Is that CRAP I smell?

A downside to living on a boat is carrying your crap around. Fortunately we have a guy who comes around on Tuesdays and pumps out the boat (whatever he makes, it isn’t enough). Wednesday afternoon we all started smelling that poo smell, like the tank was too full or someone had eaten too much Indian food. When Pat went to check it out, he found that a vent hose had cracked and was venting into the engine room instead of wherever it is supposed to go so I don’t have to smell it. He did a Macgyver fix on it and we all went to bed- Pat had a 2:30 am wake up for work.
A while later a smell returned. Jack said it smelled like omelets. We sprayed air freshner and turned on fans- I figured I would work on it the next day. However it got so bad I couldn’t sleep. I got out of bed to go check the Macgyver fix in the engine room to find a corner of the room streaming and full of condensation. Now clearly I’m not the mechanic of the pair of us, but I was pretty sure that wasn’t right. I had to wake Pat up :(

“Hey Pat, should there be steam coming out of anything in the engine room?” Yeah, he got up pretty quickly- turns out the answer is “no”.
He removed the cover from, what turned out to be, the condensation covered battery compartment and found that our giant 8D starting battery was steaming from 2 sides. That's a really bad thing. He moved faster than I've seen him move in awhile turned on the engine room blowers and, after creating a few sparks, disconnected the power (just like you would a car battery). The steaming slowed to a stop. He checked the temperature with a heat gun and found parts of it to be nearly 200 degrees!
Battery - bulging at the sides

As it cooled down, we debriefed what had just happened:
  • We now know what hydrogen, oxygen and pure sulfuric acid smells like - It stinks. While Hydrogen and Oxygen are non toxic, sulfuric acid is not something one should inhale.
  • We should always check out strange smells.
  • Replace old batteries - we have no idea how old this battery was, but apparently it was at the end of its life. 
  • Keep goggles and a mask in the engine room.
  • Steam in an engine room is not good.
We are off to get a new battery today. Wish us luck!


  1. RickyMarch 23, 2018 at 10:17 PM
    I'm glad I found your blog. We spent 3 winters living on our 456 Carver in Florida and loved it.
    We sold it in 2016 and are back in Kelowna BC. I miss the boat and I think my wife would be OK moving back onto a boat for the winters but on the west coast. The east coast was too far from the grandkids for her. I've been a big fan of Nordhavens for the last year but I don't think we can afford one. They are the best. So we have been talking about Mexico. I look forward to hearing about your experiences there and what the marinas are like. If you had to start over I would like to know where you would be looking for a boat? Canada , the USA west coast or Mexico?

  2. Before we found Noeta, we were looking at a 65’ Cape Horn that is in Seattle. The boat was going to be too much for us to repair and ultimately cruise. 65’ is a lot of boat. We were looking at the entire west coast of North America for a good, sea worthy boat and we found Noeta at the Nordhavn office at Elliot Bay Marina in Seattle. We have been long time fans of these boats and now that we have one, we are even more impressed. The fit and finish of everything is awesome The quality of the build and the support that we have received from Nordhavn and the Owners
    Group is nothing short of amazing. We met Dan Streech this winter at the Seattle Boat Show. Dan is one of the founders of Nordhavn. He remembered our boat. This is a company that has produced over 800 boats to date and ours is #N4637. It was built in 1994 and he remembered our boat. That is what this company is like. So to say we like the brand too is an understatement.


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