Friday, March 17, 2017

Shiny, Happy People!


Like one of my favorite R.E.M. songs .. we're "Shiny, Happy People" with our shiny, new plumbing on Nirvana!  After removing all of the old, moldy plumbing hoses and painting the storage areas, we finally have running water again on Nirvana!

After a good cleaning with Barkeeper's Friend, we decided to keep the original galley sinks and just buy a new faucet. It's a bit larger than the ideal size for the sinks, but being from Home Depot .. it was a lot cheaper than a "marine" faucet! The above photo in this post shows the finished installation. We're happy!

Like all of our projects on Nirvana, replacing the plumbing wasn't as quick n easy as it sounds! Pulling n tugging new hoses through holes and underneath settees & cabinets ain't no joke. Hoses to & from the two water tanks, hoses to & from the head, hoses to & from the galley, a vent hose from each water tank, and another from the holding tank .. and they all needed new clamps and screws. Why is it that all of our old stainless steel clamps didn't have stainless screws?! Then there was all those little plastic pieces/parts needed to attach the tiny sink drains to the hose .. elbows, tees, bushings ... I learned all sorts of new words! But, it was all figured out after many trips to the hardware store.

The picture below is a bit blurry, but see all those plastic fittings from the galley sink .. x 2.  We used heater hose for the drainage hoses, and will eventually install a water filter in this under-sink cabinet.


Here's a photo of our shiny, new faucet & sink in the head .. and what's goin' on underneath (more fittings!). We found a great deal on the oval sink from Go2Marine. We bought it during a Christmas sale and with a coupon ... getting it for $26 bucks! Considering how funky the old sink was (Barkeeper's Friend just wasn't enough) and the cheap price on the sink .. this was money well spent! Who wants a funky sink in their bathroom?!  The faucet came from Home Depot ... again, meant for a house but a lot cheaper than a "marine" faucet. 

Notice the vent hose coming out of the left corner of the counter? This is from the holding tank (under the port salon settee) and goes up into the storage cabinet & out of the stanchion on the deck. We used spa hose for this. See those knobs underneath the electric outlet (yeah, we know electricity near the sink isn't safe and we need to address this) .. Ken added that with a shower hose/head for those rare times we actually shower inside the boat.


Here's a photo below of the hoses (we made sure they were potable!) in our storage closet that add water from two deck fill locations to the two water tanks & a vent hose that runs from each tank up to the deck and out of a stanchion. One water tank is forward of this closet in the v-berth and the other is aft of this closet under the starboard settee. (The second hose from deck to v-berth water tank is not in this photo .. and is located on the left behind the cabinet drawer). 


Ken built some shelves for this cabinet, and he finished the shelves just yesterday .. woo hoo! But that's another post soon ...

For those not familiar with boat plumbing .. do ya see why it's not as easy as it sounds? So many parts and tight places. I swear, building a house is much easier!

While thinking of those water deck fills .. we had to buy new plastic covers for them.  Am I the only one that thinks $50 bucks for two pieces of plastic is crazy?!  I think Catalina Direct got us on this one, and I found some cheaper ones but Ken said they wouldn't work? I don't know .. but we need to make sure these are secured and don't go overboard! Oh, and the bronze fill pieces in the deck were a bit green, so I used a tip that I learned from "Women Who Sail" .. ketchup!  The acid in the ketchup eats away at the grime .. just let sit about an hour then scrub with a toothbrush and rinse. It really works!

During all of this, our old water pump was leaking so it was replaced with a new Shur-Flo water pump (#86-8398) from PPL Motor Homes. We also got this on sale for $55.99 .. good deal! A lot of stuff for a boat can be found at an RV store for a lot less money. We kept our original water pump in case we can fix it when we have time. Maybe it would make a good spare.

The macerator pump was also repaired during this project with a new impeller & gasket from West Marine for $41.69. We've since found this repair kit for $26.36 at CE Showroom .. good to know for spares. We were happy with this fix .. better than over $100 bucks for a new pump! Also .. anything with a holding tank or macerator is dreaded ... but it really wasn't that bad. The macerator pump is located a bit higher than the holding tank, so there wasn't much of a mess. Whew .. there wasn't much "pugh"!

With clean water tanks and plumbing, this was exciting stuff to us. Only other boaters could understand my excitement about new hoses n stuff, right!

Since this project, we've installed the refinished teak cabinet drawers & doors that have been waiting for this plumbing project to be finished ... I was giddy! Also, in addition to the storage shelves that Ken just completed, he also created a new cabinet in the head for the new storage area (hole he cut) behind the toilet. Stay tuned for a post with photos .. Nirvana keeps looking better!

Upcoming projects are installing new interior LED lights that we purchased and bringing home our cushions for cleaning and re-covering. Nirvana is close to looking like a home!

Hasta luego ... until then. Mid-Life Cruising!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Mardi Gras in N'awlins!


The picture above may look calm and peaceful (it was), but just around the corner was a party! It was "Fat Tuesday", otherwise known as "Mardi Gras" in New Orleans.  It was February 28th, which is a little late for Mardi Gras .. meaning the weather was warm and perfect!

Esplanade Avenue is on the edge of the French Quarter, and where we typically enter. It's in the photo above, and it's a street that we love! The street is lined with gorgeous oak trees and charming homes .. it's beautiful! We've visited this street numerous times since childhood, and to me .. it's a warm welcome to one of our favorite places. 

The French Quarter is never a dull moment and it has tons of character! The French and Spanish architecture mixed with the street performers and New Orleans charm is hard to beat. Even though I was born in New Orleans, I never get tired of this place. We've found nothing like it in our travels!

After getting lucky and finding free parking (on Mardi Gras day .. that's almost a miracle!), we walked to the famous "Cafe Du Monde" for a serving a beignets. I must admit that we rarely eat these delicious donuts .. I guess it's one of those things that we don't do as locals. But, we played "tourist" and indulged .. so good!



After dusting the powdered sugar off our clothes, we roamed the streets and took in the sights & sounds. Just steps away is the famous "Jackson Square", where we found these guys ...


Crawfish season has just arrived, and it's something we love in Louisiana. Zatarain's is a popular seasoning here in the South. I see a crawfish boil in our future soon!

We then headed to the famous "Pat O' Brien's".  No, we weren't there for their famous "Hurricane" drinks .. we were there to use their bathrooms! To be honest those sugary drinks aren't all that, but the place is worth checking out if you're in the area.


We then headed to the Acme Oyster House for a private party of free drinks and seafood. How great is that?! We've been really lucky the past few years to be invited by our good friend, Judy. Grilled oysters are a rare treat for me ... so good!


I planned on taking a few pics of all the amazing costumes in the streets .. after all it was warm and there was a lot of skin! But, I must admit that I was too busy partying .. way too busy. I should have eaten more seafood and drank less Crown & 7's! Needless to say, the day flew by and I suffered that night and the next day!

Me and my friend, Judy, on a Bourbon Street balcony ... can you tell I was having fun?!  


Anyway, my head has stopped pounding and we're now back to boat work.  We spent this past weekend finishing up our plumbing .. woo hoo!  For those that find plumbing & shiny, new faucets interesting (only a boat owner would) .. a post coming soon!

Oh, and we did manage to attend a couple of parades here in Slidell (about 25 minutes North of New Orleans).  To be honest, I've been going to parades since I was a toddler so they don't interest me much anymore.  However, I do enjoy the night parades just steps away from our condo.  I managed to get one picture .. pitiful, I know.


For those interested in seeing some cool pics from previous time spent in the French Quarter for Mardi Gras, check out this blog post from a few years ago .. or this one. One of these days I need to find & scan a few photos from many of the Mardi Gras' past.  We really have had some good (and crazy) times!

Hasta luego .. until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!
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