What goes BUMP in the night?

by Glen

Wednesday 5 Jan, cruising days 39: Day of rest on anchor next to Key West, new seals in deck lockers.

In the middle of the night, we both wake up to the sound of something strongly brushing passed the hull. We are out of bed like rockets. Did something hit us? Quick look around the boat expecting to see a dinghy of something, but there is nothing. Then Oana declares from below hearing the same noise, appearing to come from below the hull. But even torches in the water reveal nothing and our depth is showing we are still in 3.3m water. Very odd. We wait some more time but don’t hear it again. It looks like the wind changing and the boat is rotating to a new position. There must be something on the bottom and we swinged passed. The wind is forecast to continue to change, so we go back to bed hoping we will move away from the “object”.
In the morning light we see an old life jacket on the surface 40m one side of us. Odd that we didn’t see that before. Looks like it might be marking something. We would move anchor a bit, but the wind is set to stay-put now, which places us well away from that area. And, looking around us (at all the jalopy boats) who knows what other wrecks are lurking down there. Better to have something that brushes passed the hull rather than something more solid.

Over breakfast, we debate whether it is too early to go into town today and we decide to wait to tomorrow, which will complete my 10 days of isolation. We instead have another lazy day on board, gently rocking with all the power boat activity nearby.

Having made lots of water yesterday, Oana sets to the task of laundry, doing 3 loads. All of which quickly dry, pegged on the life-lines in the sun and warm breeze. Up until this cruising period, we had hardly used our on-bard “Candy” machine before. But now we discovered it can be run from the inverter with very little power consumption, we are really making good use of it. At a recommended maximum 3.5Kg load it’s small compared to a household model, but it does clean very well, much better than any laundromat whose the machines full cycle is barely 25 minutes and a washing period of less than 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, I research a bit on our water situation. Oana says it still tastes funny, even after changing the membranes. And when we first run a shower even I manage to smell that something is not right. It appears that somehow we have contaminated our tanks.
It’s interesting, because another HR owner (also on the forum) announced he had exactly the same issue in Grenada, after his boat also being ashore for an extended “Covid period” with just permeate water in the tanks. Which has now turned (gone bad). So there is a lot of good advice on the forum floating around right now. One guy explains brilliantly watermakers. It’s clear that if membranes can make permeate (the produced water) at the right salinity for drinking, then there is zero chance of bacteria getting through and into the tank. Relatively, he likened it (bacteria getting through the membrane) to trying to squeeze a football field through a 1mm hole. So the “bad smell” is not coming from the watermaker itself. The bacteria must already be there in the tank.
Now, using water for the shore, bacteria cannot get established because of the 0.1-1ppm chlorine the utility companies put into domestic water. But permeate from a watermaker is totally pure, with no resistance to bacteria growing. Meaning that once bacteria has established itself, there is nothing to kill it. So, same as a green swimming pool, it looks like we will have to “shock” our water system with a 50ppm chlorine dose to kill any bacteria. Then use the water maker again. Trouble is, that means docking to get water which we have no plan to do. Till such time, we will fill bottles of water direct from the watermaker for drinking only, and hope the situation doesn’t deteriorate.
Such a shame, because up to now we have always had perfectly clean water without any issues whatsoever.

In the afternoon, I set to a job that has been marked red on my to-do list for some time: changing the seals on the after-deck locker hatches. With rain they seal OK. But on the odd occasion where we get the deck completely flooded, salt water does manage to enter the lockers. I have the new sealing strip from HR-Parts and I have glue left over from installing velcro on the dinghy chaps. With the hatch off and laid upside down on the aft deck, I set to the task of removing the old seal which is surprisingly well glued in place. But getting the new seal to “stick” is not happening. The glue just won’t adhere to the new rubber. Either this glue has gone-off, or I need a different glue. So as a quick-stop I finish this one hatch, adhering the new seal with double sided tape, until I manage to buy some more appropriate contact adhesive.

In the late afternoon and evening we are inside. Me editing videos and Oana reading. All very relaxed.

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1 comment

Warren Dahlstrom January 7, 2022 - 9:58 pm

I have a friend who has decamped from Manhattan to winter in his house in Key West. He loves the fishing; Stream & Flats. If you need anything locally I will be happy to connect you.

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