Blue Turtle Cruising

The battle of the bilge

Well, it’s been an interesting week with the tropical storm Debby rocking us for 3 straight days with wind and rain and then Randy’s battle with our bilge. Yeah, at this point the score is: Randy – 3, The Bilge – 5. He’s currently losing the battle but does have plans to continue attack.

Randy in the engine room battling the bilge
Randy in the engine room battling the bilge

See, it all started with a smell. Whenever we were away from the boat for a while, we would smell it immediately. After a while, we get used to it and then it hits you again. We initially thought it was either the head (holding tank)or a diesel leak. Randy decided to do some investigating and decided to clean out the sump first. After that, the smell continued and was concentrated in the v-birth area. After this, we discovered that the smell was in fact coming from the bilge. Eeeek!

Randy waged war on the first night by taking a hose and shovel down there and shoveling out buckets of oil, old chipping paint and sludge while hosing out the bilge. The smell disappeared for about a day—then came back. He went down there a second time with a shovel and hose and cleaned out more junk. It was a little better the next day but the smell continued. Finally, Randy went down there a third time with the hose and discovered another issue—the bilge just could’t pump out all the crap that has built up in there over the last 39 years. The issue is that all of the sludge particles would jam up up the strainer within seconds, Randy would remove the strainer to clear it and the check valve would get clogged. Each day we get closer to having a clean (non-smelly bilge). As Randy would say, “It doesn’t know it yet, but It’s going to be hurting’ tomorrow”.

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