Deep Bilge Work To Welcome the New Year

Today’s Weds, so I’m working to get back into my M/W/F posting routine, but launched into working in the deep recesses of my deepest bilges today.  I’m hopeful that none of the muck gets caught in the keyboard.  If ya don’t know or understand..older heavier boats built in Taiwan in the 70’s tend to have really deep full bilges.  Engines tend to sit in those spaces.  My deep bilge is the hardest I’ve ever seen to get into and clean out.  It sits nearly 5 feet below my engine and the shaft that rotates our prop is also under the engine, further complicating working on the bilge.  Yep….there’s a few smart folks out there scratching their heads because most engine shafts normally come out of the engine directly to the propeller to power it,  but ours had to be complicated and is attached to a “velvet drive”.  Simply means things are backwards and the shaft comes out of the engine to the “V” drive then goes back under the engine to the propeller.  Yep, it’s as complicated as it sounds.  Now,,,,bilge- A bilge is defined as: The bilge /bɪl/ is the lowest compartment on a ship or seaplane, below the waterline, where the two sides meet at the keel. (wikipedia).  Our bilge has two large pumps that pump water out of the boat and various other hoses to things that were a mystery.  Mystery no longer.  The problem with our bilge also is that the extra special “V Drive” means we can’t really get into the bilge but other stuff can fall in and disappear forever.  Our large bilge pumps are supposed to have automatic float switches on them that start pumping water automatically, but ours have been broken.  Today we went through every single hose going into or out of the bilge, much to my surprise there was lots more than I thought.  We found out that our full tub drains directly into the bilge (important to know) and that we have another pump for the bilge that could be used in combination with the forward saltwater wash down pump to de-water in an emergency.  We also found out that we needed to fix and update every hose, several were burned through by touching the shaft and simply done.  All of this work is accomplished by someone on their stomach on top of the engine or looking through a 1 foot by 1 foot hatch from the galley.  Not terribly efficient or effective setup, but I love to work through problems so this is a great experience and I get to learn more about the boat.  Here’s what this process looks like from above:

The bilge ends about 5 feet below Francisco, he’s on top of the engine.

I’m also babysitting (parenting) the kids while working on the deep bilges because they don’t go back to school for several more days.  So I’m knocking out this post on my lunch break (kids eat all the time and MUST be fed) and hopefully by the end of the day I’ll have working bilge pumps with working float switches and new hoses too?  We’ll see.  If not, it’s my priority project tomorrow and the curtains get to wait.

Happy New Year and a quick hello to all the new folks who are following our little blog. Baja Ha-Ha leaves in October….are you in ?