Thursday, January 16, 2014

Green boat

There's a pretty notable movement to have a green boat these days. Solar powered, wind powered, electric...but I would like to take the meaning of green boat in another completely different direction.

My daughter recently read an article about how NASA was using plants to detox the space station from chemicals and mold. Number one on the list was English Ivy. While shopping for something totally unrelated a few days later I happened on a reduced rack of small 4" potted plants and picked one up as an experiment. I was skeptical, I admit, as a boat is so full of mold potential even if there aren't any leaks, just due to the amount of condensation present. I was also concerned about the wide temperature swing in the boat, but the tag on the plant assured me that it could withstand a 40° to 95° range. On our home lake that would encompass about 2 months of the year, but we were preparing to leave to go cruising and were determined to stay well within that range.

I put it in a nice spot on a medium light shelf above my closet next to a port, and went home for the weekend. When we came back the following weekend the plant was nearly dead. I wasn't surprised, but disappointed. When we went back to the city at the end of the weekend I forgot to take the plant home with me and on returning the next weekend expected to find it completely dead. To my surprise, there were several small, new green leaves on one of its stalks. The only thing I can attribute it to is that there was so much mold in the boat that it shocked and took a bit of time to adjust. Whatever the reason, the plant is doing well and adds an element of color to the interior of the boat that does wonders for it. It was a very well spent $1.74.

By the way, when my daughter came to visit she promptly named the plant Starbuck after the chief mate in Moby Dick, but I'm thinking these days his namesake is more likely the Starbuck of Battlestar Gallactica fame since he's endured some real trials and yet continues to survive with a bit of feistiness. He's become a qualified crew member aboard Kintala. So the next time you're near  a clearance rack of 4" potted plants, see if one doesn't call out and tell you he wants to go cruising.

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