Back from the wilds of Genoa Bay

We dropped the anchor and hung around Genoa bay for a week – a week of rowing 15 minutes out and three minutes back. A week of baking artisan bread and eating leftover mac and cheese. A week of drinking coffee and knitting a lace cowl pattern of surpassing intricacy and cobwebby horribleness (this was me, not John Darling) until my eyes were crossed and my tongue thick with snarling. When I finished the fool thing, my toes curled with sheer happiness. I varnished and sanded and varnished some more, and I whipped line ends until I’d tidied every line on the boat, and I admired from afar and up close the sewing job I did on the Velcro fastener of the mizzen sailcover. I walked and rowed and ate chocolate.
Then we looked at the fuel gauge.
“Honey,” I said, “How much fuel did we have when we started?”
“About half a tank,” John said.
“It’s registering empty,” I said.
“Impossible,” John said. “We can’t have used half a tank in the 15 minutes it took to motor here from Cowichan Bay. That’s 12 gallons. The gauge must be broken.”
So we dug out the headlamp so John could climb into the engine room and actually see what he was doing, only to find that our headlamp didn’t work any more. But I am a woman not without resources. Using a bit of leftover Velcro I had hanging around, I stuck an LED flashlight of the flat variety on the front of the headlamp, then whipped everything in shape with a bit of sockyarn. John Darling thinks I am a genius. He climbed into the engine room and fiddled for a bit.
“I bet it’s not broken at all,” I said. “Let’s try filling the fuel tank.”
“If the gauge is broken, someone will have to lie flat on her back in the companionway and shine a flashlight beam onto the overflow pipe to see when it changes colour,” John said. “I’ll show you where to shine the beam.”
As I lay in the passageway, it struck me that SOMEONE should clean the corners there, so John Darling passed me a bit of vinegar and paper towel, and I wiped up the worst of the grot in the passageway. There’s no hope for our engine room at all. I didn’t even try.
After I lay there 1/2 hour or so making friends with spiders, I heard a scream of joy from John Darling. “The gauge is working!” he cried. “It’s registering 1/4 of a tank.”
Unfortunately, after I was helped to a sitting position and had lumbered to my feet, it occurred to both of us that this was a good news/bad news sort of thing because WHERE was our diesel going? We weren’t burning it, we weren’t spewing it into the bilge or the sea – WHERE was it going? Our little gauge works fine, but it was calling out to us that the day tank was empty and WHY was it empty?
We thought about it every now and then during the rest of our week at anchor.
We did make it back safely (John Darling took it easy on the engine, which seemed to slow down our fuel loss), and we pulled into our slip at Cowichan Bay only 1/8 of a tank down.
George of the Snowy Beard thinks we’re siphoning or pumping fuel from the day tank back into the starboard tank. Because he is a local and full of Cowichan Bay optimism, he thinks it can be fixed.
Bless his heart, I hope he’s right.
The sun is shining and my heart is singing. Showers for everyone tonight. Who wouldn’t be happy?
Book #7 is edited and nearly ready to go, and I’m in Pacific Yachting AND 48 North this month. Just so you know, 48 North pays in AMERICAN dollars, and considering the pathetic state of our own dollar, this is news that fills me with excitement. I love Americans. They are wonderful.
However, I hope both magazine editors don’t read eachother’s publications this month. They may notice that both articles are about Genoa Bay. Heck, we haven’t GONE anyplace else for a couple of years.
love to you all,
Catherine

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