Milk in the bilges

It’s always best to start your day with a problem! This morning’s was milk in the bilges. Let me explain. The bilges are the spaces under the floorboards and they get wet: either by water draining into them from the deck after it’s rained or by water getting in when you’re sailing and tilted over. It’s not good to leave the bilges wet because (a) it starts to pong and (b) if the bilges get full (of water) there’s nowhere for the next installment (of water) to go. Checking the bilges is a necessary chore. When Dave checked them this morning, they appeared to be full of milk!

Explain that, Sherlock!
Now any liquid spillage always look worse than it is and I suspect that it was actually a small amount of milk, mixed with a larger amount of water, already in the bilges. But that doesn’t explain where the milk came from. Our ‘fridge’ is actually a space below the floor,

where it’s cool enough to keep food safe for a day or two. There were cartons of milk in there. So probably, one of them leaked – hence milk in the bilges. But we hadn’t noticed any of the milk cartons being emptier than it should be and also there was no trace of milk spillage in the bilge compartment closest to the ‘fridge’. Mysterious.

On Sunday morning, we were rudely awakened by a loud, siren-type noise. It was the gas alarm. Now gas escapes on a boat are a serious business – hence the gas alarm. The only source of gas is a Camping-Gaz cylinder, in a proper gas locker, outside the cabin. We did all the checks and didn’t find any evidence of gas leaks and the gas alarm didn’t go off again. There was a pipe which was a bit worn, so we’ve replaced that, thoroughly checked everywhere and the only explanation might be that we had a gas canister for refilling the cooker lighter, bought last year and stored in the gas locker and it was full and now it’s empty. Presumably, the metal got a bit corroded and it discharged its contents in one go and activated the alarm. Sounds likely. Anyway, there is now no stray gas on board – we’ve checked everything, the alarm is still switched on and we also opened the hatches, took up the floorboards and gave the whole boat a good airing.

Fortunately, most of our time on the boat is as relaxing as everyone hopes it is. We sailed around the meres in Grou this afternoon and refused to take the sails down while we travelled along narrow channels to our destination.

Not caring that we were going  at between 0.5 knots and 1 knot. Overtaken by coots and water weed.

But it was a beautiful, sunny day and we’re now moored as evening draws in, being overflown by huge flocks of geese. And the air is full of neither gas not milk, but that lovely sea-sidey smell of water and sand. Worth sticking around to see what tomorrow’s ‘mystery’ will be.

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