…A poor man’s made out of muscle and blood.

Old Tennessee Ernie Ford said it best. …A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong. Today I needed both my weak mind and my back. 

Yesterday we eased out of the primitively beautiful Dismal Swamp and within a couple of miles entered the highly industrial shoreline of Norfolk where we were met with Navy gunboats again with blue lights flashing as we passed by an aircraft carrier and a some sort of battle cruiser undergoing repairs. I am not familiar with Navy protocol and will be speaking with the Commander tomorrow to ask if prior to 9/11 it was normal for ships to be guarded on the water 24 hours per day. Must be costly but necessary. 

The amazing thing is that all these huge ships are right across from the cities and pleasure craft docks. In fact there are two Navy ships directly across from Cbay. 

We will be here until next Tuesday. The Spring Looper Rendezvous is taking place here starting Monday and we will not be attending but wanted to rest a bit and catch up with many friends we last saw at the beginning of this trip. Even Dr. Rod, our old dock mate from LGYC, is here. 

This morning we had projects to do. Jan set off to do laundry and I had a list. Unfortunately, before I could even think about the list, as usual other emergency problems arose. In checking the AC under the bed, it seems the condensate removal device was not working sufficiently and the overflow pan was about to overflow. Well I have this one under control. A quick cleaning of the valve is called for but first we vacuum the excess water out and pour it in the tub which I did. But this caused another problem to present itself. The sump pump that takes bath water and pumps it overboard had ceased to work and was overflowing into the bilges. So the good news was I now know where all the water in the bilge has been coming from. I knew it was not salty and even looked a little cloudy white from the soap. 

So I had to deal with the two at one time. AC must be fixed or I would burn up in a hot boat while working on a sump pump. Sump pump needed to work so that showers could be taken once we got sweaty. 

Got the AC up and running in less than 30 minutes. The pump was a bigger problem. The joker valve which is often called a duck bill valve is in the pump discharge line to prevent back flow into the drain box each time the pump cycles. Otherwise it tries to pump a gallon of water up and out and shuts off, wherein the water in the line runs back down into the box started an infinite loop process until the pump wears out or the battery dies, whichever first occurs. The trouble is I had no joker valve to replace it. 

I called the closest West Marine which was supposed to be 4.5 miles away. They had a completely new shower drain box and might have a valve to replace mine. Took the bike out and off I went. Because bikes cannot go on the Interstate it was actually 6.5 miles but I needed the exercise. 

As it turns out they had no valve so it was a whole kit for $129.95 plus tax just to get a $2 rubber valve. I owe my soul to the company store. 

Back at the boat I just pulled out the valve from the new one and popped it in the old one and voila it was fixed. Now you ask what am I supposed to do with a new assembly that has no valve. Simple, order a replacement valve from the manufacturer and install it and return the thing for $129.95. After all I only wanted the valve in the first place and they should have had one but were out of stock. 

Replaced the anchor roller with Jan’s help, installed a wind vane I happened to pick up at West and completed a couple of other chores and the day was shot. So much for relaxing in Norfolk. Sorry about no pictures but it takes both hands to work, one fist of iron and the other of steel. I really listened to that “Sixteen Tons” a lot didn’t I?