Tuesday, September 06, 2011

"Boats have water outside. If the water is inside, it's a saucepan!"

We had something of a baptism into canal life late last night when I noticed that the water pump had been running for a while, and shouldn't have been.  The water tank had a lot less in it than it should have done - we'd filled it earlier - so the next suspect was the calorifier under the bed.  A hasty dismantling of the bed revealed a pipe which had disjointed itself from a neighbour, resulting in a wet floor, and water in the saloon bilge. There is no plug to pull, valve to open or pump to switch on in such a situation, so, having switched off the water pump as soon as we had realised there was a problem, all we could do was to put the bed back and get into it.

The night was incredibly windy - are we now suffering the tail-end of Irene? - so what with that and anxious thoughts of the hull full of water beneath us, we both slept badly.   A boat without water is a challenge - no washing, no loo, no heating, no washing-up - so we were both glad to avail ourselves of the marina's facilities early this morning.  A quick look on the Internet at the stock of various nearby chandleries prompted us to drive off to Midland Chandlers in nearby Braunston to buy a hand pump and a couple of metres of plastic hose.  Returning to Kantara we spent ages pumping 40 gallons of water from under the floor.  It was a blessing that the water had not risen above floor level, so there was no damage to anything except the woodwork around the offending pipe under our bed, which was wet, and needed a lot of attention from Grace with her hairdryer.

Finding that the joint was still leaking, despite my attempts to tighten it, we called for a local plumber - recommended by ABNB through whom we bought the boat - and set about emptying the water system altogether.  Colin, the plumber, will be with us early tomorrow morning.  We are thankful that the flooding was not worse, and that we have learned some lessons from this about the workings of the boat.

The title of this post is a quote from a contributor to a thread on the Canal World Discussion Forums on the web.  We were gratified to read there that such bilge flooding as we had is a common experience.  Let's hope it's our last, though!


  1. 'You are not a number, you are a free man!(and woman)'
    Great to see you settled at last, although not necessarily the start you wanted. Christine and I are definitely waiting for you to get down to the South West, if the canal system comes this far.

  2. Mike, the closest we can get to you is Bristol, I think, but we'll be in touch, and the two of you will be more than welcome to spend some time with us anywhere on the system.