And the saltie season begins…

We left home (Michigan) in darkness on Tuesday morning, and arrived at our boat, stored on the hard at Indiantown Marina, with enough daylight left to get the car unloaded on Wednesday evening. Thursday was a long day with me making a shopping trip into a nearby town with all the big box stores and Ron working to get the boat ready for launch. The marina launched us by 9:30 Friday morning and we proceeded to get the boat ready to live aboard for the next 3 months.

However, pretty much as soon as we were tied to the dock and the engine was off (which started like a champ, unlike other boats launched the same day), we noticed that our bilge seemed to be filling pretty steadily with clean water. Our initial thought, after checking seacocks and hoses, was that we were seeing water seeping from the overfilled starboard water tank. However, by last evening, with the bilge pump still going off every 3 minutes, it could only be the case if the water tank itself were leaking. And this morning, with the bilge totally dry forward of the settees, we knew we were dealing with something more insidious.

This morning, with the help of the yard guy here at Indiantown Marina, we think we have isolated the problem to a leak in the bottom of the keel. We believe that the Gulfstar 36 has a “fake” keel, i.e. a keel that has a fiberglass casing that surrounds it. We won’t know for sure until we haul the boat, but we believe that there must be a crack or hole in the bottom of the keel casing that is filling with water and then coming through a couple of cracks in our bilge.

One thing we’ve learned about cruising down here: you don’t ever make specific plans to be anywhere at a specific time because something (weather, needed repairs, etc) is going to often get in the way. We had planned to stay here until tomorrow morning, New Year’s Day, and then head over to Stuart. Our plans now are to haul here first thing on Monday morning, and hopefully make a quick repair. (We should know as soon as we lift the boat where the hole/crack is as the water should be leaking out as Thyme Hyssop & Wry is lifted up in the air.) If all goes well, we will proceed to Stuart on Tuesday. The good news is that we are here in the marina with a working bilge pump, power, and help at hand should it suddenly get worse. Stay tuned…


In the meantime, a happy new year to all!


3 thoughts on “And the saltie season begins…

  1. Hi Guys,
    Sharon and I wish you both a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you again at Duncan Bay. Hope this momentary glitch in your sailing plans is very brief and that it gives you time to enjoy the warm weather. Mother Nature in Michigan has suddenly turned down the thermostat.

    Regards, Erich “Enchantress”


  2. I am enjoying your blog and the new Florida adventure.

    Just as a suggestion, perhaps if you put some dye into the bilge, just as you take the boat out of the water, the dye will identify the source of the leak.

    Some food coloring or even some holding tank blue chemical will do the job. Some bleach will return the bilge to a nice white when the leak is repaired.

    Good Luck

    Bill Matley
    Spirit of Aloha


    • Thanks for the suggestion, Bill. We think it will be pretty obvious once the keel clears the water as we should see the water draining out. But if there’s any question, a bit of holding tank chemical in the bilge is a great idea. It wouldn’t take much!


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