July 7 – Oppressive Heat

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Since the part for our outboard would not be arriving until later on Thursday afternoon, we spent our time in the marina working on jobs that are better done with access to shore resources. The first thing I wanted to do was completely clean out the bilge. While our engine was leaking, I kept oil absorbent pads under the engine to soak up the oil, and in the bilge to catch anything that might get into the bilge. In spite of this, we still go some oil in our bilge water, which then got pumped over the side, resulting in the black stripe on the side of the boat. I had to clean and replace the pads frequently. While the engine was being worked on, I had to keep pads under it to catch oil that might escape when parts were removed. Once again, it would’ve been nice to clean the bilge and put in fresh pads while the boat was in the yard, but we needed to get underway as soon as possible if we ever hoped to escape land, so that work got put off. One necessity of cleaning up oil absorbent pads is to have a proper place to dispose of the oily waste. Current environmental rules say that you can’t dispose of used oil just anywhere. Brunswick Landing has an oily waste disposal site, so it’s a good place for me to clean the bilge. I started as early in the morning as I could, because it’s hot, dirty work. We pulled out all the old pads, swabbed out the bilge, and put in clean new pads. When we were finished, I went to turn the bilge pumps back on… and the level one pump came on but didn’t pump and wouldn’t shut off. The level one bilge pump is the one that works most often and removes water that gets in the bilge from anything other than a major hull breach. For instance, our shower drains into the bilge, then the gray water gets pumped over the side. We have a much larger bilge pump that comes on if we get a leak greater than 500 gallons per hour. The long and short of it is, we need a new bilge pump. I checked with the local West Marine, and they didn’t have one in stock, but could have one for me by tomorrow morning. Fine. We’ll stay another day in the marina, and fix the bilge pump on Friday. Our other major task was to wash down our dodger and bimini — the canvas that covers our cockpit — and polish the clear plastic windows in the dodger. We’ve had the canvas for just over six months, and it is to be cleaned about twice a year to keep down salt deposits and extend the life of the UV protection. Likewise, the clear plastic is to be cleaned and polished regularly to keep it from getting cloudy and brittle. This task requires lots of fresh water to rinse and clean the canvas and strataglass (clear plastic), so it’s good to be hooked up to the fresh water supply at the marina dock.

We completed both our tasks by about 1400, then got cleaned up and caught a ride to the other marina in town where my part was being delivered (and where I first thought we might be stopping), and to the grocery store. It had been hot all day, but we were working in a lot of water during the worst of it, so we were cooled off a bit. Then we went to the air conditioned grocery store. By the time we got back to the boat, there was no way we could get around the fact that it was over 96 degrees F in the salon. Not only that, but there was not a breath of a breeze. It was torture for Suzy to pan fry our fish for dinner. Everything else we ate was prepared and served cold — well, not cold, but at least ambient temperature. As I write this tonight, it is just after 2300 and the temperature in the salon is still 89 degrees F. The water temperature under our boat is also 89 degrees F. The water in the marina and in the East River is like glass. There is not the slightest hint of a breeze. With no wind, the mosquitoes descend on you at dusk without mercy. We are closed up in the boat waiting for them to go to bed. Hopefully we will be able to get to some area soon with at least lower water temperatures. Cooler water would help keep the boat cooler. Right now, everything is around 90 degrees F. Our wine. Our fresh water. The floors. The walls. I think the low temperature tonight is supposed to be around 80 degrees F, and tomorrow promises to be another scorcher.

Be thankful for your air conditioning.