Sea Turds


I can’t make this stuff up.  There is a thing down here called a Sea Turd.  As a matter of fact it causes a huge amount of trouble.  Soon after I spent thousands for the components to make a water maker and the better part of a week fitting it into the boat, it quite making water.  It left me scratching my head.  I went to the local guru that builds all the systems down here and he couldn’t figure it out either.  A water maker is a very simple thing.  It consist of a high pressure pump much like the one on a pressure washer.  It pumps water into a membrane with holes in it on a molecular scale.  The water that makes it through the membrane is so clean that you need to add a mineral supplement to your diet.  I use a couple of pre-filters to get the big chunks out before it gets to the membrane.  First is just a sea strainer that consist of a simple screen, then a 5 micron filter to get the smaller stuff.  So, this is simple stuff.  The problem was my pump was making the right pressure (800 lbs) but very little water was coming out.  The water that I was making wasn’t fit to drink by a long shot.  It had huge amounts of salt and a good amount of oil in it.  We replaced the expensive membrane.  We replaced them four times.  We replaced the pre-filters.  I replaced the sea strainer.  I replaced end caps on the pressure vessel that the membrane rests in.  Finally I disassembled the pump.  The inside of it was coated with a black gunk that looked like crude oil.  The valve seats looked like someone had taken a small plasma cutter to them.  I soon figured out that the black stuff had coated the seats in all but the places where they looked cut.  I remembered that marble is cut using a saltwater mix.  I was using a high pressure mix of salt water.  This is what had cut the valve seats with such ease.  Now what the hell caused it.  Soon I found the culprit floating by the boat in large numbers.  They looked like someone had flushed the toilets at Tiger Stadium streight into the bay.  Little Baby Ruths with green fuzz and black stuff were everywhere.  I picked one up and found it had a brown center.  I thought I was looking at poo.  I took it to the water maker guru and showed it to him and he took it to a local marine biologist.  The biologist identified it as a baby sponge.  They float along the surface and do what sponges do best, soak up everything around them.  In this case algae and oil.  They are a big problem down here at certain times of the year taking out watermakers and outboard motors as well as water-cooled air conditioners and refrigeration equipment.  The biologist said they are called Sea Turds.  I swear to God.

About Michael Scott

Michael Scott is and artist and sailor. Wife Shannon is also and artist and sailor while their son is beginning his first voyge.
This entry was posted in crusing, crusing, Formosa 51, humor, living aboard, living aboard, sailing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Sea Turds

  1. Gene Bacon says:

    Just goes to show you there are “turds” ever where:-)

    Nice to know you figured them out and hope you can send them to “Turd Hell” soon!

    Enjoy the time left before you head North..know that was not your initial plan but being retired means you don’t need to worry about “plans”

    Gene

  2. Frease says:

    It’s a g d conspiracy! Catch 23! Oh well at least the great turd mystery is solved lol lol lol. Dayam sometimes Mike I think you attract this sierra!! Memorial Day is what it is, I am remembering as you are too. Bless those that went before us. J.

  3. Gene Bacon says:

    Mike…did my service but never made it over there…just plain luck, I guess…

    I do have more than a few friends on The Wall and I will make a point to have “one” for each of them…it’s more than a Holliday….it’s a rememeberence…

    “All gave some…some gave all”..Nuff said.

    Gene

  4. Lynn says:

    I remember that Shannon had mentioned you were having trouble with the water-maker, now you know why. That is one wild story Michael, sea turds are new to me but thankfully I have you to enlighten me on such topics. What will you do now, will this keep happening? What will you all drink when youre out to sea? Also, you say you see a lot of iol. Is it from the huge oil disaster in the gulf that happened last year? sorry too many questions I know.

    • I’ve added filters to catch the turds before they can distroy the real expensive gear. It won’t happen again. When we are at sea we will be making drinking water out of the sea water, it’s what we are doing now sitting at anchor. There is always a little oil in the water, after all, they are two naturally occuring substances. The baby sponge just soaks it up and concentrates it in my watermaker. I suspected the oil came from an oil pumping station not far from here because it looked like crude oil but, it could have come from an outboard motor too. If the oil had come from the Gulf spill it would have had to come through the Panama Canal and the usage fees are way too high for that to have happened. Again the water here is beautiful and extremely clear but the sponge gets any little thing from everywhere it floats. They might be a good thing for places like the Gulf of Mexico. It would take a lot of them and they are living creatures. I have a “Save the Sea Turds” T-shirt now to go with my thong speedo. There’s another mental image for Rip to try to get outa his head.

      • Lynn says:

        Thanks for all the info Mike. Also, ““Save the Sea Turds” T-shirt now to go with my thong speedo.”? I’ll definitely let Rip know but he’s gonna laugh and probably give you grief over it. :-) He’s got a strange way about him like that! Enjoying your posts, keep it up- it’s not like you have anything else to do.. (smile)

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