Toilet got blocked. This happens on boats. Except not for awhile to us. And we struggled with our weird solenoid toilet for years – until we got rid of the solenoid. That was when we first came back to Quest. Since then, we’ve had over a year of quiet toilet behaviour. Quite a long time for a boat toilet.
The blockage turned out to be the pipe. We haven’t changed it since Las Palmas. That five-year stretch is a long life for a sea toilet pipe. Sea water in pipes means calcification and calcification is not good for flow. We put absolutely no paper down our pipes. We also pour vinegar down regularly to stop this kind of build-up, but total prevention is asking for a lot. Sea toilets gotta give at some point.
It was time to change the pipe – which luckily turned out to be a relatively easy job. Jack even had a section of spare pipe for the very job. And it did make me raise my eyes upward for thanks. Another job you don’t want to tackle while sailing. We are lucky the problem came now, and not in the coming weeks.
Problems are like this, no? You have to remind yourself that as a problem they could always have come at a worse time. For problems aren’t just problems themselves it seems – they depend on the timing of the thing as well.
Yesterday, Sint Maarten announced they would close their borders to people coming from the ABC islands starting this Monday. Urgh. We had hoped to sail the 300ish nautical miles there in the next few weeks – to prepare for the sail home. They have a tonne of boat-based infrastructure. Perhaps borders will open back up again in this time, but I doubt it. This is because Covid is nowhere near to declining here.
The Sint Maarten closure means we have to re-jig our own plans. Nearby Curaçao also has severe restrictions. With this in mind, we have decided to try and fix our propeller shaft seal here with Quest in the water. It can be done, and actually has been done before. Jack and Steve Jupp did it in Gosport, when we first had Quest.
The system is designed this way – for emergency. We have an existing unused o-ring which sits as a spare on our prop shaft, ready to make the seal if necessary. This means cutting the old one, which currently leaks, free.
It means a bit of water flowing into Quest’s bilges. It means a few tense moments replacing one seal with another – and hoping it works. We don’t have lift-out facilities in Bonaire you see – not unless we want to bang against the bottom anyway.
Still, we try to remember that problems are problems sometimes only with the timing part thrown in.
Otherwise they may not be problems at all. Life is strange that way. Anyways, Happy Easter 🐣 everyone.