05 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Cloudy, no rain
I posted some photos yesterday that covered an interesting docking by a big sailboat in high winds, as well as initial work on the engine removal. The second page covered our removal of the Nanni from its motor mounts and location, although it's still in the boat.
Today, we're diving into the terribly messy cleanup of the bilge area. There's the normal gunk that 35 years under a diesel engine will produce, of course, but in Fiji, a worker changing the oil simply opened the drain into the bilge: a gallon of diesel-dirty oil that never went away.
The bilge water is oily. Growing along the concrete wall of the quay behind us is a nice collection of coral and with them come the beautiful tropical fish. We simply will NOT dump oil into this water! I scavenged empty plastic oil containers and we pumped the water/oil mess into those and dumped them in the trash. It was only 3 gallons, but it's not in the water and it'll be treated as waste somewhere far from the water. That'll do for us.
I used a small hand pump to remove as much water from the bilge as I could then made my first-of-many forays on my hands and knees to scrape out the accumulated oily muck at the bottom. What a mess! I found two wrenches, one of Adrians that we knew was there, and a 9/16 combo that had dropped there so long ago that I had forgotten it. Mine, being a good Craftsman, was in dirty but perfect condition, and a good wrench is always a welcomed addition to any tool set. Also were many cable tie ends, obviously snipped while installing something and dropped into the bilge for me to find. Oily muck, dirt, dust...it's a wonder that the bilge pump worked at all in that crap.
I'm lobbying Conni to buy a cheap wet/dry vacuum at the big Carrefour to simplify the cleaning. My thought is to scrub the entire area with Simple Green and then vacuum the resulting mess into yet more empty plastic jugs for disposal. At some point, the water will be just...water, and we'll be done.
Back from Carrefour, and we did buy a cheaply made, but not cheap, 12VDC wet/dry vacuum. I read on the box that it is a 120Watt device, so it draws up to 10 Amps through a tiny wire. Wow! I snipped the cigarette lighter end and spliced on some AWG12 wire (that's many times larger cross section for less resistance) and connected that wire directly to a battery. 10 Amps is a lot of current so I tried to reduce that resistance as much possible.
It's not a great device and the cheap plastic parts began to disintegrate immediately, but it does do the work that we need it to do. I can scrape off gunk and use the vacuum to remove it easily. It can even handle a small amount of water, even oily water, so it will serve its purpose, I'm sure. I don't expect its survival past this job.
Tomorrow, more of the same, unfortunately. I get terribly dirty with old oil and dirty water, smudged all over my arms and legs. We're trying to mitigate that mess with some strategically placed cardboard and plastic bags taped to the floor, but I'm a messy guy.
I pumped all of the water from the bilge before heading to Carrefour, and there was more when we returned, so we hypothesize that we've got a leak in our port-side fresh water tank. First thing tomorrow, then, is to remove the old water from starboard and try to find a way to move the port water to it. If the leak stops, then we're confirmed in our idea, so then we've got to find and plug that leak: easier said than done. Still, the bilge must be dry for us to clean and repaint it.
It's always something.