Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Murphy's Law Is Recursive

Carolina Beach State Park
34 03.03 N 077 55.14 W

You all know Murphy's Law; right?
If anything can go wrong, it will.  And at the worst possible time.
Well, back in my engineering days I was fond of saying that Murphy's law is recursive.  In other words, it applies to Murphy too.  Whenever you are certain that you know things will go bad because Murphy predicts it; you get surprised and they go right.   I have three cases in point from recent days.

One thing we have not fared well with in 6.5 years of cruising is house batteries.  We bought so many batteries, I can't count.  They failed left and right.  Most recent was a battery that died from a cracked plate.  Such a demise is abrupt and easy to diagnose, that battery will not make 12 volts any more.  If run in a parallel bank with other batteries, it pulls down the voltage of the whole bank.   Well, the other day in Wrightsville Beach, I thought it happened again.  Within minutes after shutting off the engine after a full day motoring, the bank voltage dropped to 12.10 volts.  Uh oh.  Sure sounds like another bad battery.

Monday I had an idea.  Maybe we could buy a new battery locally and have it delivered to us here a thte state park.   I got my tools and volt meter and set out to make sure both batteries had adequate water and to figure out which was bad.  To my surprise, just as I removed the battery box tops, the bank sprang back to life.  It wasn't a bad battery after all, it was a lose wing nut on one of the terminals.  Got you that time Murphy.

Tuesday I set out to fix another problem.  Regular readers know that in recent weeks I removed the water tanks twice in a futile search for a leak.  Before putting them back I re-plumbed them with new hoses and clamps.  That's a lot of work.   Alas, Libby discovered that all our water use was coming from one tank, the second tanks was not participating despite the fact that both valves were open.  Darn, I thought.  I'll have to take them out a third time to find where I screwed up.  

When I lifted the floor to do that I instantly spotted the real problem  One of the hoses was bent too sharply and formed a kink.  That only took 10 minutes to remedy.  No removal of tanks was needed.  Got you again Murphy.

Today, we were supposed to leave this place and continue south.  We already sampled the pleasures this place has to offer.  However, the weather forecast was grim.   Very heavy rain, severe thunderstorms and headwinds up to 30 mph.  Also, we would have had to leave early at first light to catch the tide.   I got up at 6AM, and yes it was raining heavily.  I decided we would stay another day.  At 8AM I went up to the office to pay for another day.   I lingered in there 15 minutes listening to local history stories from the two rangers.  When I stepped back out, the rain had stopped, the sky was blue and there is no adverse wind.   Murphy got me.

p.s. We're still hoping to get out to sea on Saturday.  However, yesterday's forecast showed that we had an 80 hour window.  In this morning's forecast, the window shrank to 40 hours and Saturday is still 3 days away.  Keep your fingers crossed and don't think about Murphy.



 

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