It never occurred to me that one day I would be drinking bilge water. The bilge on a boat is the lowest point and is where all the water, dirt, grease, grime, bugs, and flesh eating bacteria accumulates.
Our catamaran has two bilges, one in the starboard (right) pontoon and one in the port pontoon. The other day I cleaned them both. I had them both nice and dry because we intend to store canned goods down there.
I popped open a floor hatch yesterday to have a look at something down in the bilge and to my surprise and dismay, it was full of water.
A boat taking on water is a big problem so I had to know, was this fresh water or sea water? Both problems are high on the sphincter pucker scale but one means you’re sinking and the other means you are losing water from your fresh water drinking tank.
So there I was, kneeling on the floor staring down into the dark bilge and all of this water. Which is it, sea water or fresh water?
I had a temporary flashback to when I worked in a lab with all of those beautiful pieces of equipment that could have told me the answer but as I snapped back to reality, I realized that the only way to know was to taste it.
I really didn’t want to taste this water. The bayou we are floating on is routinely closed to swimming because of bacterial content.
I took a big scoop of water with my hand and had a nice big sip. Definitely fresh water. After a whole bunch of spitting and teeth brushing I tracked down the leak to a faulty water pump.
I emptied and dried the bilge again and told my bilge story to a friend. He mocking said, “Why didn’t you just use your volt meter and do a continuity test?”
Yep, that would have been better.