Monday, June 2, 2008

Boats and Bugs and Tents, Oh My! (Day 1)

Twice a year, my husband's family journeys to a place in southern Indiana to camp and fish. The last time we met up with them was two years ago, when our boy was not quite one. Last week we journeyed out to see them. We had a fun time, but it certainly wasn't without... how shall I explain this... adventure!

We left Tuesday morning, about 5:30am. (Yup, I was actually up, dressed, and out the door, complete with everything we needed to camp out for the week, by 5:30am! My hubby almost fell over.) The drive took about 5 hours, which isn't too bad unless you have an almost-3-year-old in the car. Then it gets a little hairy. The little guy was pretty good, though, when you consider how long he was strapped into that carseat. He even told us when he needed to poop! We had a setup so that he could watch movies if he got really bad, but we never had to pull it out. Personally, I was impressed. Its not exactly easy for an adult to sit still that long. A little guy like him? Almost impossible.

We got to the campsite before lunch, so we started unpacking. We pitched our tent underneath two trees on a point of land about 10 feet from the water. It was a gorgeous site! We got everything all set up so that when we got back after lunch, the hubby and the boy could lay down for a nap.

Lunch itself was relatively uneventful--we met up with the whole group... the in-laws, hubby's aunt and uncle, hubby's grandma, and a couple who comes down with the aunt and uncle every trip. The boy traveled to the restaurant with Nana and Gramps (the in-laws) on their golf cart. Hubby and I took our boat, as the restaurant is right on the water and has a dock. When I stepped onto the boat, I noticed standing water INSIDE the boat. Concerned, I pointed it out to hubby (not that he really could have missed it!). We weren't sure exactly what had happened, but we were relatively certain it had something to do with the "repair" hubby had done on the bilge pump.

See, back at home hubby had been concerned that the bilge pump wasn't working. After finally locating the pump and figuring out how to remove it (that took quite a while of reaching into a small, dark spot inside the boat before he realized there was a clip holding the pump in place... once he moved that clip, the pump came right out!), he realized two things: 1) the motor was burned out and there was no place open to purcahse a replacement motor at that point before we left for the trip; and 2) the amp for that pump was burned out and required a special amp. Let the Macgyver-style rigging begin!

Our boat has 3 identical pumps for 3 different uses--a bilge pump, to remove water from inside the hull of the boat; an aerator pump, to pull water from outside the boat into the live-well; and a recirc pump, to move the water in the live-well around so the fish in there don't end up belly-up prematurely. The aerator and bilge pumps are pretty close to one another. The aerator pump was working just fine. The bilge pump was not. We can use a bucket to put water into the live-well, but there's no way to remove water from inside the boat without a bilge. So hubby removed the bilge pump and replaced it with the aerator pump. No biggie. Except the aerator pump in its proper spot provides back pressure on the hose it uses to pull water into the live-well. With the aerator pump in the bilge position and nothing in the aerator position, water was free-flowing into the hull. That's a problem...

Hubby plugged what he thought was the proper hole to keep water from coming in, and we started pumping out the water in the boat. When we got some of it out, we decided to go ahead and start for the restaurant, thinking the motion would help clear out the water and the motor would charge the battery to run the bilge. My fingers were almost in the water when I rested my hand on the side of the boat. When we finished lunch and returned to the boat, there was more water. Hubby had plugged the wrong hole! So he and his uncle removed the recirc pump and put it in the aerator spot, which stopped the water from coming in. We then pumped out the water inside the boat. On the way back to our campsite, my hand was a good 7 or 8 inches out of the water, but we were still sitting looooooooow! Hubby's mom thought we weren't going to make it when she saw us plowing water!

So as it turns out now, the bilge button does nothing. To run the bilge, you have to turn on the aerator switch. To run the aerator, you have to turn on the recirc switch. And if you want to run the recirc, you're just out of luck!

Hubby is planning to get a new pump and put everything back in its proper place before we take the boat out again. Thank goodness!

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