Week One on the Boat – a slight curve ball

We just completed one week on the boat. We are still in Washburn Marina in Wisconsin, as expected.

Full moon rising over Washburn Marina

I was reading Loopers Sam & Rev’s newsletter the other morning. Like us, they just got back to their boat, Here’s to Us, a short while ago. Their words were “There have been some ups and downs. Sometimes it seems the downs outnumber the ups”. We can relate.

To be fair, on a boat you expect things to break, at least that is what I’m told. In fact, when something works it is kind of a pleasant surprise.

So here is a partial “I’m grateful” list of the things that worked (count your blessings, you know).

  • Toilets work – they flush and there is no water leaking – Yay!
  • Lights all work
  • Stove and microwave work
  • Refrigerator works
  • ICE MAKER WORKS – very important!
  • Engines start and run
  • Electronics all power up, even the ones we installed in March

Our main unexpected “down” occured on day one, when we found out our fresh water pump didn’t work. Of course we found this out after having filled the tank full, ~75 gallons. We had an old pump in our spare parts, so Lance put that on as a replacement. Fortunately, Lance had installed a shut-off valve between the tank and the pump in March, so we did not have to let all 75 gallons drain into the bilge in order to change out the pump.

That pump also didn’t work, and Lance noticed some white crystaline gunk clogging the line upstream of the pump. So, the puzzle was how to remove the water if the output line was clogged?

Did I mention that this “no water pump” issue ended up lasting until day five?

Our boat has a hook-up to the city/dock water system. We found out last year that it is hooked into the regular fresh water pump system, so you cannot have the pump removed and run water through the hook-up unless you want all the water to pour into the bilge. So Lance got out his pex tools and put another shut-off line on the other side of the pump. Now, we could hook into the city water and have water in the sinks and we could FLUSH.

But we still had to get the water out and figure out about the gunk. The only topside access to the water tank was through the water-level gauge mount. Lance removed that and we pumped the water out.

We had purchased a battery operated pressure washer to wash down the anchor if it is muddy. The pressure washer has a 15 ft intake hose so you can drop it in the lake and use the lake water to wash your anchor. We dropped the hose into the tank and squirted the output down the ensuite bathroom sink. It took a couple of days as we had to stop and let the battery recharge every ~10 gallons.

Once the tank was mostly empty, out came the wet/dry vac to suck up the last of the water.

Dr. Google had suggested really dire reasons why there would be white crystals coming out of our aluminum water tank. Fortunately, we were able to take a look inside and it looked good. There was some debris down by the outlet, but overall the walls looked good and were not encrusted or slimed with oxidation as suggested by google.

After testing that there was no more white stuff coming from the tank (thank you kitchen strainer), Lance installed a newly purchased pump and we were back in business!

Feeling very happy to see the water run when testing the pump

All of this work was done in a cramped space under the master berth. It was not a fun position to be in.

Enough with the “downs”. We have had a fun time here at Washburn Marina despite the water pump headache.

The young couple across the dock from us is prepping for an extended cruise with their two pre-teen kids and two yellow labs. The kids are with the Grandparents as parents work feverishly to get ready. It has been fun to get to know them and hope to run into them later this summer in Canada.

There are a number of people on their boats on our dock and we enjoy chatting with all of them.

We went to church at Grace Bible Fellowship on Sunday and will attend there as long as we are in town. We had a conversation with a man there and ended up giving him our boat card. He was intrigued by the concept of the Great Loop and even called later that afternoon to ask Lance some more about it. He may call occasionally to see where we are and how the loop is progressing.

Grace Bible Fellowship

We’ve taken some drives around the area, admiring the white barked yellow birch trees and views of Lake Superior.

We have been keeping close eyes on the weather apps on our phone to try to understand the weather trends here on Lake Superior.

Purple is good. Fuschia would be even better.

We saw that Thursday looked like a non-windy morning, so we took the boat out for a three hour cruise. The app was correct and the wind came up just after we returned, as predicted.

Lance pointing to “BUD”, our auto pilot

The red/brown cliffs around here are absolutely gorgeous! This is the rock that “brownstone” houses were built with, back in the day. The Apostle Islands have outcroppings and caves of this rock that people kayak around.

We have an app called Nebo. We installed a link tracker gps device in March and got it hooked up with the app. There is a link to view where Blessings Flow is at any given minute.

Our first Nebo log report! We’ll get one each day the boat moves

What’s our timing? We are basically waiting on two things: our generator to be fixed and a good weather window. The Marina has a work order open for the generator, but no firm data about where the work order is in the queue. They looked at the generator over the winter but needed the boat to be in the water to try to start it. So we’ll see!


4 Replies to “Week One on the Boat – a slight curve ball”

  1. Hi Brenda and Lance
    I am fascinated by your adventure! But I’m compelled to raise a caution… Beware those 3 hour trips. I believe is was a “3 hour tour” that put the Minnow on Gilligan’s Island! 😀 Clear Skies and Fair Weather!!

  2. Hi Brenda,
    I was going thru my emails and found an email from you with a link to the blog. Its so nice to read about your boat and escapades. Many blessings to you and your hubby. You are missed and you look lovely.

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