19. Picking up where I left off.

Howdy Sports Fans.

It’s been a long time since I posted anything, so I thought I’d update anyone who might still be interested.

After all of the holiday ruckus in New York had passed, my father and I loaded up the ol’ front wheel drive sleigh, and proceeded in a southerly direction. His ultimate destination was Florida, where he’d be staying with his brother for a couple of months. Along the way, he’d deposit me in Annapolis, where Sylphide had been waiting patiently for my return. Dad stayed aboard for a few days, and made himself as invaluable and helpful and maddening as only a father can be.

As busy as we were, we did manage to squeeze in some fun. We took a trip to DC, and wandered around the Air and Space museum. About half of the place was closed for renovation, but we still got to see some really neat stuff. Dad had an erection for most of the Wright Brothers’ exhibit, and seeing the moon dust that still covers Neil Armstrong’s moon suit really did it for me. We also went to see 1917, which we both thought was brilliant.

Sylphide herself was in much better condition than I’d left her. Her new bank of AGMs was and is working marvelously. The generator had been serviced, and a new exhaust had been run, complete with a water lock. The new run is also in a much better location than the old one, and makes getting around the engine room easier. A laundry list of other small items were also checked off the list, and while I did leave a large portion of my children’s inheritance with them, I really couldn’t be happier with the J Gordon Co. who did the work. They were really on the ball. They knew what they were doing, showed up on time and got the work done promptly, and installed things like they were working on their own boat. A really professional outfit.

I left Annapolis in high spirits, and made for Solomons on my first leg. The run down was fair, with choppy seas that made for a marginal but not unsafe ride. I made it in good time, and was happy to have the hook down before dark. The wind picked up shortly after I arrived, just as it was forecast to, and pinned me down there for two nights. The anchor held well, but there was enough wind that I didn’t feel like trying a dinghy adventure, so I stayed aboard. My stay at Solomons was mostly fine, but was marred by some new boat issues.

A smell had begun to develop from somewhere in the bilge, and I began to suspect that I may have an issue with my black water system. The smell didn’t immediately identify itself as black water, and wasn’t the worst thing I’d ever smelled, but it wasn’t ideal either. I tried to find a leak, or vent issue, or permeated hose, but was unable to. There was water in the bilge, but I couldn’t tell where it had come from, or if the level was rising. I decided to use the system as little as possible. The fresh water pump also seemed to stop working, and the lack of water combined with the smell didn’t do much to make me feel at home.

When the gales died off, I hove anchor and shaped a course for Deltaville, VA. The trip was pleasant. Inside, David Sedaris read me some of his stories. Outside, the weather was clear and sunny, but cold. There was a little chop left over from the blow, but it died down throughout the day. As I pulled in a little before a lovely sunset, it had gone calm and quiet. Extremely quiet, in fact. It was the kind of quiet that makes your breathing sound loud, and the clicks of your phone’ keyboard echo off the walls of faraway buildings. I bet if I’d stepped on a cat’s tail, or dropped a glass, then the whole place would have shattered into a billion tiny little pieces, and then a wormhole would have opened up, and all of the tiny little pieces would be drawn through into another dimension and reassembled into an exquisite Art Deco wall sconce.

Ahem, excuse me. Went off the rails for a second there.

Anyway, I grabbed a dock in Broad Creek at Doziers, and I’ve pretty much had the place to myself since. I’d called ahead and mentioned that I was having some plumbing issues, and they recommended a nautical handyman that could come down and help out.

I called, and was glad I did. He came down with a new fresh water pump, and had it installed in no time. I think the pressure switch had died. He also found a ball valve that I didn’t know I had. It must have been closed during the winterization process, and isolated my starboard water tank, which explained the mystery list I’d developed. I’d only been drawing from the port side.

While he was down there, Magic Mike noticed a few things that needed attention. One of which was my raw water cooling intake hose. It was looking a little gnarly and cracked, and once he’d taken it off, it was obvious that it wasn’t long for this world. He said he’d have to come back the next morning with a new hose, since he didn’t have any on him. He’d also noticed the foul smell, and the not insignificant amount of ‘water’ in my bilge. The level had clearly risen since I’d last looked at it, and the color now made it obvious that my black water system was definitely leaking. He wasn’t able to locate the leak either, but when he came back this morning with the new hose, he also brought a shop vac and a poor, unfortunate helper with him.

Thank god for that, because I’d spent much of yesterday after he’d left down in the bilge trying to get that crap water out of there. I’ve got two fairly monster bilge pumps, but they’re mounted too high to get anything out of the keel. I tried to find a submersible pump in town, but nothing was small enough to fit down in there. I picked up a drill pump and some hose, but that was too small and too slow. I finally resorted to my manual bilge pump, which worked but the process of bucket brigading it out of the engine room proved extremely frustrating on my own, and also quite disgusting. I’d put a dent in it, but there was still a lot down there.

My heroes, bless their hearts, not only de-crapped my bilge, but even cleaned it. I tipped them handsomely. Now that the bilges are clean, and the tanks are empty, I’ll need to try to find where the mess is coming from.

But that can wait. I’ve had enough effluent for now, and I could use a break. I’ve been in Deltaville for four days, and I’m ready to move on. It’s a nice little stop, but there’s not much to see here, especially this time of year.

Hopefully the weather will cooperate, and I’ll be off for Norfolk tomorrow morning.

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