valve was now open or closed, it turned out to be closed so that was a good thing but he had a bung ready to stuff in the hole if water began pouring in. The handle shaft is bronze, it has probably been on the boat since day one and had corroded through leaving Gerry holding the handle. This toilet issue has now become an out of water fixing job which we won't be able to get sorted out until we get to F
iji as Nuku Hiva doesn't have a yard or a lift out facility. So for now we are back to using the forward head and trying to get from the stern to the bow each time we need to use the facilities, risking more bruises and crashing into stuff on the way. If, once the silicone has set, the pump on the aft toilet works again we could still use it and put everything into the holding tank and then manually pump it overboard which doesn't involve the valve having to be moved, but we wouldn't know if that was possible until the silicone had time to cure. So that was enough of "fixing stuff " for one day, it was time to retire to the cockpit and read for the remainder of the day. We were cracking along at about 7.5 Ð 8 knots for most of the day with our main and jib out as goose wings. The swell was reasonable so it was a good ride until the wind began to drop slightly and Gerry then put out the staysail which moved us back along at the same pace we had been before the wind dropped.
We both spent some time below, Gerry sleeping and me prepping for dinner but there was nothing else much happening for the day. We hadn't put out the fishing rod again as the speed was too fast for trolling, I couldn't see us trying to reel anything in when we were moving along at 8 knots! Our night watches followed the usual pattern with us making just one adjustment to the preventer and the main during the pitch black of the night (why is it that we have to do things at this time of the night when you can't see the waves coming to crash into the side of the boat and one of us has to be out on deck, tethered to the jackline, to get the preventer into a better position?) anyway we got it sorted out pretty quickly and were soon back to staring at the stars and the inky black trying to work out where the water ended and the sky began. I think that the sleep deprivation is catching up with us as both of us nodded off momentarily during our last watches. Not that it really made
any difference to anything as there was still nothing on the water all the way around as far as the eye could make out, and let's face it singlehanded sailors just pack themselves off to bed and rely on the alarms to keep themselves safe so a few minutes of dozing shouldn't be an issue. Dawn broke with the sun peeking through for a change, the clouds have lifted and we are rolling along doing about 7.5 knots, the swell has dropped to about 2 metres so it's quite reasonable for the moment. Gerry has tried the toilet pump this morning but it is still making Cheyne stoking noises, we are going to continue to use only the forward head until we get to Fiji and pray that that one doesn't have any issues until then or its down to the bucket and chuck it! Overnight we have had to run the gen set once to keep the batteries fully charged, the auto pilot uses a heap of power to keep running 24 hours every day but we don't begrudge George the power usage, he's doing a wonderful job! O
ur water maker is being activated for 2 hours each day to try and keep up with our water usage and is performing well following the installation of the new membranes. The wind has gradually become more aft and we have changed course slightly to keep from having to change tack just yet, that is bound to happen during the pitch black of night Ð why wouldn't it? Gerry changed our clocks by another hour overnight so we have a 25 hour total for today of 185NM which is pretty darn good even if we took out the 8 NM for the extra hour we still had a record day! And of course there was no engine hours to add once again. I suspect the rest of today is going to be spent getting as much sleep in as we possibly can, we both need it.