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.