Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Nancy Drew and the Case of the Missing Stern Shower

Around 2:00 AM the other morning I heard a noise in our cockpit, which reminds me of this post that I wrote just a short while ago.  The noise sounded a bit like a screwdriver falling to the floor.
And since the wind was blowing pretty steadily and we currently have all kinds of crap lying around the cockpit due to our on going gel-coat repair job,  I wasn't too concerned and tried to fall back to sleep. I then heard the sound of rushing water which in itself isn't too unusual what with a lot of liveaboards here having water based heat pumps, so I again tried to fall back to sleep. 

The running water, now accompanied by an irritating humming noise continued.  I was in that half-awake-half-asleep stage and wondering why the water seemed to be swirling between our twin hulls when Wilbur decided he needed to visit his potty patch.  It was now around 2:40 AM.  Hans got up to let him out, and once our cockpit door was open, the humming noise grew much louder and it was strange enough to drag me out of bed which believe me is not an easy thing to do. We were just about convinced that an electrical problem on shore was the problem when Hans asked me if we had anything turned on.  I wasn't wearing my glasses (meaning I was pretty much blind) but I did see that that our water pressure light was on (I know my boat!) and after switching it off the noise stopped.

Oh, crap!

I won't go through the whole convoluted, " Turn it on, turn it off,  I SAID, TURN IT OFF!" stuff we went through when Hans suddenly announced, "Oh my God, our stern shower is gone!" And just like that, it was.  And what a strange sight it was to see that where our stern shower hose and nozzle sit, there was now a gaping hole where a geyser of water was erupting and running over the side (I told you I heard water rushing between our hulls).  And the only reason water was erupting now was because once we finally realized the irritating humming noise we'd heard had been our water pump desperately trying to re-pressurize itself as one of our tanks had run dry, we'd switched over to our other tank. The water pump, screaming its displeasure at having to work so hard at such an early hour, finally got down to business, and started pumping like mad.

But what the hell had happened to our stern shower hose?  Where was it? Our suspicious little minds took off (after all, shortly after we arrived here last year someone stole my potted plants and threw my Halloween pumpkins in the water). Had someone boarded our boat and literally ripped it from our stern?  We were at a total loss, because still sitting in our cockpit were an air compressor and a lot of tools and supplies. Wouldn't a vandal have targeted those things first?  It was now at least 3:00 AM, we were cold, Hans had to be to work in the morning (meaning a shower at the bath house), and I would now apparently have to spend my day trying to either fix it or at least plug it so we could turn on the pressure.

Come morning, I hustled out of bed determined to check out a hunch (ala Nancy Drew) before taking Hans to work. And I found it.  Peering into the gaping hole that had once held our stern shower hose I spotted something. After poking about with first needle nose pliers and then finally my tweezers, I jubilantly yanked out the remains of our stern shower hose sans nozzle. 

Aha!!!  Mystery solved.  There had been no subterfuge.  No sabotage. No, what we'd had was merely a simple system failure most likely due to the lack of a little hose clamp. 
A couple of years ago we had to replace our stern hose nozzle and unfortunately we had to settle for a 1/2 inch inside diameter fitting instead of a 3/8 inch fitting. This meant stretching our hose in order to push the fitting in and I have no idea why we didn't secure it with a clamp. We had created a volcano just dying to erupt.
And two years later it did.  At 2 AM. And the result of the nozzle shooting through the air and hitting the deck before going overboard is the sound that woke me.

I actually took this picture (due to our gel-coat work) the day before our stern shower went missing.  If you look just to the right of the middle of the picture you can see the yellow water nozzle sticking up from its hold.  

And here's its replacement.  It's a bit droopy but it should do the trick.  I just need to come up with a cover for it since it isn't UV rated. 
It took most of my day to get it done but I did indeed fix the problem.  But not without help from one of our neighbors. This neighbor is a really nice man whom I'm sure wonders why he got stuck living next to a woman who spends her day talking to her dog.  After explaining to him that I couldn't find the proper fitting at Home Depot and then not understanding exactly what he told me he would do, he took pity on me and volunteered to go back to Home Depot with me. And what should have been a relatively boring trip to the store turned out to be an entertaining ride when another marina friend asked us if we could give him a lift up the road. Even though it was early in the day, Friend was feeling good and in fine spirits and we talked him into going to Home Depot with us. After getting our supplies, Friend was anxious to be dropped off, and his panicked reaction when we jokingly told him we were now going on a shopping spree was priceless. So we dropped him off, got back to the marina and shortly thereafter had a working stern shower.

And here's our hero, the ever vigilant Wilbur with his radar ears at the ready for the next Bump in the Night Noise.  If he hadn't politely asked to use his potty patch our water pump would have been ruined.

Lassie has nothing on this dog, and while she runs around fishing that stupid Timmy out of wells and dragging him off of railroad tracks, Wilbur valiantly serves and protects his Knotty Cat.  This particular Nancy Drew loves having a dog with a nose for trouble.


  1. I was always a big Nancy Drew fan, so I espcially love your 'hunch'! And of course the Wilbur ending.

    1. Christmas wasn't complete if my sister and I didn't get the latest Nancy Drew book. Now if I could convince Hans to buy me a coupe convertible, life would be good!