Tuesday, April 10, 2012

What's That Smell?

We've had an odor problem on Drift Away for the past couple of weeks.   I don't smell good.  Luckily, Pamela has a keen sense and she detected it long before I did, but a week or so ago even I could smell it.  What in the heck is that?  We stopped using the trash compactor and switched to a small waste basket that we'd empty daily.   I cleaned the inside of the trash compactor.  It got worse.  Pamela had finally had enough and decided to find the source once and for all.  She started sniffing all about the boat.

"It really stinks down here in the forward bilge.  I think the holding tank is leaking into it." she declared.  "Is that possible?"

Well, I suppose it could since the holding tank is just forward of the forward bilge.   It would have had to crack or something to leak, though.

"It could, but I doubt it.  The holding tank is almost full and a crack would fill the bilge.", I replied.

Pam borrowed Gene's hose and ran it to the forward bilge.   She dumped in some Pine Sol and swooshed it around with the hose.   While she was doing that, she lifted the lid on the middle bilge.   EEEWWWWWW!!


"This is it!  This stinks!"

Pamela then doused the middle bilge with the Pine Sol and ran the hose into it.   The bilge pump didn't go on.   I had installed a Rule 1100 with a convenient built in float switch when we first moved aboard.  It failed within a few months.   Stupidly I bought another.  The float switch on that one failed as well, about three months ago.   As it turned out, a google search showed that Rule had huge problems with those float switches.   I solved the built in switch problem by hooking up a separate switch, but now the pump itself failed.  What we were smelling was stagnant old bilge water.   It was a primordal soup growing new life.

While I removed the old pump, Pam searched through our receipt folder and found the receipt for it.  We got the marina loaner car and hied ourselves to West Marine.  The sales associate says that Rule fixed the problem.  OK.   So I took another Rule 1100,  under warranty, with the built in float switch as well as one without.   I'll explain why.

Drift Away has three bilges.   The lowest one is in the middle stateroom. 

For my landlubber friends, let me explain that all boats leak and sea water enters your boat, usually through the stuffing boxes for the propeller shafts.  I know Drift Away leaks here, and maybe through a couple of dozen other places as well. 

When that pump failed, the water level went up and filled the forward bilge where the forward pump would pump it out.  But that meant that the bilge water in the middle stateroom never got pumped out.  There were strange new life forms growing down there.

After West Marine, we stopped at Lowes and bought tiles and paneling to fix the master stateroom head.  That may be tomorrow's project.

But back to the bilge pump, it was a relatively easy job to install the new one.

I had considered buying a 2200 GPH pump.  As I looked at it, the West Marine associate said "If you're taking on so much water that you need a 2200, you should be thinking of abandoning ship."  LOL!

We had also stopped at the Pet Smart next to Lowes and bought dog food.   While there, I saw this cute little pink Piggy squeaky toy.   Ruby loves squeaky toys so I bought it.  It lasted maybe 30 seconds.

I felt bad for the poor pig.   Ruby ripped off it's ears, feet, and its squeaker.

Look at how its looking at me with those sad eyes.  I'm sorry piggy.   I should have known better.


  1. I thoughtIi smelled bacon coming from Drift Away this morning. LOL!

  2. If you buy to big of a pump it may cycle off and on rather quickly depending on how well the water flows to the pump.

    Bill Kelleher