My boaty learning curve has been steep and it’s not over yet. Take, for instance, a bilge. Two years ago, if someone had said the word bilge to me, I would have guessed it came from Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky:
I would have sworn that bilge was in there somewhere, probably in the third verse.
I had read the wrong types of books.
Now I know better, of course. I know that bilge is not a made-up word and that it’s actually the bottom of the boat where bad smells collect. It’s the dark space below the access panels in the floor where any dirt that escapes my broom settles. It’s where a lot of things were stored (and subsequently thrown away) when we did our Great Clean Out.
It’s where old oil and spilled diesel were sloshing around amidst stinky water when the boat was delivered.
The bilge has become an important portion of my knowledge. There is an alarm (alarm = panic) that goes off if too much water accumulates from condensation or a leaky hose. There are manual pumps to pump out the excess water and there used to be an automatic electric pump but it’s missing.
This summer there were some particularly lovely smells coming from under the floor. It seemed an airborne Hudson River funk had a party in the bilge and was trying to drive us out. Peter got home from a trip and scrubbed it out with soap, water, and a lot of elbow grease. He sent me pictures while I was at work. I thought the bilge space was black but it’s actually off-white.
It smelled a lot better after that.
I have enough to worry about without wondering if I smell like a swamp. Now, back to learning.