Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Bilge Detector

Back  in Kemah we had gone out to run some errands and upon arriving back at the boat I unlocked our hatch, pushed it back, stuck my head down and breathed in deeply.

My hubby raised and eyebrow and asked me "Sweetie, what are you doing."
To which I promptly replied, "It's my Bilge Detector Technique."
Hubby - "Your what?"
Me - "My Bilge Detector Technique."
Hubby - blank stare....the one that borderlines on thinking that I've finally crossed the crazy line
Me - "When we're on the boat we get used to the smell.  So every couple of days I like to be gone from the boat a couple of hours.  Then when we get back and my nose is sensitive to bilge smell again, I get the biggest whiff of it I can to determine if I need to do some bilge cleaning."
Hubby - "Hmm Sweetie, that's pretty smart.  You should write a blog about it."

Everyone has probably noticed that they may smell something very strongly for a time, but then they get to where they barely smell it at all.  The reason is that your nose is full of phasic receptors.  Now phasic receptors respond to stimuli with a large burst of activity, but then quickly diminishes with constant stimulus.  So there's my small science lesson of the day.

What I have noticed, and am extremely grateful for, is that the dreaded bilge smell seems to be the worst when you're at a marina.  At marinas our boats are closed up and still, two things they don't really like to be.  (I personally think it's their little way at getting back at us.)  But at anchorage, where our boats are opened up and getting to travel from place to place the bilge smell is pretty non-existent.  

Another one in the "Pros" column for cruising!  


  1. So what happens when your phasic receptors are set on stun????