|Working in tight spaces|
Our time in the Bahamas was idyllic (well... because it was the BAHAMAS! But also) in that nothing broke while we were there. Really. We met quite a few people who were waiting around for parts, complaining about how much the shipping cost and how long it took to get things in the Bahamas... but we were lucky. After all of the money and heartache we poured into Dos Libras prior to our escape from the US, we were granted a respite.
But the moment we returned to the US back in June, we were smacked with one thing after another in rapid succession. For some mysterious reason, most of the problems were plumbing related.
First off let me just let you in on a little secret that nobody tells you. When you live on your boat and use the head all the time, you will obviously be pumping out regularly. We could usually go about 2 weeks on our waste tank capacity at the end of which we would either need to find a pump out station (that worked) or take a day trip out past the three mile limit to lawfully pump our waste overboard.
The regularity of these activities kept our deck plate caps and our macerators in good repair. Well, when you leave the US and there are few (or no) pump out options, waste is pretty much universally dumped overboard with each flush, bypassing the tank and giving the macerator and the deck plate cap a long break.
|Preparing to remove the old macerator with a diaper to catch overflow|
|This is what the cap looks like|
|This is the type of deck key we've been using|
The deck plates for both of our heads were frozen when we came back to the US, but we were able to get the cap for the aft head (in our bedroom) loose, we we've been using only that toilet since our return to the US... We are READY to have our other potty working again.
Unfortunately we've been unable to get lucky with the forward head and it remains frozen solid for now... So we turned our attention to replacing the dead macerator so that we could at least empty the tank offshore when needed.
|The new replacement... now we just need some new hose clamps to fit...|
All of my careful preparations and time spent fretting beforehand were for naught... barely a drop came out of the hoses when we loosened them and it was super easy to just pop the new macerater in place of the old one. We didn't have the right hose clamps to replace these rusty ones, but that's an easy fix.... throw it on the pile.
Yay! So now we can run some fresh water into the toilet to "freshen" the hoses in there and would you believe it... the electric pump that flushes the toilet groaned, squealed and then blew a fuse when I pushed the button. We flipped the breaker back on and I pushed the button again... This time when silence fell, the pump was dead. WTF??? I guess the "stuff" that was inside the frozen macerator was also inside the potty pump. DAMN!!!
|From overhead wrangling hoses|
We bopped over to the West Marine and picked up a new manual flush potty and some new hoses and parts for the vented loop... and went to work.
|The old hoses. We did away with all that stuff on the right and used new hoses|
Moving right along... to the aft head. The shower fixture has become unreliable. We had this problem once before. It's an old but well made fixture and shortly after we got the boat, it started to malfunction. Back then, we took it off the wall and poked around inside looking for obvious problems... finding none, we put it back on and figured we would look for a new one... lo and behold, it started working again. And worked until now.
Sometimes you just get lucky... after trying our luck at Lowes and Home Depot (we were there looking for something else), we were pointed to Palmer's Hardware here in St. Petersburg.
Palmer's is an old fashioned "real" hardware store... not just a place to buy hardware, but a place where you can get hard-to-find bits and also... a place where there are people who can FIX stuff!!! We brought them our shower fixture and after one trip to fix the internal mechanism, and another trip for him to fabricate new gaskets, we have a working fixture and spent less than $60 instead of the hundreds we were looking at spending before.
under-the-counter filter that will do nicely. Since we're installing a new water maker, we will likely not have water in our tanks that is extremely impure... I just want something to filter out sediments and such so that we can drink the water out of the tanks.
|Foot pump forward and new filtered water fixture behind it.|
He took our old fixture, which was much better than the cheaply made new one, back into his workroom and returned it to us all shiny and looking almost new in minutes. He ground off the corrosion and they found us parts to re-install our old fixture so that we could return the crappy new one to West Marine and get our money back. Palmer didn't even charge us for this!!!