Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mystery Spot

The floors found throughout our boat are a classic mix of teak and holly:

Sea Gem's Main Salon
The dark wood is Burmese teak and the thin, light wood is holly. Topping it all off is a thick, clear varnish, which gives the floor a mirror-like finish. 

If I were to divide the amount of time I spend cleaning various parts of the boat, without a doubt, I can safely say that I spend a disproportionate amount of time crawling around on my hands and knees tediously polishing the floor. I guess you could say I'm a bit particular about how it looks. 

Each time Helina drops/throws a toy on the floor (or Eric or I accidentally drop something on it), my muscles cease up and I crazily begin chanting "Please no, not the floor, not my precious floor." God forbid we chip the varnish--or worse, hurt the wood beneath. 

Much to my horror, as I glanced across the room the other day, I noticed a dark spot on the floor in front of our ice maker/freezer! Helina had been sitting in the general vicinity of the mystery spot moments before I saw it, so my initial thought was that her diaper had leaked and there was a puddle of pee on the floor (lovely, I know). When I went to clean up the mess, I discovered that there was no mess--the wood itself was discolored: 

The Spot
This is not good. The color of the wood implies it is wet. As you might suspect, I freaked out.

The spot-in-question is found directly in front of an appliance that requires water. Logic dictates that the two are connected; however, when we inspected the floor, we found that the wood was completely firm, which isn't what you'd expect if it were saturated with water (it would be soft). And, even after dissembling the ice maker, we still couldn't locate a leak.

Although it is hard for us to imagine that the spot on the floor is not water damage, I began tossing out a few alternate (and creative) theories to explain the mystery spot.

Theory 1: The floor had been burned by our port-side engine (which is located underneath the floor in our engine room). We had been sailing on the day the spot appeared (well, on the day we noticed it), so I thought perhaps our engine had caught fire (or something) and burned through the ceiling of the engine room, charring the wood floor above. I sent Eric to the engine room to investigate, but my theory--while creative--didn't pan out. In addition to the fact that we would have noticed if one of our engines had caught fire, neither engine is located directly underneath the spot--just in the vicinity.

Theory 2: An ice cube (or more likely cubes) fell out of the ice maker, melted, and the water leaked through a crack in the varnish and soaked the wood. This theory isn't as dramatic as my engine-catching-fire theory, but it's an idea. So far, no cracks in the varnish have been identified.

Theory 3: There is a slow leak underneath the floor (yet above the engine room's ceiling).

Theory 4: An Ebola-like virus that only affects wood.

The current status is that the wood is still discolored (although not getting any worse), the floor is still hard, the ice maker still works, and nothing is burning. Will Eric and I get to the bottom of the mystery spot? I certainly hope so. For the sake of both our teak and my sanity. 

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