Thursday, January 15, 2009

Day 15

A tough day for me and Liv. After a morning shift that was pretty good, other than being wet, I went inside for lunch/rest and to make some water, which I need to do about every two days. Well, 5 minutes in...BANG! Loud noise from the starboard side of the boat.

I open up the water-maker compartment and find that everything's wet. A bad sign. One of the high-pressure (~80 psi) hoses that goes from the pump to the membrane that actually filters out the salt had been ripped from its fitting on the pump end. Not good, as broken watemakers have forced the premature end of several past expeditions, and this is a risk I had hoped to minimize by going with a more expensive but reliable unit, a Spectra Ventura 150.

A handful of calls (orchestrated by my Dad -- thanks!) to the company in Massachusetts that did the install and still no solution. The part in question is a compression sleeve/nut assembly that fits over the hose and connects it securely to the pump. Well, once its been compressed it doesn't want to be loosened or compressed again, which makes for a tough fix after a blowout.

More phone calls to Simon Chalk at Woodvale to see about my options -- his response is, "we'll get something figured out, no worries." No worries...I'll work on that! I do have a solid backup that could potentially get me across the ocean (a PUR Survivor 35), but I don't have as much faith in it as I had in the Spectra. With that said, it's fantastic to have someone like Simon who's willing to help in situations like this without asking for anything in return.

So, I can't do much now in the dark, but will be back at it again tomorrow, so it probably won't be much of a rowing day while I work to fix the big water-maker or set up the backup for long-term use.

In the meantime, fingers crossed! Thanks again for all of the support and encouragement in your comments! Great to know that all of you are rooting for me out here.

Mrs. Scalzo - well, 100 divided by 7 is 14, with two days left over (right?). So if today's Tuesday, 100 days from now it will be Tuesday plus, Thursday! Did I get it? Whew...that took a lot outta me...

Alexander -- Great to hear that your class is interested in my trip! Thanks! There are probably sharks near me but I havent seen them because they're probably hiding underwater. If they come out to play I'll tell them you say "hi" and let you know.



Melissa M said...

You are getting extra prayers today. Liv is getting some of her own prayers today too.

Ben Franklin's BFF said...

Thinking about you and doing the make it rain dance so you can collect some fresh water in your rowing yettis.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Sorry to hear about the water issue - but sounds like you have "people," I'm sure they'll figure something out. Maybe a water filter helicopter drop??

In the meantime, I will entertain you with a dream I had night before last. Lots of odd dreams lately - must be our cold weather (or something).

So, out of curiosity, sympathy or what I don't know, but turns out I decided I needed to experience what it must be like to row across the Atlantic ocean. Being that I'm not in great shape, about 25 years your senior, and have absolutely no rowing experience whatsoever, somehow, someone or something dropped me partway across the ocean so at least I wouldn't have to row the whole thing.

Well, I was merely a few hours into the experience when I realized I'd bitten off a bit more than I cared to chew, and just then, lo and behold, a tropical island!!! Just like the lost continent of Atlantis, but above water, here was an inhabited island group that no one had ever heard of. (It may be populated with lots of hedge funds managers, I don't know - I didn't ask....).

I quickly rowed to shore and disembarked, and found a wonderful restaurant serving an interesting cross of Caribbean and Mexican. I inquired in the restaurant as to my whereabouts - turns out I'd happened upon the "Bohemia Islands"! Not the Bahamas... the Bohemias. So I guess that makes all the people there Bohemians...

I enjoyed my meal, and decided to pay a visit to the ladies room before I went exploring. This experience was a little unpleasant as I was presented with bill for having done so equivalent to about $2.00 USD, and every time I argued, they doubled it!

I finally gave up and ended up paying them $16.00 for my restroom visit, so if you should happen upon the Bohemias in your travels, I'd suggest continuing with the "bucket and chuck-it" routine.

I went outside and started to hike on a trail filled with tropical greenery and lots of these beautiful little red and white flowers. I even found a little cabin that was for rent and I was about to inquire (guess I'd decided not to return to GA!), when suddenly I heard the ship's horn blast - from my cruise ship that was waiting at the dock to pick me up! Torn.... I eventually decided to hop on board the ship and go back home.... and here I am!

Yes, Paul, I really dreamed that! I don't think I could possibly make that up.

So do let me know if you find the lost islands of Bohemia along the way - I think they were about halfway to Antiguq.... unfortunately I neglected to get the longitude and latitude measurements.

Be safe out there!!!

Susan T. @ GA

Anonymous said...

Now u have our attention.... We expect an hourly update

Play it safe n put that education to good use...figure it out n drink to rejoice.

Great hook for the rest of the story though


Seshat said...

This too shall pass....
betting on the cure....

Anonymous said...

very interesting that you have a water maker, i pictured you having sun stills like in the life of pi.... best of luck to you. i read your blog every night. it is a dream of mine to cross the atlantic, im sure i will never do it though.


Anonymous said...

Thats terrible news. I hope you packed some watermellon. Those are full of water....well most of the time.

On another note...I saw mention of a book in one of the posts. Wasn't one of your friends working on a novel? What's the name of it? From what I remember it was a chapter from being complete when I met you years ago, however I have been unable to find it on the shleves of barnes and nobles? Can you please update in your next post?

Good luck,

- Hawley Street Girls

Anonymous said...

Lucky you, as alone as you may feel, adrift with a bird, and the screwed up de-salination appliance.
You are hardly alone.

Already you're so successful and admirable. A true&brave explorer!
Nobody wants you to spend your nights pumping your back-up filtration device after 10 hours of rowing everyday...that makes me queasy.
It's better to live to do it again.
That's what sailors do, and they have larger crafts, with heads, cabins, and a galley.
Everyone, landlubber, rower, sailor, student, teacher, and all your friends respect you for your extraordinary effort.
The technology has gliched.
And,you are better than the technology.
Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing you, and Liv when she's back in CT.

Best of all luck to ya.

James Christe

Anonymous said...

Dear Paul "McGiver" Ridley,

It sounds like your first test of your mechanical aptitudes. Did you remember the duct tape and WD40? They can cure anything!

Good luck in the repair! We're with you no matter the outcome!

Pirate Joke #2- Did you hear about the new pirate movie? It was rated AAARRRRRGGH.


Dan said...

Oh man! Tough break but it truly sounds like you have things under control, and some really good people on land helping you through this issue.

For inspiration, just remember all the trouble we had making that website for Toshi's class. In the end we came through as a team and got an A++++++. AHHAHOHOHOHOHO!

And if all else fails, let me know. I can bring you 4 monkey cups full of water every evening. It'll be like a tsunami of tap water on your boat!

Malrene McElligott said...

Wow Paul. That so frustrating about the water maker, but on the flip side, it could really add excitement to the "made for tv movie" that is sure to follow your successful trip! I will be thinking of you and praying for a quick repair. Love, Marlene