Surprises come in many forms
It is now one month since Wild Horses was hauled out for the winter. In the last four weeks, we have completed all winterizing activities (every drain, pump and seacock are full of pink antifreeze), and we have removed all gear that could freeze or get damaged in sub zero temperatures. Whew – ready for the winter!
We also used the warm fall temperatures to investigate a couple of issues that had been nagging at us through the summer – a broken fuel gauge and also a water sloshing sound under the floorboards in our stern cabins. Both were surprisingly easy fixes but we were happy that we waited until the boat was out of the water to investigate them. This is especially true for the un-nerving water sloshing sound. The problem ended up being condensation trapped between the hull and the inside liner of the boat. Normally, the boat builder has added in appropriately placed drain holes (called “limber holes”) in the boat stringers so that any water that finds its way into the boat via rain, waves or, in our case, air conditioning condensation, can find its way to the bilge and get pumped out of the boat. On Wild Horses, a few of these limber holes were missing so the condensation stayed trapped in the space between the structural stringers and has accumulated each year until it was enough to actual slosh around. The fix was to drill extra limber holes to help the water find its way to the bilge and, although this sounds easy, the space between the hull and the liner is just over an inch. Drill too deep and you create a hole in the hull ☹. You can understand our hesitation to do this while the boat was in the water. One bad drill and our “afloat” status would be in jeopardy! Thankfully Mike was able to expertly drill the needed limber holes and the water was removed, with no damage to our lovely, seaworthy hull.
Now with these projects done, our final tasks for putting the boat to bed have been done. Wild Horses was finally wrapped this past week and will await our arrival in the spring and, fingers crossed, an exciting journey south to the Caribbean.
In the last couple of weeks, I also tripped over an article about a strange stowaway on a boat in Florida (7-foot python stows away on a boat at a Florida marina | Waterway Guide News Update) and it reminded me of a similar (but smaller) surprise for us one morning at anchor this past summer.
Our snake encounter was in our dinghy and the shock of having the reptile in such a small space with the three of us was huge. The discovery occurred about 5 minutes into a 10-minute dinghy ride to shore when the snake slid slowly out of our outboard motor and onto the floor of the dinghy, right beside Mike. Ocean was the first to see our little snake stowaway and her immediate reaction was to just point him out. She has run into lots of little garter snakes on our various trail hikes and has no fear or aggression towards them. She just figured we should know he was there. Thanks Ocean! Our reaction wasn’t quite as subdued but we contained ourselves enough to get close enough to land so we could encourage his exit from our dinghy with the biggest stick I could find. He easily obliged! I am not sure he was any happier with his circumstances than we were 😊. How did he get there? Our best guess is that he had stowed away on one of our shore trips. For those contemplating the sailing life – don’t let this deter you! This never happens! But, as we have learned over the last few years, with pandemics, in life and in sailing, never say “never”. 😊
There is never a dull moment with sailing!
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Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.