Rough time on the boat over the past weekend. Very high winds and lots of rain. The towpath is awash, a lake even, and things were flying off other boats from the wind kept crashing into my boat. Plastic things thankfully, but noisy when hitting steel. The boat rocked all night long…..from the wind for those who have minds that go elsewhere.
I like water. Even drinking it. Not everyone does. I know a lot of people who fear being near water and especially on it. Aquaphobia is the extreme case, but many people become somewhat apprehensive when on the edge of a river, lake or ocean. Most of us get seasick if we are on the open water for any length of time. I once took the ferry from Algeciras, Spain to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta then on to Morocco. I was fine until just over half way then began feeling a bit queasy. But I held on until driving off the ferry.
The only time I was very seasick was when I was 5 years old. We left England for Canada on the SS Scythia, its final voyage. That was in 1955. I still remember how rotten I felt. Be that as it may, my love for the water never wavered, even when I nearly drowned in Musselman’s Lake, Ontario when I was 8 years old. I remember being very calm as I floated on my back, watching the reeds and curious fish float by….until my mum ripped me out of the water to save me. That was far more traumatic, though I am very grateful.
Once-upon-a-time (ought to have started the Blog this way), I was a preacher. I ended up giving up God for Lent. My bad some might say. Hasn’t hurt me at all. But while I was still a preacher, a friend of mine signed me up for a session with her psychic/medium. Now, if you know anything about Christians, you know their Bible says they must never go near these devilish people. I was at a point in my life when everything was open to question and up for grabs. The lady psychic knew nothing about me but told me I needed to be near water. Best advice I’ve ever had.
So, here I am, 64 years later, not only near the water but on it. Surrounded by it. And it falls on me too….or at least on the roof of the boat, another calming occasion. But the enemy of any boater is water. It’s fine outside the boat, but when it comes in, water becomes unwanted. Things start to go wrong as the boat ages. Constant diligence is needed. A friend’s boat had a hole caused by rust eating through the pipe that fills his water tank. When he went to fill his tank recently, the water overflowed into his bilge hold and began sinking his boat. We have 150 gallons of water in our tank. That’s a lot of water in the bilge if our tank springs a leak. I check the bilge every day.
You have to make sure every few years that the bottom of your boat has been ‘blacked’ (bitumen or epoxy resin) so the hull won’t rust and create holes. Other people have been in locks and forgotten to open the ground paddles before the gate paddles to let water into the lock and water has poured over their bow and into the boat. That’s a fun clean-up let me tell you. And, no, I haven’t done that yet. The good news is the canals are usually only 3 to 5 feet deep, so there’s no sinking of Titanic proportions. Just messy ones. And water in the engine room is verboten. Have to check it every day. Must keep it dry.
Our water pump broke the other day. No water came in. We have an expert in the marina who took care of things. It just meant we had no water for a few days. Water in the boat is OK as long as it stays in the pipes and comes out of the taps and the shower head and flushes the toilet. The water in the boat that bothers my best friend the most is condensation. She is on a 24 hour vigilant campaign to rid the boat of moisture on the walls and windows. No moss or mould shall grow in this boat while she is on guard. We are covered.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote a very long poem a long time ago, ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. One of the lines is, ‘Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink.’ The saying is very true on the canals of Britain. Love being on the cut all you like but, never let any of it in your mouth. I don’t plan on falling in, but if I do, I’ll keep my mouth firmly shut. I doubt I’d see anything if I went under. It certainly would not be a peaceful experience. I’m just happy at this stage of my life to be surrounded by water, everywhere I look.