Fun exercises for boaters
09 December 2010
This is just another post that illustrates the opportunities for healthy exercise to be found while on a boat. A good example for healthyboating.blogspot.com.
There are, of course, many different types of exercise like;
Running and jogging to give the heart, lungs and legs a good workout
Swimming and rowing gives the body a soft workout without shock loads on the feet and knees.
Yoga and Tai Chee
and muscle building exercises in a gym lifting weights.
These are all exercises of choice. Boats at times dictate mandatory exercises you get when something breaks or plugs up and you must remedy the problem.
Murphy's law and the nature of boats usually mean that one must crawl into a very tight place to reach the item in need of repair or adjustment. Then when in an awkward position, the arms reaching as far as they can, try to loosen, tighten or adjust the item with a tool that is difficult to use at the proper angle. Naturally, according to Murphy's Law, if a screw nut or tool falls,90% of the time it will fall overboard, in the bilge or under an inaccessible spot.
This type of operation rewards you with the mode of exercise that selects all those muscles that are underused in normal life. You know this because when you wake up the next morning you can tell exactly which muscles have been underused.
My recent experience with one of these episodes started out with my wife calling my attention to a small water leak behind the toilet in the head. I suggested that we leave it alone for a while to see if it would stop on its own. You never know.
When she disagreed with my theory the next thing I know I had spent 2 hours with my stomach leaning on the toilet taking apart the 3-way valve and re-assembling it and it still leaked. In this round I ended up removing the 3-way valve, then disassembling the toilet, carefully reassembling it taking care that the seals were in their assigned positions and pronouncing it fixed. I could see no reason for it to do anything but behave like new.
I sometimes forget that Murphy has a great sense of humour and a devious mind so when someone boasts like I did he naturally wants to bring me down a peg. It just so happened that it was time for my morning bowel movement so I sat down to demonstrate my prowess as 'Mister Fixit'. You guessed it, the toilet wouldn't evacuate the bowl at all. To shorten the story, it ended up that the little bit of calcified urine in the outlet hose had broken loose during my ministrations and when I flushed the toilet these calcified bits failed to pass through the small opening in the heavily calcified outlet hose downstream of the vented loop. What a mess.
The people who had built my boat had taken a great deal of care to hide such odious things as sewage hoses from sight which normally is a good thing. However when one wishes to remove said hoses for cleaning or replacement it would be much easier if the were out in plain sight. This usually means that the hose is awkward to reach and maneuver. Then being good craftsmen they made the holes through the bulkheads barely large enough for the hose to go trough. And finally they installed sticky ribbed wire wound rubber hose that stiffens with age. I do not have 5 foot arms like 'Plastic Man' or the strength to reach and remove hose while lying on my side squashed between the engine and bulkhead. I just barely had the strength to lever myself upright from this position. Luckily I had lost my love handles I had put on while in Canada or I'd still be there.
Currently I have given up on removing the hose and am using muriatic acid to dissolve the calcium blocking it. If this doesn't work I have a backup plan to bypass the old hose by installing a new white hose through the engine room in plain view.
The positive side of this experience is that this seven decade old body is now in better better shape with all those unused muscles hardened up. See, boating has a way of improving our health even if some of the exercises are not so pleasant at the time.
PS. The old hose is now bypassed by a shiny new white hose installed with the looped vent completely in the engine room where it is accessible and has a constant drop to the outlet. The old hose, although well hidden, had a 2 foot section that was level or slightly uphill which caused effluent to gather creating a blockage.
The only task remaining is to drain the spent acid out of the old hose and seal the ends so my wife's keen nose won't detect it.