Gasses, Burps and Other Noises

Sometimes Galapagos is downright embarrassing. We’ve never heard a boat gurgle, burp, and probably fart as much as she does and it’s taking us awhile to figure out whether these are noises of distress or whether we are just ignorant like first time parents; focused on every small nuance a newborn exhibits. She’s trying to tell us something, but she speaks with foreign tongue. More on this later.

This weekend, determined to do not a lick of boat work and just enjoy being on the water, we took Galapagos to visit Anderson Island, just south of Tacoma, and home to our favorite boat surveyor, Tony Allport of “He saved us from buying the beautiful but high maintenance Flying Gull” fame. We were secretly hoping for a ‘Tony’ sighting, but I guess Anderson Island is bigger than we thought because none of the people we sighted were Tony.

Most people who travel to Anderson Island choose to pull into protected Oro Bay or Amsterdam Bay, but we are not ‘most people’ and don’t mind anchoring in a little current if the weather is fine. So we chose Thompson Cove at the south end of the island. That way we could enjoy the sunset.  As we pulled in a woman on the shore waved at us and yelled out ‘Beautiful boat!’ and something about anchoring. The tone was welcoming; she seemed friendly with a good attitude toward sailboatsAnchor set for the weekend, I pulled out my hammock, opened the new Kindle Mike got me for my birthday, and commenced to some hardcore reading. The light sound of laughter wafted by on the breeze, coming from the house on the shore. My hammock rocked gently.

Mike, waiting for the mother ship. Perhaps we have room for two hammocks.

She holds on to her doggie’s tail and he pulls her through the water. He seems to love it!

After a few hours I felt eyes upon me and noticed someone floating on a swim toy in the water, holding on to what appeared to be a dog. This is the Pacific Northwest. Anyone in the water is either in trouble or is a hardier soul than me. This was the woman with the good attitude and she and her dog were floating our way. I stood up to greet her. Smiling hugely, she said “Welcome to Thompson Cove! Your boat is lovely! I’m an old sailor and I love seeing a sailboat anchored in the cove.  Here, I brought you some freshly picked blackberries. If we have a bonfire tonight, be sure to come and join us!”

She exuded warmth. I wanted immediately to be her friend.  The current was taking her, so we had a quick conversation that assured me that she and her dog swam Thompson Cove every day and she would have no trouble getting back to shore. Still, we watched her carefully, since it was hard to believe anyone could be close to the actual wetness that long without becoming hypothermic, and the current was swift.

That's right. All day long.

That’s right. All day long.

I couldn’t help but compare this open and friendly welcome complete with fresh berries to the one we received last year when making the late fall trip up to Anacortes on Moonrise to deliver her to her new owners. At the end of a long day of cold sailing, we needed to anchor for the night and wanted to be on the protected side of the land. Orcas Island offered our best solution and we pulled into a bay filled with empty mooring balls. Choosing a spot well away from them we dropped anchor.

As Mike was snugging up the rode we were greeted by a woman standing aggressively on her porch on shore. Her weapon of choice was a large cheerleader megaphone apparently kept on the front porch, shotgun like, just for this purpose. The megaphone was as big as she was. Her echoing voice grated on my last nerve as she informed us that 1) this wasn’t a good place to anchor (Yes, it was), 2) We might touch her mooring ball. (No, we wouldn’t.) 3) Were we in trouble? (No, just exhausted.) 4) People had been known to get blown off the anchorage there as storms came out of nowhere. (Clearly she was a conjurer of the first degree. )   This woman was one who would eat the souls of young children lost in the forest. I hope we didn’t destroy her precious view of the empty mooring field. You know, sometimes it’s okay that I don’t hear very well. It makes those people easier to ignore. Poor Mike, with his preternaturally good hearing, bore witness to several of her impromptu speeches before the night got too old for her. We retired to the cabin for a little scrabble.

Back at the welcoming Thompson Cove, we enjoyed a lovely sunset/moonrise. Let the photos speak to this.

On Sunday we had set a date to pick up some friends at the Steilacoom Dock.  Chere Clark and Edwin Nieves have been good friends since Chere came to practice with me 10 years ago.  They’d been on the Saucy Sue, our Catalina 27, on Moonrise, our Cal 34, and now we would have them as our first guests aboard Galapagos! It is exciting to finally be at that stage in this game.

One thing we are learning with a boat this big is that we must remain flexible about how we accomplish things; like sidling up to a dock. Sometimes that just isn’t going to happen. When we approached the dock by the Steilacoom ferry it was clear that we would need a shoehorn to bring Galapagos into the space available. In situations such as this, I like to take the Nancy Reagan approach and ‘Just say NO’. The space was clearly too small. It would not be happening. Our friends were waving from the dock, and people were meandering down to watch the show. I hope we didn’t disappoint them as Mike dropped the dinghy into the water and rowed over to pick them up. I breathed a sigh of considerable relief that there would be no need to wedge our big boat into a small space. Show over with no drama.  I predict this will happen a lot. I especially like the ‘no drama’ part.

Chere lived on a boat in her college years in Bellingham. Boating is in her blood.

And here is a little blast from the past; Chere and Edwin enjoying a little Wednesday night racing aboard our old Catalina 27. The Saucy Sue was a perfect first boat.

Saucy Sue and Friends

Chere and Edwin on the Saucy Sue circa 2006

The plan was to go for an evening sail, taking advantage of the winds that kick up each summer night, then drop them back off at Steilacoom before tootling back up to Tacoma. We anchored off McNeil Island (careful to keep at least a football field’s length off the shore since it’s a prison island) and had a lovely dinner in the cockpit. We were having so much fun that they stuck with us all the way to Tacoma.

Edwin doing his best imitation of a boat captain spotting land for the first time.

And this is where those embarrassing noises come into play. There is so much gurgling! We had identified one source of the gurgling as the drain in the galley sink. It sounded like air was getting into the line and coming up against small quantities of water and we didn’t know how to make it stop. Then, in a brainstorm of epic proportions, I managed to think about putting the stoppers in the sink. Just give me time. Sometimes I’m a little slow, but problem solved. Still,  we can’t figure out where the other sound is coming from. It’s intermittant, no apparent rhyme or reason jumps out at us. So we’ll be sitting enjoying a quiet dinner in the cockpit, or the silence of sails up at an easy heel,  and suddenly the boat lets out a long, rude sounding burp. It seems like it’s coming from the cockpit drains, or maybe the vent to the engine. The sound is similar to what the bilge pump makes, but we’ve at least determined that it is not, in fact,  the bilge pump.  We have a mystery on our hands. I’d like to think that, like our son who was a gassy baby, this boat will outgrow this problem. But, alas, at her age, it is unlikely.

For your viewing pleasure, please enjoy a flurry of photos from the passage back to Tacoma.

Thankfully, the Narrows bridges are very high.

Still, it gives one pause.

Big moon over Salmon Beach. Probably a little blurry due to the boat moving through the water.

Just a little fun with color.

We know we’ll need to get back to our project list soon, but these weekends on the boat have a way of filling up the cup of energy required to keep that momentum going. We’re keeping a gimlet eye on the engine exhaust elbow and so far it’s holding. When Mike’s not looking I secretly use a magnifying glass to check for cracks around that recently welded joint. So far, so good. We just want it to hold long enough for us to get the final fix in place.



19 thoughts on “Gasses, Burps and Other Noises

    • Hmm , aren’t you the one planning your trip to the Caribbean? Soon you will have plenty of lovely scenery of your own.

  1. I was afraid this post was going to be about a digestive disorder. So glad it wasn’t.

    I am happy to read about you taking a weekend off. It’s about time! Ya gotta stop an’ smell da roses, marn.

    Try putting stoppers (or rags) into the cockpit drains to see it it muffles the burping. If it does, you can narrow it down. If not, you can move on to another area. Don’t forget to unplug them before you leave the boat or else you will have another big project to work on 🙂

    Our old Cheoy Leak (Cheoy Lee) used to burp from the cockpit drains while at anchor. Speaking of our old Cheoy Leak; old wooden boat ~ been there, done that, had fun, worked my butt off, labor of love, never again! You dodged a Fying Gull bullet.

    Best wishes from “oh, it’s hot as hell here” Florida


    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

    • Well of course! That makes sense. We will try that and see what happens. I don’t mind the gurgling, but it is disconcerting to not know where it’s coming from. Sounds like maybe your Cheoy Lee made the same kind of noise. We will report back! Yes, we dodged a beautiful bullet, for sure.

  2. An honor, for sure, to be the first guests aboard beautiful Galapagos. So moving to see you and Mike proceed, per the Plan!! Thank you both for our lovely sail! And the gurgles and burps just added to the fun!

  3. We had so much fun and it was great to see how much you and Mike are enjoying Galapagos. I will be happy to help scrape, buff and sand when the time come to do repairs on beautiful Galapagos to make it even more beautiful!

  4. We looked for you guys out in the bay yesterday – because we actually got to sail! So excited. Love love our boat. Sounds like you had a great time as well!

    • That’s terrific! I’m so glad you like the boat under sail. We looked for you guys as well, but didn’t get into Tacoma until almost 10:00 pm.

  5. I’m devouring each segment of your adventures! I love the narrative and the pictures! With the picture of your feet in the hammock, and the title, I wondered who it was who had a bit of indigestion. Much love! 😉

  6. A noisy commentary for sure. Good luck on finding the “gurgles”. Sounds like a family name. Wonder where they are living on Galapagos?

    Anyway, your writing and pix are great as usual and we await your next post with envy. I mean trepidation, no excitement. There.

    • You are cracking me up! I know everyone is holding their collective breath on that exhaust system! 🙂 I think the next step is blocking those cockpit drains to see if that’s where the upset is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.