That’s the sound the macerator pump makes as it relieves our holding tank of its contents. Last night it continued on for much longer than usual. So we flipped off the switch and then noticed in horror as the TankWatch reported the holding tank was still at capacity. Oh, shit. Not again. It’ll have to wait until the morning.
We JUST swapped out the macerator pump in Charleston. That was a dirty job, but we were able to get pumped out at the dock before we began. Little spillage occurred. It wasn’t TOO bad. This time we’re in Bermuda, at anchorage, and that service doesn’t exist. The pump was running just fine, but nothing was exiting the tank.
We started opening and closing all kinds of valves. Seacocks opened and closed, Y-Valves cranked back and forth, air vents opened and closed. Easy stuff didn’t work. Let’s get out the dinghy foot pump and try to pump some air through the vent to try to get something to move. No dice. We’ve had trouble with low voltage so we tried running power direct from the batteries. The pump whirred with excitement, but nothing was happening.
Let’s take out the pump just to make sure it’s working. So off came the macerator-out hose, and off came the macerator-in hose. Splash. Ewwwwww. Shit. PAPER TOWELS!
We filled up a bucket with sea water, put the pump intake in the bottom, and alligator clipped the power leads to the battery. Vrrrrr!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! SPLOOSH! STOOOOOOP!!!!!! Ok, so the pump works. There must be a blockage in one of the hoses.
So off they come! Splash. Ewwwww!!!!!!!! Shit. PAPER TOWELS!!!! We got the hose from the holding tank to the pump off. Looks good. The hose from the macerator to the through hull was last. Hose clamp number 12 came undone. PUUULLLLL. WIGGLE. SQUEEZE! POP. The hose comes off, and nothing comes flooding out. NICE! Huh, what’s that? WOOHOOO!!!! There’s the clog! No idea what it is. Some kind of crusty, sandy, perhaps metallic type substance. Is this a sign that I should change my diet? Yikes.
After everything was cleaned out and put back together, the switch was flipped. Vrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Off goes the red light on the TankWatch, it’s WORKING! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzZZZZZ!!!!!! And now we’re empty.
Like we’ve said before, cruising isn’t always sandy beaches and rum swizzles. Sometimes it’s downright shitty. This was one of those times where we just had to hold our noses and figure it out. Picking up the phone and calling a plumber wasn’t an option. So we sagged our own pants, snapped on some latex gloves, and got to work. Pizza and beer time.