By Mark Kappeler – Cambridge, MA
While walking down the marina dock to my boat, I met a guy who said to me, “Isn’t living on a boat fun!” It is a Sunday and I decide it is time to clean. I do three loads of laundry, vacuum, clean the deck, drain and put away the water hose, etc., and decide to take a peek into the bilge. I see that it is bone dry, so I use my household vacuum cleaner to suck up all the little bits of debris that have accumulated down there for the last 26 years. I am sucking up nuts, bolts, bits of rust and glass, all sorts of things, AND a few drips of really nasty bilge water that I didn’t see.
When I finish, I carry the vacuum out onto the dock to change the bag and lo and behold, the bag is soaked and all those bits of metal and debris tore the hell out of the bag and left the inside of the vacuum filled with unidentifiable gross stuff. Yuck! Then I see the trail of bilge water that had leaked out of the vacuum on the dock, up the stairs and all over the freshly washed deck. So, I wash the deck again, clean out the vacuum, drain and put away the water hose, then go back into the cabin.
As it turns out, the rug is soaked with bilge water as well. As I had been vacuuming, it was spitting water out the back all over the rug. I guess that deep dark bilge hadn’t been so bone dry after all! So, I take out the rug and hose that down and put it in the sun to dry, then drain and put away the water hose for the third time.
Finally everything is clean and put away and the last thing I can think to do is run the vacuum for a while to make sure there isn’t any more salt water sitting in it. So, I strip off the attachments, leaving just the canister sitting on the wooden dock on its little plastic wheels, and thinking I might do something smart for once, I switch it on at the circuit breaker on the dock so I don’t get zapped. Let me tell you, without the hose on it and the thing sucking at one end and blowing out the other, it acted just like a jet aircraft taking off on a runway as it went hurtling down the dock. I still can’t understand why it didn’t go into the water (which would have defeated the purpose of trying to dry it out anyway).
Yea, living on a boat is fun all right.