Sunday, September 23, 2007

Pittstown Point, Crooked Island, Bahamas

0 nm

Well, one thing’s good at least. Secret’s finally getting some much needed attention. Today Karl and I finally pumped the fuel out of her fuel tank. I thought this was a task that Karl could manage on his own while I gave the interior some much needed TLC (namely, doing the dishes), but it ended up being a two-person job.

Frenchie loaned us a manual fuel pump of some kind (I didn’t ask the men many questions), which Karl had to rotate to churn the diesel out of its thick cast-iron mouth, similar, in many ways, to those old-fashioned water pumps our grandparents used to use. Unfortunately, the suction pipe didn’t fit down into our tank, so Karl, ever inventive, tore the thing apart and duct-taped a cut-off section of our water hose to it to suck the fuel up. I was sad to lose the useful metal nozzle on the end of our water hose, but I guess sacrifices need to be made. Far be it from anything on the boat to function successfully without some kind of jury-rig. Nappy had loaned us a plastic 55-gallon fuel drum to collect the stuff in, so I had to hold the giant (and heavy) drum at a slant to collect the spouting, murky diesel that erupted from the bowels of our tank.

It was not an easy job. As might be expected, we got fuel all over the cockpit and each other. I’m not sure who had the worse of it--Karl, turning the handle, or me, wrestling the drum sideways. Eventually, the angle became too acute for the fuel to spew successfully into the drum, so we sacrificed our one good bucket to the maw of the diesel and began to fill that up. It was only then that we began to realize just how much gunk was in the tank. Diesel, for those of you who didn’t know, is exactly the same stuff as kerosene. They dye kerosene pink so they’ll know if truckers are filling up with it and thus avoiding highway tax. So our tank was full of this murky pink liquid, and as we churned it up and pulled more out of the bottom of the tank, its color became duskier and darker. We were using a West Marine filter, which allegedly filtered out water and everything else, but as we gazed into the filtered bucket, we realized not much of the stuff was coming out. The color was still dark, and there were black floaties all over the place. And the filter was getting clogged.

We triple-filtered every bit of that fuel we could suck out, but I’m still not sure we got it all out. If we hadn’t been intending to leave the boat for a little while, we would have pulled out the tank and pressure-washed it over at Frenchie’s, what it really needs. As is, we hope we can pressure-wash it when we get back from the States. All the little growths can have their party now, because we’re going to slaughter them wholesale upon our return. I just hope we cleaned it enough to get us from here to French Wells, eight miles.

The day ended with a pleasant dusk swim to cleanse ourselves of our coating of diesel. Getting gallons of fossil fuels funneled into your pores isn’t bad for you or anything, is it?

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