Sunday, April 22, 2012

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

For a solid week now we've suspected that we had water in the fuel tanks.  You might remember that things got a bit exuberant on our last sail and we buried the rail deep enough to get salt water through the vents and into the water tanks.  The fuel tanks vent to the same place on the boat as the water tanks, so we suspected that we had water in the fuel as well.  And Margot on Silver Lining, our sister ship, confirmed that they've had a bit of drama with water in their own fuel tanks.

Now, the first rule of running a diesel engine is that you've got to keep the fuel clean.  Water in the fuel is a really bad idea.

The old me - say, the Mike from our first trip across the Pacific - would have been completely freaked out at the prospect of water in the fuel tanks.

But, I've gotta admit, I haven't really thought about it at all, except to realize that I have to deal with it before we go sailing again this week.  So another boat problem might have come along - whatever!  Tell me something new!  I'll fix it, and doing so will be either a pain or a total pain, and then we'll move on with life.

My imperturbable attitude is doubtless informed by the fact that we are safely tied to the dock, with expert help a phone call away, if it's needed.  If we were anchored up in some remote atoll, with a highly tidal pass between us and the solace of the open ocean, I'd be a lot less cool.

But more than anything, I reckon it's just that familiarity breeds contempt.  Problems with the boat are a constant for anyone who sails long distances, and now, nearly five years into our sailing life, they aren't nearly the news that they were a while back.

And, a postscript - I finally opened two of the tanks today - that rectangle in the sole next to Elias is the tank with the inspection plate removed - you can even see the diesel reflecting light back at the camera. Poor Elias had been told about twenty times that he has to HOLD REALLY STILL, so as not to knock anything into the fuel.  But, good news - I can't see anything in either the port or starboard tanks except for clean fuel.  Neatly, the fuel in the port tank was bought somewhere where they dye the fuel red, and that in the starboard tank is green.  Opened up one inspection port on the keel tank but couldn't get a good look, so I'll have to open up the other inspection plate tomorrow before we know we're in the clear.

[I love how Elias' innocence is so intact at five and a half.  He was completely happy for the longest time just driving my sockets around the saloon on his brother's red truck.]

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