Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Gas tank Tuesday

We got an email from the marina and took a trip down this afternoon to discuss what they are going to do about our fuel tank. It was a nice calm day, a shame we were not on the water.

(that photo look a little strange to you? Does it look right side up in New Zealand?)

Looks like they are gonna be removing the console and cutting a large, fuel-tank shaped hole in the deck. Ouch. I took a look at the mess of wires, hydraulic steering lines, throttle cable, engine sensors, bilge, livewell, and washdown pump controls, tilt, jackplate, and tab controls...and I had a sick feeling in my stomach. What are the chances of everything working right the first time after they hook it back up.... Pretty slim, I'd say.

Some people wrote me about the dock being too short for our boat at our new slip at Sherlock's. I thought I would show you what we are coming from.

So you see, we are accustomed to short docks. One of the reasons we installed two more cleats on the boat.

Thinking about fuel problems reminded me of Preacher. When he heard about our split tank, he had to tell me one of HIS fuel problem stories. Preacher has got a lot of good sea stories, not just a few of them having to do with being out of fuel. Seems the interesting bits usually seem to come right after that little basic part. But sometimes it takes a whole different story just to figure out how he even got to the point where he was in a boat out of fuel out in the ocean..which is where HE would usually rather start the story. We've been hearing more and more stories as we get to know him. When he told me this one, I never figured I would ever be writing it down. So I didn't ask enough questions. I will do better next time. But this is the way I remember it more or less:

In this case, it seems "this guy " that we supposedly know had "borrowed" a boat (and this is one of those details he likes to skip lightly over) to run over to South Caicos and back. He seems to not have known much about the condition of the boat. He filled up the tank "downunda deflo'"in Provo thinking he had enough for a round trip to South Caicos and back to Leeward. He ran out of fuel just short of South Caicos. Finally, he managed to somehow find someone who had enough spare gas to somehow get some into the inboard tank on "this guy's" borrowed boat. I don't know how he got this person's attention, or how long it took floating around out on the Banks with no fuel. I got the impression he spent the night on the boat.

Then the story jumps ahead to where he has five gallons of gas on board with him, and poured it into the tank, and primed the outboard and motored into South Caicos. He conducted his business in South Caicos and topped up the boat and his new five gallon can to head back to Leeward. He already knew that's how much gas it took to get him to South, right? A full tank and five gallons. That's what got him over.

Well, I guess about halfway across he noticed the boat was sluggish and the fuel gauge was way down, more than he expected. Using more fuel and going slower. So he finally he got around to checking the bilge. Yep, at this point he had leaked something like a full tank of fuel into the bilge, half going over, and half on the way back. Plus five gallons. Thats like 40 gallons of pure gasoline sloshing around. He didn't have an electric bilge pump (probably his guardian angel to thank for that) so he bailed all that gasoline over the side. So I got this mental picture of this rickety boat with a hole in the fuel tank, a bilge full of fumes, floating around in a huge slick of gasoline and two stroke oil. Next time I see Preacher I am going to try to remember to ask him how long "this guy" waited before he got the nerve to turn the ignition key on and crank that electric starter.

The rest of our day was pretty uneventful. I did manage to pull up a small Casurinas tree that was threatening the patio at our borrowed accomodations:

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The plants down here bear watching. If they are not invading your plumbing, they might be bench pressing your patio.


obaldnz said...

The picture still looks upside down in Auckland

Anonymous said...

Oh well, so much for that theory...
Actually I thought it made the photo more interesting to invert it. Maybe I should have been quiet about it and see if anyone noticed.

Don said...

I thought my eye sieght was failing me..... till I read the small print!

Unknown said...

Landscaping TCI style, I like it!