Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Excuse me, I can't talk right now, I'm killing seaweed...

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my freshwater tank was growing seaweed. Some of you have pointed out that it was, in fact, algae. I would like to point out that it is now past tense seaweed. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I extinctified the seaweed. I killed it so dead I had to make up a new word to celebrate. Extinctified. It has a nice ring to it.

Let's back up. Dad and I made a date several weeks ago for a Saturday, all-day work-on-the-boat blowout.

My mission? To kill (I hadn't yet invented the word 'extinctify') the seaweed in the water tank and figure out why the water pressure wasn't working.

Dad's mission? To get rid of more crap on the boat and install the stove-microwave cabinet he built (post to come) and install a light switch.

Degunking the water tank turned out to be such a job that all dad got to do was install the cabinet (which I actually did) and to put a shelf up. Then he had to help me degunk.

He helped by taking pictures. And by helping me fill and empty the water tank and unclog the filter.

First, I liberally slopped bleach into my water tank and gushed it around with a cup. Then I reached in with the longest, thickest gloves I could find in Wal Mart (they were pink and some of the proceeds from the sale went to breast cancer awareness) and a scrub brush and set to work on the walls. There was black slime coating the walls in addition to frond-like seaweed floating peacefully in the water.

Then I turned the water pressure on at the switch. I heard the motor going and turned the handle on the sink -- nothing. Hm, I says to dad. Why ain't the water pressure a-pressurin'?

Turn it off, says he, and let's have a look-see at the plumbin'.

OK, so we're not that Southern. We're from Baltimore. But I thought it would jazz up the bleaching experience for you, right? No? Moving on...

There turned out to be a line headed from the tank toward the motor (of course), but we couldn't see the entry. So we bailed out about 15 gallons of water with a plastic cup.

I look troubled, don't I?

After that, we discovered the line was clear so far as we could see. My father, brilliant plumber that he is, figured there should be a filter before the pump's motor to keep gunk out of the motor. And we found it. I didn't get a picture, but it's a small clear yellow square. We had to unscrew four bolts, find the four tiny rusty nuts and clear the black gunk from the filter and put the thing back together.

Not wanting to clean the filter twice (it took the two of us probably 45 minutes to take it apart, clean it and put it back together -- it's in a very awkward spot) I set to cleaning the tank anew, using a cup to clear all the water and a sponge and many buckets of water to take out all the seaweed. Every once in a while I'd lay my head flat next to the opening and peer this way and that looking for more gunk with a flashlight. When I was satisfied the gunk was gone, I used a little more bleach. Then I pulled in the big guns.

I found this stuff in West Marine when we stopped to pick up screws. At that point, I was willing to try anything.

Not to sound like a commercial, and no, they didn't send me anything, but this Thetford cleaning duo is AMAZING. Buy some. Your water tank will love you for it.

I emptied 10 ounces of the blue stuff into the tank and filled it with water. Alarming amounts of suds started to form. I only panicked a little, I'm proud to say. After I filled the tank to 40-gallon capacity, I turned on the water pressure switch and said a little prayer.

Water came gushing out of the sink! It also came gushing out of the head sink -- the one we didn't think worked! (This praying stuff must have something to it.)

Look, water! I know this picture it bad, but I had wet hands and probably shouldn't have been touching my camera at all, but such was my thrill that I couldn't stop myself.

I had to push aside my thrill through because this project was barely begun. Once the tank was empty, we filled it again and emptied it with the sink and galley foot pump. Then we had to fill and use some of the clear stuff and empty again. Then we could fill it up a final time and add a little freshener. My father is skeptical of the freshener (of which I added two ounces) but I think it does make tank water taste better.

So there. Why don't you take out the trash, Dad? Isn't that what daddies are for?

To which he says, "Not so many pictures of Daddy on your blog. You're liable to scare people." Aww, he's just being coy.

To this I say, you can call me Allie The Seaweed Extinctifier. Today victory tastes like sweet, fresh water.


  1. How interesting to read of a life I know nothing about! Sounds like you have an amazing Dad! You're a lucky woman!

  2. I feel exactly the same way about your blog sometimes. I've read it for months, so it's super exciting to get a Mrs. Darling comment. I found you when I was looking for new canning recipes, and I've been hooked ever since.

    Oh, and Dad will be pleased he didn't scare you. ;)

    Thanks for visiting!

  3. I had no idea all the work that is involved in living on boat. I cannot believe my little niece is so handy!

    We are very proud of you and I enjoy seeing your Dad in the pictures too!

    Aunt Mee-Moo