There is no question about it. Diesel is one of the worst substances known to man. I would rather clean a public toilet without gloves on than repeat today. Yuk.
The jet washing went ok. But it was rather like trying to remove thick grease with water. Well, it was exactly like trying to remove grease with cold water. But it did shift a lot of sludge off the hull and I was able to suck it all up with the Big Brute. I manage to get the bottom of the bilge near as damn it dry. But the parts under the engines are just not accessible so no doubt there is going to be some left down there but not a lot.
The morning was spent getting the remained of the gunk out of the engine room. The afternoon was dedicated to trying to clean everything without a single drop going over the side of the boat. No mean feat I can tell you. The main issue was that the half barrels two of them in the boat that were full of thick sludge would not pump. It had reached a consistency of thick choc milkshake. Real thick. Bugger. Too much in the barrels to move them. The next trick was to empty half a load of washing up liquid in and some degreaser and then fill the barrel with water (the other half at any rate). I had 4 barrels outside to fill up and after that I was in trouble.
I started the pump and hey presto after a about 30 seconds of thinking it started to pump out. For a while. Then science took over. For what was in the bottom of the barrel was easy to pump water. The other half, you guessed it, now floating on the water, was the sludge. And the pumped stopped and all I had done was half filled an outside barrel with water.
Anyway, cutting a long story short, I got the sludge out in the end. I also managed to spend 3 hours cleaning the hoses into the barrels and then clean the 2 big brute barrels using tissues and cleaner. It all worked ok in the end and I still had one empty barrel to spare.
Only one incident which resulted in no major spillage. To clean the last in-boat barrels I filled them with water and washing up liquid. In goes the pump. Now the outside barrels were cunningly placed on the starboard side which is the opposite side to the way the boat leans. I figured that it might help the lean if I had the 2 tons of liquid on deck on that side. It did help. The downside was the only way to get the pump hose to the barrels was through the battery room portholes. This had worked for 6 of the barrels fine. However, on this occasion, as the pump filled the pipe I could hear splash splash splash. Rather louder than normal. Even for an empty barrel. I rushed to the battery room to see the hose had come back in through the porthole and was merrily pumping the water and brown sludge residue everywhere in the battery room.
So I finished the pumping. Closed the door and will tackle that mess tomorrow.
I am very pleased though. I am not a big environmentalist but I took great lengths to prevent a drop of that crap going into the river. And I succeeded. I think if more than one drinking cup of liquid went in then I would be surprised. If I had ever switched on the bilge pumps the devastation to the surrounding wildlife and the river would have been terrible. What was in the bilge was the devils on engine sump.
Tomorrows job will be easier. I have to dig up the kitchen concrete floor. That's bound to hurt and deafen but at least I wont have to swim in diesel. Small mercies I am sure.