06 July 2019 | Marina Taina
William Ennis | Hot
We were preparing for the cleaning task by 0900. The first order of business, as mentioned, was to empty the starboard water tank. It contained water we put into it last season so it wasn't worth saving. We used the main pressure water pump, (to conserve water, rarely used these days) to pump water into the galley sink where it drained overboard. That done, we ran a spare piece of water hose from the sink spigot to the now-empty starboard tank, and transferred the water from port to starboard. That solved our major bilge-draining problem and confirmed that our port water tank has a slow leak somewhere. Our good water discipline showed since we had 70 gallons in the filled port tank, and we had, probably, 50 gallons after we transferred it.
Knee pads, headlight, some strategically-placed cardboard to keep me off the dirty surfaces, and I began the bilge cleaning on my hands and knees. I used a Carrefour glass cleaning solution as my major degreaser, and wiped clean with paper towels. There were areas that needed the services of a putty knife as well. That done, it was Simple Green and water applied with a stiff brush to complete the chore. Our little vacuum did well, but the plastic continued to disintegrate. Little will remain by the time were done, I fear. Still, the bilge is remarkably clean, considering where we began.
Why paper towels? Why not more water and detergent? Because we had to collect any water that we used, somehow, and place it in an empty plastic jug for disposal! We pledged that we'd spill no oily water into this harbor with its lovely coral and beautiful tropical fish. Less water, less mess, fewer jugs of nasty water: a simple solution to the problem.
We had received email that other Passport owners had found leaks in the bottom of the bilge, but in our case, someone had already placed a layer of epoxy over the bottom, probably to solve that very problem, so we don't have to deal with that.
It all looks much better but we've got to clean it well enough to get some epoxy paint on it, so we bought some degreaser for a final wash. With luck, that'll do the trick.
I also removed the bilge pump for cleaning. With the gunk in the bottom of the bilge where it sits, I'm astounded that it pumped anything. The automatic feature of the pump, the ability to switch on and pump water by sensing the water, hasn't worked for ages, and I'm sure that it's a wiring problem. We'll fix that, too, when we get it clean and it's ready for re-installation.
I don't remember whether I mentioned it, but the new and improved coupling doesn't use a key as our old coupling and flange did. In fact, the keyway itself can damage the new (and expensive) coupling, says Adrian. Hence, the keyway machined in our prop shaft must go away. So, we can simply cut off the offending 4-inches of shaft with the keyway, or remove the shaft and have a local machine shop fill the keyway and grind it smooth: no keyway. I'm concerned about losing the needed length of the prop shaft if we simply cut it, but the only way to maintain shaft length while the boat is in the water is to remove the prop shaft WHILE THE BOAT IS IN THE WATER! I don't know if that process strikes fear into your heart, but it does ours. One of the first rules of safe boating is, "don't make a big hole in your boat so that water pours in and sinks it." It's always made perfectly good sense to me. Adrian says that he's removed shafts with the boat in the water many times, with no problem. He places a plug in the outside and inside ends of the propeller tube and the outside one has water pressure pushing it in. Yeah, I guess. If we go this route, I'm sure that I'll be up all night, fearing the worst. More on this topic later.
I've a bit more cleaning tomorrow, using a degreaser, then on to other tasks.
It's about 2200 hours. We're both in bed, and the boat is very gently rolling, side to side. There's not a breath of breeze so we've got fans going. It's Saturday night so the Pink Coconut Restaurant and Bar has a large crowd and live music, both of which we can faintly hear in the quiet night. There are smells of diesel fuel, engine oil, and our meal of black bean and rice: perhaps not pleasant but comforting because they're so familiar. Since I'm typing and not under the fan's breeze, I'm already a bit sticky. Conni's reading a novel on her iPhone and I've got another novel about a government assassin: there seem to be thousands of them these day, more often that not, written by and featuring women. Good night.