Today, we nearly caught our beloved boat on fire.
Yep, read that again … and imagine the terror coursing through our veins at seeing billowing smoke and diving to grab the fire extinguisher.
Let me back up just a bit.
We arrived in Olympia last Wednesday evening for a week at Swantown Marina. I had a work meeting on Thursday in Oly and Brenden had to make another trip to Portland for work Monday and Tuesday this week. The kids got picked up on Friday for a weekend in Vancouver with grandparents, and Brenden and I have been using the marina time to clean, organize, and purge things off the boat.
We also contacted a friend, Meredith, who is a marine diesel mechanic, engineer, and electrician in Olympia and asked her to come to take a look at our alternator which has been acting up again.
She came over on Friday evening and diagnosed the alternator as dead. Sigh.
While checking on that, she delivered the news that it seems our engine is getting pretty tired and likely will not last much longer. Big sigh.
The last thing we need right now is to need to consider $20,000 – $25,000 to put a new engine into Mosaic.
But, putting that aside, we decided to focus on one thing at a time. Brenden took off the alternator this morning to bring with us to Portland to see if we could get it rebuilt while here.
In trying to reconnect the electrical system so that we could have power on the boat even without the alternator hooked up, the wrong wires got crossed and when Brenden turned the power back on it shorted out the batteries, superheated the wiring, melted the battery switch, and who knows what else…
Smoke pouring from the engine compartment and under the navigation station prompted grabbing the fire extinguisher to douse any flames. Thankfully, we realized the problem and got the power turned back off very quickly, before anything actually caught fire.
But now we’re stranded in Olympia until we can trace all the wiring, check the entire system, and replace everything that got ruined. Plus, we still have to get the alternator back to functional.
So much for the super-frugal August that I had planned.
Meredith is going to help us get everything sorted out but is busy with other projects until the 5th so we’ll be in the marina until likely the 7th or 9th, best case scenario, living on a boat with no functioning DC power (no fridge, no water pump, no flushing toilet, no stove, no lights, etc. etc.) …
They say that living on a boat exposes you to higher highs and lower lows. I feel like we’re in a pretty low place right now. We could really use some encouraging words … and, if you don’t have something nice to say right now, please just keep it to yourself. We know we screwed up here but I wanted to put this out there so that we don’t have to keep telling the story over and over.
It’s a hard lesson, this one. And it hurts. We’ll get through it and everything will be fine …. just feeling a bit defeated today.
Much love everybody. Stay safe. ~Rachel